The goal of account-based marketing is faster sales cycles—and revenue of course.
This differs from traditional content marketing, where you’re thinking about your content mix, SEO, and conversion goals. Traditionally, marketing means bringing people to your site with your content, then from that big pile of people filtering out some for sales to engage with.
Whereas with ABM you say, “I know who I want to sell to; let me target my efforts there.”
In an interview on the Hawke Media Podcast Paula Crerar, VP Content Marketing and Programs at Evergage, laid out account-based marketing in detail. This post is based on her thoughts.
Account-based marketing means focusing your efforts on a defined group of accounts, including specific companies that sales reps are responsible for selling to. But ABM also sometimes refers to marketing to a specific industry or segment. It’s most prominent in B2B.
The challenge for content marketers, if your company adopts an ABM strategy, is that probably doesn’t mean you’re dropping all of your other KPIs. You still have to demonstrate effective SEO and conversions. So sometimes it’s tricky to balance the two, especially since you know you’re not getting higher budgets or headcounts.
How to Identify the Target Market
There’s a simple answer for how to choose the market or persona you want to target: you have a conversation with your sales team. One of the nice things about ABM is that there’s better alignment between sales and marketing. The teams need to be in sync about who they’re going after; it’s a definition both sides come up with together.
Both sides must ask, “Who are these industries? Let’s define them on paper.”
This is a good idea no matter how large your company is. The conversation between sales and marketing should happen anyway. ABM just makes it tighter.
What ABM Content Looks Like
Before, you were thinking more about SEO and keywords. With ABM, you have to think more about your content with regard to industries, segments, and even accounts. Do you have the content that allows a conversation to move forward with each of those segments?
It’s not enough to say, “We’re going to go after financial services; let’s write a couple of ebooks and blog posts about that industry.” You need to have content that progresses that conversation forward, from the first time a financial services account comes to your website all the way down to the conversation with the salesperson—and beyond.
When you’re creating these content pieces, how do you personalize to resonate with the audience?
One of the challenges in content marketing in general is how to distribute the content. It’s almost as challenging as putting the content together. You have to make sure it’s seen by as many people in your target audience as possible.
With ABM, your focus is slightly different. You want to make sure that when they come to your site, your target personas or named accounts see relevant content as soon as possible. That’s where personalization comes in.
Instead of someone from financial services having to dig through your site to find the content interesting to them, you aim to let the content find them. Give them only content relevant to them.
How to follow that level of personalization up
If someone goes to the Evergage site without giving out their email, Evergage presents them with video content. If the person watches a video on a specific industry segment and heads back to the homepage, instead of seeing the generic homepage, they’ll see it personalized to the interest that they just showed.
If they watched an eCommerce video, the next time they visit the homepage they’ll be presented with eCommerce case studies and logos. This is personalization at its finest.
A Couple of Tips on How to Coordinate With Sales Teams
1) Kick off the ABM strategy by agreeing on who the named accounts are.
2) Do a content audit – Do you have content for those personas existing? For each stage of the buyer’s journey? As you do that, you’ll come across gaps and you’ll know what you need to create.
Remember, the sales team are the frontline to these target markets. They can share what keeps the target up at night.
The other nice thing about talking to sales regularly is that they know what content you’ll be producing. Before, you notify them by email and they may or may not pay attention. But now you say, “I’m creating content for you.”
They’ll look forward to it, and they will distribute it more than in the past.
You may have heard: ABM is taking the world by storm. This is because of its obvious advantages, some of which are listed here.
At the very least, it’s not a concept you can afford to ignore.
If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.