Account Based Marketing: The Complete B2B Starter Guide

Bec Henrich VP of Marketing

There are certain sports that are so extreme in their difficulty or their inherent safety risk that it is impossible not to think, “how did these athletes get started with something like that?” Think of skeleton athletes careening down an icy track at 120 km/h or Formula1 drivers taking their finely-tuned cars to the very brink of their performance capabilities.

Account Based Marketing (ABM) can seem a little like that – intimidating. Diving deep into ABM can be expensive, with Salesforce alone offering a wide product stack devoted to ABM. Not everyone who is interested in ABM can afford to invest in a full stack of ABM products.

Thankfully, it is possible to build an ABM practice on a budget. Everyone has to start somewhere, and as hard as it is to imagine, athletes don’t just jump onto a sled or into an F1 vehicle and start racing. Focusing on fundamental principles of ABM and implementing best practices and light-weight but impactful software can help most businesses transition towards ABM.

How can you start doing account based marketing?

Any effective account based marketing strategy needs to follow a few simple steps. While the implementation and tactical elements of the strategy will vary based on the business in question, ABM marketers would be wise to build their ABM campaign strategy around the following processes.

  1. Create a list of companies that fit your ideal customer profile: You’ll need to do some research here, building out evaluation criteria that allow you to put together a shorter list of companies that you want to chase. The research doesn’t stop here though, as you’ll need to scrape together as much data as you can that offers you insight into what those companies are interested in.

  2. Build out a list of Contacts that you want to market to at those companies: Within each Account, you’ll need to leverage your database to put together a list of Contacts at that company – they don’t have to be in a particular company role, but focus should be on ensuring that Contact data is complete and accurate. Data quality is paramount in ensuring your ABM content is delivered to the right people.

  3. Put together content targeted towards the companies on your list: Through your research of each targeted Account, you should be aware of what sort of content may be impactful – for example, which keywords a company is looking for. You’ll need to write content in various forms (display ads, white-papers, blogs, social posts, articles) that cuts through all of the noise and delivers something that is meaningful to their situation.

  4. Set up Marketing Automation to automatically feed content back to any of those Contacts: You want to ensure that as Leads come in, you’re sending them content that is personalized. Anyone who wasn’t included in the initial Contact list should also be receiving this targeted content.

  5. Measure the effectiveness of your efforts: This last step is one of the most important, as it not only proves the value of what you have just done, but it also offers insights into what worked well and what can be improved on. The catch here is that for measurement to be meaningful, it needs to derive from trustworthy data.

You Don’t Need a Full Stack, Just Complete Data

It’s pretty clear in looking at the above list of steps that data quality is crucial to the success of ABM. That’s where light-weight tools can really help in taking transitional steps towards ABM. A product like Traction Complete ensures that when a Lead from a targeted Account enters Salesforce, it is matched to that Account. If Leads are not attached to their associated Accounts, businesses lose out on the opportunity to send that content that they have intentionally crafted for key Accounts.

Compounding this importance is the need for Leads to roll-up to the correct Account for reporting purposes. If a Lead or a Contact is not associated to the correct Account, or if data quality can’t be trusted, it’s impossible to measure the effectiveness of a campaign. That translates into hard-working ABM marketers running campaigns like F1 drivers racing around corners with fogged-up goggles.

Want to get Started?

A product like Traction Complete can empower companies looking to develop an Account Based Marketing strategy. Budget-friendly ABM tools also enable smaller organizations to keep up with larger competitors, as long as they follow best practices.

Think you want to take a run at ABM? Get started by looking at your data quality. Find out how many of your Salesforce leads should be mapped to your existing accounts by signing up for a free data evaluation.