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5 tips for launching a B2B ABM pilot program

Few marketing segments in recent years have experienced as much growth as Account-Based Marketing (ABM). According to an Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA) and the ABM Leadership Alliance study, 73% of marketers planned to increase their ABM budgets for 2020. The report, which surveyed 196 marketers from B2B technology and business services companies, found that 71% of the companies surveyed saw greater ROI within their ABM efforts compared to their traditional marketing initiatives.

It’s no surprise given that ABM tackles so many key pillars of effective marketing today: personalization, organizational alignment, and the focused pursuit of high-value customers. An investment in ABM signals that B2B brands are increasingly conscious of creating content and experiences for specific buying audiences, but that those efforts are aimed beyond a singular buyer.

Sounds great, but where to start? While ABM is a balance between long-term program strategy and short-term revenue gains, oftentimes the companies most excited about the potential increase in revenue don’t have the necessary team to mobilize quickly. So keep reading as we outline the top 5 strategies for building your effective ABM pilot.

1. Understand the problem you are trying to solve

ABM programs are not a one-size-fits-all proposition, so launching an ABM pilot should only be made after asking pointed questions about your company and your goals.

1. What audience are you trying to reach?

2. Have you identified this audience’s pain points?

3. Can I meet this audience on the platforms they prefer with content that resonates?

A deep understanding of your needs and goals and your target’s pain points will help you design an ABM program that’s just right for your company.

2. Align goals with appropriate KPIs

Remember, ABM focuses on key accounts, meaning they focus on quality over quantity. As such, traditional funnel metrics, such as conversion rates, aren’t the only focus here. Pay equal attention to things like coverage, awareness, engagement, reach, and influence—metrics that track activating and engaging a smaller number of the right leads. Knowing who to target, their involvement with your content, its impact, and where they are in the buyer’s journey, will help your marketing team identify where their time and resources should be spent.

3. Establish a communication cadence between marketing and sales during the campaign

Most companies are still in the early stages of ABM development and as such, marketing and sales alignment remains one of the biggest challenges. Fortunately, ABM is in a unique position to solve this. A strategic and sophisticated ABM program is built on orchestrated account selection, outreach, and nurturing processes. These strategies also tend to measure success based on overall results rather than getting bogged down in credit attribution, helping reduce friction and internal contention. Listen to stakeholders, use your data to create a mutually beneficial plan that brings people together, and make it easy for the sales team to get the marketing and sales collateral they need, and you’ll take big steps towards running an ABM program that gets results.

4. Take the time to personalize content

Sorry, but “Hi [Company name]” isn’t cutting it here. According to a study by Folloze, 51% of those surveyed still struggle with creating personalized experiences for their clients. However, the ability to personalize content to client needs speaks to the strength of the relationship between you and your client. Establish a segmentation approach by understanding your client and their challenges. This enables you to create a targeted message that will resonate with your audience. It also illustrates the value of the client/agency relationship.

5. Start small

There’s no harm in starting small while getting acclimated to ABM. Take the first step by creating a 1:1 program that is hyper-personalized for top strategic accounts. Then, you can build off of your 1:1 program by tiering or segmenting audiences to scale up to 1:few approach that keeps the personalization but increases your reach. If you’re looking for more expert advice, Centerline’s ABM Pilot Program is a tested approach, proven to reach your targets quickly and show measured success.