Before we move into the details of automating account-based marketing (ABM) for sales and marketing support, it’s first important to understand what it is and how it works. From there, we’ll get into the details on what may or may not make it a good fit for your business. After all, there’s no sense in automating something that doesn’t align with your overall business strategy and marketing goals.
What Is ABM?
More than ever, marketing teams are tasked with showcasing a return on investment (ROI) on their marketing. ABM is a direct through -line to sales support by targeting the key accounts (companies) that your sales team would like to directly impact.
Traditional digital marketing consists of targeting your prospects, yes, but with a very broad brush. If online marketing means positioning your company successfully to be found when and where your prospects and customers are looking for solutions, ABM is a tactic to push prospects and companies directly to your website to support their research, consideration and buying decisions.
Simply put, ABM is the delivery of targeted digital ads that have tailored messaging that aligns with the key targets your company is looking to engage with. These ads are served to these key target audiences in the places they’re spending their time online.
How to Know If ABM Is Right for Your Company
Typically, ABM is most successful for B2B companies that have a high-focus on consultative sales. If you’re a company that sells a high-dollar product that has a long sales cycle, ABM is a perfect complement to directly target the key accounts that your sales team has a relationship with or that they’ve yet to get in front of. ABM not only supports ongoing sales opportunities but also brings awareness and new lead generation for the key accounts that you’ve yet to break into.
How to Align Sales and Marketing Around an ABM Strategy
As noted in the beginning of this article, the first step in aligning sales and marketing around ABM is to understand what it is and how it can be applied. From there, it’s crucial for these two teams to:
- Have open and honest communication around the goal of the campaign
- Who is our audience?
- What do they need?
- How can our business help?
- Identify the key accounts your team should be targeting
- Build a list of the key decision makers at each key account
- This should include the key buyer personas but also those that influence their decision-making.
- Create a content strategy that aligns with your audience, their need and how your company creates solutions to support those needs
- Determine where these key stakeholders are spending their time online so you can target your channels appropriately for the highest engagement opportunities
- Create your plan for initial ad targeting and carry it through from landing pages, offers, form submissions and email/phone nurture campaigns. These assets all need to be determined prior to go-live.
- Execute, analyze and optimize for future success
How ABM and Online Marketing Work Together
There are three types of ABM that all align with online marketing efforts in similar ways.
1. Strategic ABM
This is the most focused and manual of the ABM options. This focuses on 1:1 communications from a sales team member to the direct key contacts. Marketing can help automate this process as much as possible by creating assets that can be copy/pasted into an email or the LinkedIn messaging tool. These assets should include landing page links, case studies as proof points and then next steps to move the buying process along.
2. ABM Lite
This is the scalable version of strategic ABM. A way to target a slightly larger group (vs. the 1:1) with messaging that aligns closely with what they’re looking to solve. Marketing can help automate this process by creating template-designed emails to entice and intrigue the audience to optimize engagement and conversions. All assets mentioned above still apply here as well.
3. Programmatic ABM
This is the most automated and most ‘hands-off’ approach to ABM. Programmatic advertising allows you to target key accounts by location, email address and/or device ID. Here you will work with your marketing team to create ads that are placed where these accounts are spending their time online. These ads should then have a common thread pulling them through the buying stages towards ‘closed customer’ by using the assets outlined in strategic ABM.
You may decide to do one of these strategies, but the reality is, our marketing campaigns are only as strong as the sum of their parts. The best way to guarantee success is to use a variety of these options and to deeply integrate them with a more traditional ‘pull’ approach to your online marketing.
Integrating Your ABM Strategy Into Hubspot
Integrating your ABM strategy is important in the automation process, and setting it up utilizing HubSpot tools is quick and intuitive. HubSpot has all the tools you need to get your ABM campaign up and running within minutes.
Set up Your ABM Strategy Effortlessly
- Use workflow templates to characterize your ideal customer profiles and identify target accounts that are a good fit
- Set up default properties to tag accounts and buying roles
- Leverage AI-powered proposals of target accounts to ensure sales never misses a beat
What’s more, do everything inside a CRM that holds your existing customers and qualified leads so that you never have to stress over losing significant contact details across marketing and sales.
Empower Collaboration Across Teams
How can you expect to increase sales if your marketing and sales teams are not aligned? With HubSpot, marketing and sales can finally use shared tools that unite them around the same data in the same location.
If you’re carrying out an ABM strategy, make use of HubSpot’s “Target Accounts” home feature. Essentially the command center for marketing and sales teams, the target accounts home feature allows both teams to monitor progress across all target accounts.
Your target accounts home allows you to keep tabs on the accounts you and your team want to work on, as well as view the following high-level metrics to identify next steps:
- Target Accounts: This is the number of target accounts your HubSpot account has.
- Accounts With Open Deals: This is the number of target accounts affiliated with deals that aren’t in closed-won or closed-lost deal stages.
- Open Deal Value: This is the sum of the amount property values in the open deals connected to your target accounts.
- Missing Any Buying Role: This is the number of target accounts where all associated contacts don’t have a value in their buying role property.
- Missing Decision Makers: This is the number of target accounts where none of the associated contacts have the “decision maker” value in their buying role property.
Forge Deeper Relationships
The account overview sidebar, which is essentially the ABM playbook for salespeople, helps to further forge deeper relationships with people over time and develop more genuine connections with stakeholders within each account. The feature gives you a more detailed understanding of what’s happening at an account level.
Track and Measure Key Milestones
While the account overview feature gives you a more detailed understanding of certain types of achievements, ABM reporting dashboards give you a higher-level view. Effective dashboards highlight important metrics at both the account and program levels. The most successful ABM strategies develop reports to match the needs of different reporting audiences so that leaders can lay the groundwork for future investments.