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Get Started with Account-Based Marketing

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe Account-Based Marketing.
  • Understand the benefits of Account-Based Marketing.
  • Learn how to build an Account-Based Marketing strategy using Salesforce.

What Is Account-Based Marketing?

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a strategy where sales and marketing teams work together to target and grow key account relationships. In traditional marketing, also known as broad-based marketing, a marketer creates a single campaign to target a large audience, which usually results in a less personalized experience. With account-based marketing, sales and marketing teams join forces to target and customize campaigns that feel targeted and personalized to each account. 

As Denise Persson notes in How to Build an Account-Based Marketing Program That Works, “While this degree of personalization can drive the highest quality leads, it works best when marketing and sales are in 100% alignment and share the same objectives and if your sales organization has an account-based sales strategy. The idea is to fully align those efforts.”

B2B marketing technology has made account-based marketing more accessible, efficient, and powerful. Currently, about 84% of businesses that implement account-based strategies successfully have reported an increase in return on investment (Information Technology Services Marketing Association).

And by adding artificial intelligence (AI) in addition to your ABM strategy, you can identify potential accounts with a high revenue potential earlier in the buying cycle, enabling you to personalize and target more efficiently. Using the insights AI can provide, marketers can design a content and campaign strategy targeted to prospective customers who have already shown signs of matching their ideal customer profile.

This is where the Salesforce platform comes into play. It’s simple to implement an account-based marketing strategy that incorporates all your data within a single AI powered, Lightning-enabled platform. Having all your data on one platform enables you to work from one data set, one set of KPIs, and work towards joint pipeline and revenue goals. 

Now let’s break down how you can implement an ABM strategy in your organization using Salesforce.

Identify Key Accounts

Because an ABM strategy works best when targeting a relatively small number accounts with the highest revenue potential and propensity to buy, you can dedicate the majority of your marketing efforts to engaging with just a few accounts within each campaign.

Marketers need to start by identifying their key accounts by creating a single view of their accounts, by enriching their CRM records with: 

  1. External data from our Lightning Data partners (firmographic, technographic, etc).
  2. Engagement data from Pardot. This data can then be used to develop ideal customer profiles that are similar to top customers.

As Sam Meyer notes in Why the Key to Alignment is Sharing Metrics, “When the sales and marketing teams are looking at the same metrics and trying to hit the same North Star, lots of other pieces of ABM fall into place.” With marketing and sales working alongside each other, you can engage your most valuable accounts across Sales Cloud and Pardot to net the greatest benefits to your business. 

This account-centric view can then inform every account engagement across all channels.

Engage Buyers Everywhere

In an account-based marketing campaign, you need to first understand how your targeted accounts are engaging with your campaigns. Engagement is one of the most important metrics in an account-based marketing campaign because it’s a good way to tell how far your brand awareness and messaging are penetrating within your target accounts. Equally, account-based marketing practitioners usually take advantage of a broader set of channels, like digital advertising, in order to improve that account penetration.

Aligning on a single AI powered platform provides a unified view of accounts so you can take an account-centric approach. With a marketing automation platform, such as Pardot, you can build content that has specific messaging geared toward these targeted accounts and deliver the right message, in the right channel, when the account is ready to engage. Not only that, but by extending Pardot with Advertising Studio, marketers are able to synchronize this targeted messaging into some of the most important advertising channels for B2B -- LinkedIn, Google (including Search and YouTube), and Facebook (including Instagram).

Pardot + Advertising Studio provides a full solution that helps marketers create meaningful connections and engage with their accounts across the broadest set of channels possible.

Deliver Connected Engagement

Aligning your sales and marketing teams begins with breaking down the traditional silos created from working with separate tools, processes, and data to achieve different goals. Effective ABM relies on these two departments opening the lines of communication, ensuring that they are united around which accounts to target, which channels to use, and which metrics to track. AI makes it simpler than ever for sales and marketing to come together. Now marketing can identify the hottest accounts and leads because of the unique insight that AI provides. The passing of leads becomes now cyclical versus linear. 

If a lead doesn’t convert, it is sent back to marketing for additional nurturing. And with additional insights, marketing can create the right content needed for sales to close more deals. Aligning your sales and marketing teams around common and visible goals helps create transparency and accountability, ultimately helping you to unify your message across these touch points. If you can programmatically orchestrate these marketing and sales touchpoints, you can drive this connected engagement for even more of your key accounts.

At the end of the day, delivering connected engagement through account-based marketing empowers the entire revenue team across marketing, sales, and service to work together to close bigger deals. 

Grow Customer Relationships

Developing a culture around  data-driven decision-making leveraging unified AI and analytics, helps you identify the best way to personalize your marketing campaigns as you work with each account. 

It also gives sales, marketing, and service teams unprecedented levels of insight into the business and into your accounts. Through the effective use of AI and analytics to measure the business, B2B companies can learn what tactics have performed best, and run analysis to predict which tactics will have the most impact on future campaigns. Gone are the days of an educated guesses, instead businesses can accurately pinpoint what types of campaigns produce the highest customer lifetime value.

In addition, empowering your marketing and sales teams with data about service engagements, and your service teams about sales and marketing engagements, helps these teams to work together to build long-term relationships that drive sustainable growth.

In the next unit, we talk about the best tools for account-based marketing.

Resources