What is account-based marketing?

01 Aug 2022  |  by Kristina Boschenriedter

7 min read

Account-based marketing (also known as AB marketing), is a focused growth strategy. When carrying out an account-based marketing campaign, a company’s marketing team and sales team collaborate in order to create personalised buying experiences for a mutually-identified set of high-value accounts. 

Overall, account-based marketing involves locating, engaging with, and closing deals with high-value accounts that are treated as markets of one. 

What are the benefits of an account-based marketing strategy?

Account-based marketing allows you to identify your highest-value prospects and clients. By ensuring that your sales and marketing teams are in complete alignment, you can engage and delight your prospects and clients in every interaction.

With this in mind, let’s take a more detailed look at the key benefits AB marketing provides.

Efficiency and optimisation

When you employ an AB marketing strategy, you can ensure that all of your marketing activities are efficient and highly optimised. This is because, by selecting only your accounts/prospects that are most likely to lead to high-value sales, you can concentrate your efforts and free up time and resources.

Aligning sales and marketing

One of the main benefits of account-based marketing is that it aligns a company’s sales and marketing teams. 

Together, these departments are responsible for identifying target accounts and prospects, planning and crafting customised campaigns for these key accounts, and moving individual accounts through the pipeline.

This alignment will ensure your marketing and sales teams are focused on the same goals. However, to make sure sales and marketing work well together, you’ll need to agree upon resource allocation for each target account. You’ll also need to assign roles and responsibilities to ensure a seamless transition for the customer.

Improving customer experiences

On top of this, the alignment between the sales team and the marketing team ensures that all communications, interactions, and content are consistent for the accounts you work with. This creates a seamless and delightful customer experience.

Similarly, the AB marketing approach allows marketers to create personalised messages for target accounts. This improves the customer experience by ensuring that every piece of marketing material is personalised and relevant.

Return on investment

With account-based marketing, you can easily measure the return on investment (ROI) for each account. Using ROI data, you can then identify and target similar accounts in the future.

Will account-based marketing work for your company?

Although traditionally considered as a B2B approach, AB marketing strategies have also recently been adopted by B2C marketers who are looking to understand more about their customers and their lifetime value.

Account-based marketing will work for your company if you’re looking to:

  • Show clear ROI
  • Focus your resources on high-value accounts or customers
  • Create personalised and targeted communications
  • Align your marketing and sales teams

How to implement successful account-based marketing

The foundation of a successful AB marketing strategy is a list of carefully chosen high-value clients, customers, or prospects. After you’ve identified your targets, your marketing and sales teams can then come together and craft personalised campaigns that can be delivered through the right channels. 

Let’s take a look at what this process looks like on a step-by-step basis.

Step 1: Identify your high-value target accounts

These are the accounts that have the potential to contribute the most to your company’s revenue. When identifying high-value target accounts, you should consider revenue potential as well as other strategic factors, like market influence, likelihood to make a repeat purchase, and potential for higher than average profit margins.

When identifying high-value accounts, consider the financials of the company, what their current performance says about scalability, and who your competitors are selling to.

Step 2: Conduct research on those accounts

Once you’ve identified your target accounts, you need to learn as much about them as possible. So, endeavour to answer questions like:

  • What does this customer want?
  • What pain points are they experiencing?
  • Where are they in their customer journey?

The more questions you ask and the more you learn about each of these accounts, the more effectively you’ll be able to target the account with personalised messages. 

Try to identify how your target accounts are structured, how decisions are made, and who the decision makers and influencers are. As part of your research, you should also endeavour to learn as much as possible about the buying committee members and stakeholders of your target accounts. By doing this, you’ll find it much easier to attract their attention.

Step 3: Develop customised marketing campaigns

Once you have completed all of your research and identified your target accounts, you then need to use the information you’ve gathered to inform your strategy and develop creative assets that will resonate with your target accounts.

Remember, the content that you create should address clear and significant business challenges that the target account faces. So, think about how your messaging and content can address the target account’s specific pain points.

Similarly, when deciding what content you’d like to create, you also need to make sure you’re publishing it on the channels your audience uses regularly. Due to this, you need to consider which channels will be most effective for the specific leads and clients you’re targeting.

Your account-based marketing campaigns can take many forms, but popular examples include:

  • In-person events
  • Webinars
  • Email and direct marketing campaigns
  • Paid advertising campaigns
  • Web personalisation campaigns

Each account you target should feel as though they’re in a market of one. You can ensure this is the case by offering consistent customer experiences and making sure every interaction is highly personalised.

Step 4: Run your customised marketing campaigns

Once you’ve decided on the content you’re going to create and the channels you’re going to publish it on, it’s time to launch your campaigns.

At this point, it’s vital that you coordinate your campaigns and align the efforts of your marketing and sales teams to ensure that you generate the maximum impact.

Step 5: Measure your customised marketing campaigns

You should test, measure, and continually optimise your AB marketing campaigns. By doing this, you can ensure that each of your activities is effective.

Plus, by reviewing and analysing your ABM results, you’ll identify any gaps or parts of your strategy that need to be changed. This will allow you to make your strategy more effective.

When reviewing the effectiveness of your campaigns, you should focus on a handful of key metrics, such as:

  • Deals closed
  • Account penetration 
  • Account engagement
  • Deal-to-close time
  • Percent of deals closed

Reporting on account-based marketing with the help of Apteco

Here at Apteco, we’ve developed a range of solutions that can help you devise, deliver, and report on your account-based marketing activities.

With the help of our solutions, you can identify potential prospects and accounts, engage with your target customers across multiple platforms, and analyse how effectively your approach is performing.

Whether you’re looking to personalise communications, identify your top customers, or create an audience for a campaign, we can help you get the most out of your current data. Plus, our interactive marketing dashboards also make it easy for you to uncover and share actionable insights relating to your campaign.

With the help of our marketing software, you can make all of your marketing activities targeted. Our best-in-breed software enables you to ensure that every piece of marketing is relevant and personal.

Kristina Boschenriedter

Online Marketing Specialist

Kristina Boschenriedter ist seit Anfang 2019 für Apteco tätig. Als Online Marketing Spezialistin umfasst ihr Aufgabenbereich unter anderem die Betreuung unserer Webseite und verschiedenen Social Media Kanäle sowie den Apteco-Blog und die Erstellung des Newsletters für den deutschsprachigen Raum.

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