You may have heard of account based marketing but not fully understand what it entails. So, let’s start with the basics.
What is account based marketing?
Account based marketing differs from traditional marketing in a number of ways. Instead of placing the focus on creating a high-volume stream of leads through lead generation, you focus on generating the right leads and reaching out to them in a deeper, more engaging way.
You look for those that are the best fit for your business rather than casting a super wide net and hoping to convert a smaller number of them. You study your buyer personas and identify leads that are an ideal fit for your product or service.
Once identified, you learn as much about those leads as you can. You focus on addressing their pain points and pushing out content and other outreach that speaks directly to solving for those unique pain points.
But how do you excel at it? Here are 10 account based marketing best practices to grow your business.
1. Develop buyer personas
Buyer personas form a central and critical part of effective account based marketing. Buyer personas are mocked-up profiles of those that make the decision whether or not to buy your product.
To create buyer personas, you develop a fake profile for each type of buyer who participates in the buying decision. They could be directors, managers, or anyone else involved in the decision-making process.
You map out variables like their pain points, challenges, goals, personality types, position in the company hierarchy, and the strongest selling points your product provides to solve for their pain points and help them achieve their goals.
Developing buyer personas helps you zero in on those that are most likely to buy your product, so you can go after them. You do this rather than blindly cold-calling any old lead that has a name and email address in your customer relationship management (CRM) database.
2. Create ideal customer profiles
Ideal customer profiles are much like buyer personas but with one primary difference. While buyer personas focus on individual people who make buying decisions, ideal customer profiles encompass the entire organization you’re selling to.
It’s common in B2B account based marketing that multiple people are involved in the decision-making process. Creating ideal customer profiles takes them all into account and results in a profile of the company itself.
Often, two or more people in the same organization have competing objectives and goals, and your job is to create a pitch that satisfies them all. That’s why ideal customer profiles consider every variable that could derail deals so that you can please everyone and make the sale.
3. Gather the data to create buyer personas and ideal customer profiles
How do you gather the data to create these tools? You can’t just assume you know who your prospects are without doing any research. You need to conduct market research and customer surveys to accurately identify who they are and what makes them tick.
Send surveys, compile the data, and look for commonalities across your entire customer base. Then and only then can you gain the insight to create buyer personas and ideal customer profiles to a high degree of accuracy.
4. Develop audience-specific messaging
Power users need to hear about the features and benefits that will allow them to work smarter and more effectively. And top-level decision-makers want to hear about how their company can grow by using your product or service.
Rather than taking the traditional approach and developing product messaging that is applied across the board to every lead, develop messaging that speaks directly to each buyer persona and each ideal customer profile. In this way, you can ensure that you’re always touching on the right points when speaking with a particular prospect account and its employees.
5. Segment the decision makers at each prospect account
Because there are so many people involved in the decision-making process, you must communicate with them in different ways. What resonates with C-level decision makers won’t resonate with lower level employees who still have a say in the decision to purchase.
You can easily segment the contacts at each prospect account using a powerful marketing automation software. Then, you can interact with each of them in a way that speaks to their unique challenges within the organization.
Segmentation and personalization in marketing are key these days, and account based marketing is where those tactics will come most in handy.
6. Align your content with your audience
Each person at the prospect organization has different needs, and you need to deliver content to each of them that speaks to their individual pain points.
Executives want to know how your product will help their company as a whole, while power users need to know how it will help them in their daily jobs.
Instead of sending blanket emails with the same content to everyone, account based marketing calls for segmentation to deliver the most relevant message to each person in each prospect account. It’s one of many key account based marketing tactics you should be using.
7. Use the right technology
To excel at account based marketing, it’s important to use the right account based marketing software. As mentioned above, using CRM and marketing automation allows you to segment and personalize, which makes account based marketing much easier.
These days, more companies are opting for an all-in-one CRM because they include CRM, marketing automation, sales automation, and customer support functionality on the same platform. This type of technology provides maximum insight into who each individual contact is, as well as insight into who the company is as a whole.
8. Align sales and marketing
Effective account based marketing is only possible if sales and marketing are closely aligned. Marketing needs to be able to use the data stored in your CRM to know which content to push to whom and when.
Sales needs to help inform marketing when that approach needs tweaking and when it’s working. Also, with the help of automation, marketing can automatically push notifications to sales when someone becomes marketing qualified. This is made easy by using lead scoring, which we’ll cover next.
9. Score leads
As leads take actions such as viewing content, visiting high profile web pages, etc. marketing can score them based on those actions. This helps sales and marketing both maintain insight into who is sales-ready and who still needs more nurturing.
Without lead scoring best practices, sales reps would be shooting in the dark as they reach out to prospect accounts. Lead scoring helps both teams maintain insight into where each lead and the account as a whole is in the sales pipeline.
10. Measure your results and refine your approach
No good marketer or salesperson moves forward without measuring the results of their work. With the use of advanced campaign analytics and CRM reporting, you can easily see which tactics are working for your account based marketing efforts.
If you are seeing that specific tactics and content isn’t resonating with your prospect accounts as you expected, you can course correct. But that’s only possible with metrics that provide constant insight. So be sure always to measure if you want to continually improve and grow your business.
The point here is clear. Account based marketing depends highly on knowing who each contact and account is, in and out.
Score leads, and create personas and profiles that tell you exactly who you’re marketing and selling to, and what they need to hear for you to convince them to buy.
Follow the tips above, measure your results, change up your approach as you go, and you’ll be sure to excel at account based marketing and grow your business like a pro.