What is ABM?

ABM, or Account Based Marketing, is a strategic approach to marketing and sales, working in combination to identify and target your most important customers – new and existing.

“The spray and pray” traditional approach to marketing relies on your message hitting the spot with one or few contacts. In contrast, ABM begins by identifying a targeted and defined audience, helping you to “fish with spears” right from the start.

Where does a CRM system come into it?

A fully-featured CRM system takes a lot of the heavy lifting that comes with ABM off of your shoulders.

Where to start?

Get your data in order

If you don’t currently manage your data in a single location, such as a CRM system, then getting your data in order before you start with ABM is a must. It could be very embarrassing and unprofessional if you don’t have the correct information and a single version of the truth that the whole business uses.

Set clear objectives and measures

Before you start with ABM, you need to outline your key objectives. This will help you define the most targeted approach; whether it’s retaining your existing client base or growing the revenue for a specific industry. Ultimately, the objectives for your ABM program are key and should be simple. Set KPI’s to measure your objectives so that you can measure your success!

Next, define the ABM strategy you will use:

CRM – the secret weapon for ABM

Once all of your data is in good order and your objectives and measures have been agreed it’s time to get to work. And with a CRM system in place, working through the ABM lifecycle is a cinch.

The 6 stages of the ABM Lifecycle

1. Identify accounts

With a CRM solution, all of your data is collated in a single location, and most CRM solutions will offer the ability to segment and categorise your data. A good CRM solution will also include a lead management module, enabling you to capture prospects at an early and unqualified stage. Your CRM solution should enable you to capture all your relationships, whether they are leads, prospects, customers or suppliers. As a result, it becomes seamless to manage your sales and marketing efforts. When all of the data is in a single location, it can be filtered or segmented to capture the contacts you want to target for communications.

2. Profile accounts

You may have selected your target accounts, but do you have the correct contacts, or should you be targeting other contacts? This phase is all about research and expanding what you think you know. 

Whether you carry out fresh research, or use your experience of relatable customer pain points, research is key. Review your customer or prospect to understand their email tracking history, their sales history, product interest and their engagement with your previous campaigns. This should all be available through your CRM solution. The Account Management or Business Relationship managers in your business, or anyone who works with customers directly, will be able to assist with this. Your CRM system can then be used to provide invaluable data as to the key contacts at your organisations, record details as to persona’s, and manage social connections to engage with the right contacts. In addition, your CRM solution should also offer the ability to configure the contact fields you need to capture data that’s important for you.

Social engagement

Social engagement can help you truly understand the organisation in question to strengthen your message and tailor it depending on the ABM strategy you have defined. For example, one to one or one to many will determine how far you need to delve into expanding what you need to know. It can become very resource intensive and unnecessary for a one to many approach to be used when you have more than 10 accounts involved. Instead, a one to one strategy for a targeted strategic prospect may be more worthwhile in terms of time spent.

Next, think about how you can solve the issues which you discuss and provide insights into how your product or service has helped others. This can be achieved by referring to your organisation’s ethics and brand to keep your message clear and understood. The sales team should be able to help with identifying the key criteria here to assist with building your messages.

3. Create content

For the creative element, bring your sales, account managers and marketing teams together to define the key messages for your strategy and objective. Your messaging headlines will form the basis of your campaign or campaigns to your targeted audience.

Support engagement

Don’t just stop with your campaign and hope to reap rewards. Instead, build in a strategy which resonates your key messages in a number of forms, such as: social media, blog posts, whitepapers, webinars, and tailored email signatures that are in line with your key message. Social engagement tools can also help at this stage to help you connect with target contacts or share related content.

An integrated email marketing tool can really accelerate your ABM journey, enabling you to quickly align your sales effort in the right direction to respond with engaged contacts. 

4. Launch campaign

Any communications that include both sales and marketing alignment will have been completed prior to this point, and once the campaign is launched the hard work to follow through and keep engagement really starts. Tools such as web tracking and social touch point scoring via social listening should be easily integrated with your CRM and can really help to identify engagement at this stage. An integrated email marketing tool and marketing automation are also key features to help scale your ABM campaigns where there are larger numbers of contacts. 

5. Measure and repeat

Your CRM solution should offer flexible and definable reporting at each stage of your lifecycle, not just at the end. Dashboards featuring either charts, counts or tables will provide an insight on performance based on your set KPI’s from your initial objectives and ROI against your campaigns should be built into your follow up strategy.

Based on your experience first time round, adapt your approach based on what worked well and what didn’t – these may change based on your internal business and culture.

6. Team-based approach

Successful ABM requires a team approach that is aligned with sales and marketing efforts. Collate your team based on the ABM strategy you have chosen and select those individuals where ABM could make a difference. Start with a small team to help you identify where in your business the approach could be strengthened. Select a tool which will help you align your teams by offering the full lifecycle approach rather than multiple integrated tools used by different teams.

How can Gold-Vision CRM help?

I hope that this blog has helped you understand how you can use ABM to put your customers and prospects needs first and align your business to help to improve the relationships you have. It has also hopefully shown you why it is crucial to have a good CRM solution at the heart of your ABM strategy.

Featuring all of the essential tools needed for a successful ABM campaign, Gold-Vision is the smart choice if you are in need of a CRM solution to realise your ABM strategy.

For instance, the Gold-Vision import tool can be used to bulk import data from an Excel spreadsheet. Once the data is in Gold-Vision, you can easily setup privacy rules for data protection which are then automated each time you add a new contact.  

Gold-Vision also offers integrated email marketing as standard. Once your accounts are defined, you can build them into a campaign and use our html drag and drop editor to create a personalised mobile responsive template. Once your campaign has been sent, you can track the results straight back into your CRM tool and update your accounts and contacts automatically. In addition, Gold-Vision’s integrated email marketing offers the ability to track any follow up and ROI against your campaigns. This is not just through click through data and visits to your website, but also any follow up actions assigned to your sales team can be automated based on interest and the rules you set.

Finally, profiling accounts couldn’t be easier thanks to the unlimited user definable fields and various tracking, such as email history or sales history on offer with Gold-Vision CRM. These can be put to work immediately, helping with your research, reporting and data segmentation for campaign communications.

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