Account-based marketing is becoming a growing practice in B2B firms and can be defined as the alignment of resources with the objective to target specific accounts

David Kirk, SVP at Passle, provides a prelude to ABM here - with a focus on influencing target accounts - highlighting that as a B2B business, it is probable there's a finite group of companies (likely to be in the 10's) that you actually want to communicate with. 

When it comes to adopting an account-centric marketing approach however, knowing where to start can be an overwhelming prospect. The idea of ripping apart the traditional marketing funnels and starting from scratch can be daunting to say the least. 

The following six steps outlines a framework that can be introduced and gradually scaled within a business.

  1. Select accounts - align marketing and fee-earning units to decide on specific accounts - look at your ideal customer profile, utilise closed/won and closed/loss analyses, determine where you can be most effectively allocating resource to win more business.
  2. Discover contacts and map to your accounts - identify the decision-makers and map the buyer personas, i.e. for a TMT legal practice likely be a GC; cyber-security software providers could look to CIO, CTO, CSO; will depend on the nature of your services.
  3. Develop account insights - where can you get in front of your target?  Have you considered digital channels, events they are attending, a referral into the business?  Where you can make your approach tailored and personalised you will achieve much higher success - tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator can make it much easier to gather such insight.
  4. Generate account-relevant messages and content - time to show you've done your homework - the following post showcases how you can utilise account insights to brilliant effect in a cold outreach: Want 50% Responses on Cold Emails? Try Basho but add Authenticity 
  5. Deliver account-specific interactions - a lot of preparation has gone into prospecting at this stage, now it's time to accrue the dividends - it is important to note that AMB is not tied to any one channel, the key is to know where your prospects are and be there whether physically/digitally.
  6. Orchestrate account-focused plays - this is where tacticians in sport earn their money and is the same for influencing your targets.  Based on the information you have collected, it is simply a case of planning and executing.  A structured plan is especially important when you have multiple people working on the same account as will align endeavours.

If you want to determine the ROI of adopting an account-based marketing approach, it is important to measure results.  I would look to three key areas once you have completed step 1: 

1. Activity - what specific activities are being undertaken?   Meetings, emails, conversations.

2. Engagement - what is the reception of your interactions?  This is where you can monitor and alter your approach to maximise effectiveness.  Marketing automation tools can be particularly helpful here.

3. Revenue - the most obvious, but important to map where you are winning (and why) in order to demonstrate how it compares to other marketing activity and justify the cost.