The 6 Steps in Every Successful Account Based Everything Strategy

Wondering where to start with Account-Based Marketing? Start here.

I think it was Confucius who once said, “the road to sustainable growth and profitability with your most important client accounts is paved with complexity.”

Oh, actually that was the ITSMA, who report that account based marketing “delivers the highest return on investment of any B2B marketing strategy or tactic. Period.

Where to begin?

Despite this promise, many B2B organizations who are eager to realize the proven value of Account Based Marketing are hesitant and unsure about where to start. After all, this new account-based thinking of growing a business flies in the face of many traditional methods, which focus on the individual lead, rather than the account. It requires marketers to re-think how they go to market, and sales and support teams to consider new ways to engage with target accounts.

Because of this, those that want to get into the Account Based Everything game are often daunted by the complexity of forming a game plan. What Confucius did say is relevant here.

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” 

Account Based Everything is very much an evolving and complex practice, one that involves multiple internal team members and multiple target stakeholders. It will progress differently in every organization, as your unique strategy comes to life. But the most successful ABM practitioners exhibit a very simple pattern to their achievement.

At Engagio, we’ve seen Account Based Everything successfully implemented with a number of organizations. From their success, we’ve developed an easy-to-understand framework. Let’s make the complex, simple, with the six steps in every successful Account Based Everything Strategy:

1) Select accounts

Align sales and marketing by choosing a list of target accounts and existing customers that are most likely to deliver revenue. Start with your Ideal Customer Profile, leverage a variety of data to inform your selection, and ultimately make the decision that will best utilize your existing sales and marketing resources. If your organization is slow to get off the starting block because you’re worried about how your ABM efforts will scale, consider the three approaches to Account Based Marketing.

2) Discover contacts and map to your accounts

Fill out these accounts and buying centers with specific contacts based on your ideal buyer profiles. The quickest growth opportunity is to grow the number of contacts per account. This is where Lead-to-Account matching capabilities are essential, though often a common roadblock to address.

3) Develop account insights

Learn as much as you can about each account so that your interactions are always relevant and resonant. Leverage direct conversations, social media, market data, surveys, and more. Why? 50% of customers are more likely to purchase from a vendor when they personalize their sales and marketing materials to a customer’s specific business issues, according to the ITSMA. Do your homework!

4) Generate account-relevant messages and content

Put those insight to use. Create or adapt content and messaging that reflects your account insight and is targeted specifically at the buying terms in each account. Every sales process is the sum of its engagements. Dial up the relevance and resonance of your interactions and content, and you’ll increase the quantity and quality of your engagements. Even unsolicited material is welcome by prospects when it contains ideas that might be relevant to their business, according to 75% of executives in an ITSMA study.

5) Deliver account-specific interactions

This is where steps 1 through 4 really pay off. (It’s a lot of work up to this point!) Once you’ve moved to this phase of the journey, it’s time to deliver your targeted message in front of those targeted organizations. Manage multi-channel interactions that are personalized for each account. According to EverString, it’s not unusual to see 5, 7 or 9 touches to get a prospect to move to the next stage of conversion.

6) Orchestrate account-focused plays

These efforts are somewhat effective in isolation, but they’re far more powerful when combined into orchestrated plays. Synchronize interactions into coordinated plays that align to account plans and goals. Consider a diverse mix of channels, and a regular cadence of activity.

But What Should I do FIRST?

If you are just getting started with Account Based Marketing / Account Based Everything, what is the very first thing you should do? We think it’s important to start with the core account-centric infrastructure to match leads to accounts and measure account based marketing results. Without these core capabilities, you won’t be able to look at your data or results by account, limiting your ability to focus on accounts and know if your efforts are paying off.

Then, once you’ve started, keep moving. Quoting Confucius once more, “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.”

So, where are you on the journey?

Download The Clear and Complete Guide to Account Based Marketing for more insights.

Jon Miller
Jon Miller
Jon Miller is CEO and founder of Engagio. Previously, Jon was the VP Marketing and Co-Founder of Marketo. He is a speaker and writer about marketing best practices, and is the author of multiple Definitive Guides including Marketing Automation, Engaging Email Marketing, and Marketing Metrics & Analytics. Jon has a passion for helping marketers everywhere, and is on the Board of Scripted and is an advisor to Optimizely and Newscred. In 2010, The CMO Institute named Jon a Top 10 CMO for companies under $250 million revenue. Jon holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard College and has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

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