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Is an ABM Strategy Right for Your B2B Manufacturing Company?

By Eric Dudley

As a digital marketer, you probably heard the term Account Based Marketing (ABM) at least once a week in 2017. The marketing approach started trending then and for good reason.

According to ITSMA, almost 85% of marketers who measure ROI describe account-based marketing as delivering higher returns than any other marketing approach.

As you’re gearing up for next year's planning and finalizing your marketing strategy, chances are you’ve had conversations about adding an ABM strategy to your organization’s current approach. But, with all the hype surrounding ABM strategy, how do you know if it’s actually a fit for your organization? Answer the four questions below to find out:

1) Do You Have a Predetermined List of Target Accounts & Prospects?

Identifying the best-fit accounts with the biggest revenue potential is the first step to building an ABM strategy for your B2B organization. Why? Because in an account-based marketing approach, your sales and marketing teams will be focusing on targeting highly specific accounts, with highly personalized interactions.

Through these personalized, one-to-one interactions, you ensure that your organization’s resources are allocated to the best possible prospects.

Maybe your organization has a list of dead opportunities you have been wanting to revive and nurture, or perhaps you have an idea of 30 companies in your region that are an ideal fit for your industry focus. Knowing the companies that you want to target who are a good fit for your business model is a crucial component to building a successful ABM strategy.

2) Is Your Data Accurate & Clean?

What does data have to do with a successful ABM strategy? In short: everything.

Most organizations have many different technology systems and departments that house their customer and prospect data. In order for your ABM strategy to be successful, that data needs to be accurate and up-to-date before you launch your first ABM campaign.

With the one-to-one effort your marketing and sales teams will be investing into your ABM program, you want to ensure that their time is spent nurturing the best contacts, not calling on bad leads. Your ABM strategy may include various forms of touchpoints such as whitepapers, eBooks, or paid media, but they all should feel personalized to the targeted individual and account. To practice this highly targeted and personalized marketing strategy, your data must be clean.

Data-driven ABM strategy ensures that your team has a 360-degree visibility of your target prospects and accounts to deliver the right messages, to the right targets, at the right time.

And with the right data upkeep, you can even monitor your target prospect’s activity from their first point of engagement until they sign on the dotted line.

3) Are Your Sales & Marketing Teams Aligned?

Without sales & marketing alignment, ABM success is unlikely. Your sales and marketing teams must work closely together to ensure they have the same view of the customer and are ultimately nurturing the same version of a prospect. With a coordinated sales and marketing department, the relationships you form with your top-tier prospects will be deeper, and the customer can receive relevant and right information about your organization throughout their buyer journey.

When you look at a ‘one-to-many’ marketing campaign, your sales team spends a bulk of their time qualifying every lead that comes through the pipeline. One of the benefits of implementing an ABM strategy, is that your leads are qualified at the beginning before they are even passed on to sales.

When an ABM program is done right, there is almost no chance that sales will touch an unqualified lead, because sales and marketing have been aligned from the get go, selecting target accounts together.

4) Does Your Technology Stack Support an ABM Strategy?

Having the right technology in place is not essential to launching an ABM strategy, but it can help ensure you’re set up for success.

With the level of involvement that goes into an ABM program, you can expect your sales and marketing teams to leverage and interact on multiple channels. CRM, marketing automation and account-based marketing software platforms can help keep your information organized and prevent data from being organized in silos, so your target prospects and accounts aren’t receiving duplicated touchpoints or content.

With your ABM campaign being your first chance to deliver your target accounts an exceptional customer experience, you’ll want every message, piece of content, workflow, and sequence to be mapped out and aligned with your sales and marketing team.

While sales may not be directly working in your marketing automation or account-based marketing platform, they should be trained on how to personalize messages and email communications that align with marketing’s content. They need to know how to push feedback, track metrics and successes, and record their progress in a way that gives insight into how the ABM program is performing. Without proper training on your CRM or ABM software tools, your setting your sales team up for failure.

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