A Simple Guide to ABM Best Practices

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Mark Donnigan

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August 3, 2023

2023 has become a turning point for ABM (account-based marketing), with companies selling B2B increasing their investment in this highly effective marketing strategy. According to a recent study, 71% of companies planned to raise their ABM budget in 2023 after realizing the significant impact it can have on their marketing efforts. 

ABM programs continuously show measurable improvements across various vital metrics. The benefits of ABM are undeniable – ranging from pipeline expansion to higher return on investment and improved marketing and sales alignment.

This also means that startups wanting to stay in the competition must keep up with the latest trends and ABM best practices. As ABM strategies expand and mature, businesses shift toward a more strategic, embedded approach.

To guide you in this journey, here are the 2023 ABM best practices you should be adopting:

Building Account-Specific Teams 

If you’re a startup founder with a compelling solution for the market, you need to reach those customers with the highest propensity to take action. This is where building account-specific teams becomes a necessity. It would be best to gather a team of experts who can work together to create a personalized experience for your highest-value customers.

With an account-specific team, each member can bring their skills. Your marketer can create messages that speak directly to the customer’s needs. Your analyst can find helpful information about the customer’s preferences. And your product management group can design a plan that perfectly fits their needs.

Every interaction becomes a chance to make a lasting impression. From customized emails to tailored product demonstrations, your account-specific team ensures each contact suits that customer. They understand their problems, anticipate their needs, and create an experience beyond expectations.

In 2023, account-specific teams will be critical for startups to create exceptional experiences. Here’s how you can get started.

    1. Select a team management tool: Evaluate Slack, Asana, and Trello to find the one that best suits your company and team’s communication styles and preferences. 
    2. Make a dedicated team for each account: Once you have chosen a team management tool, create separate groups for each account targeting. This approach ensures effective organization and allows you to focus on specific account-related messages, tasks, and activities within each team.
    3. Add the right team members to each team: Carefully select team members who require access to a particular account. This step helps maintain a clean and secure team management tool, allowing only those directly involved with accurate access to relevant information and discussions.
    4. Assign appropriate permissions: Once team members are added to each account-specific team, assign them the appropriate permissions within the team management tool. This step determines what actions they can perform and what information they can view, ensuring proper control and security.
    5. Start leveraging your account-specific teams: Once you have completed the setup and configuration, utilize your account-specific teams for effective communication and collaboration. Use them as dedicated spaces to exchange ideas, share updates, and coordinate efforts related to the epic account.

Make your account-specific teams more organized and efficient with these tips:

  • Use consistent names: Give your teams names that follow a standard format. This makes it easier to find the team you’re looking for.
  • Provide clear descriptions: Write detailed reports for each team to give team members a clear understanding of their purpose. 

For example, the marketing team’s description could be “Team dedicated to managing communications and tasks for [Client Name].”

You can tag the sales teams with relevant pipeline stages like “Prospecting” or “Negotiation.”

  • Keep teams up-to-date: As your startup evolves, regularly update your teams to reflect any changes in your team’s composition or structure. This ensures that team members have accurate information about their roles and responsibilities.

Here’s how startups can effectively use account-specific teams.

Marketing team

Create teams for each major client to keep track of all communications and tasks related to them. For instance, the team description for Client A could be “Team responsible for developing tailored marketing strategies and campaigns for Client A.”

Sales team

Make teams for different sales pipelines. It allows collaboration on deals and tracking progress. For example, the team description for the “Enterprise Sales” team could be “Team focused on closing high-value enterprise deals and maintaining customer relationships.”

Product team

Have teams for each product to discuss development and address issues. For instance, the team description for the “Product X Development” team could be “Team dedicated to designing and improving features of Product X based on user feedback and market trends.”

But what makes this practice important? 

Without account-specific teams, companies may face the following challenges in their ABM efforts:

  • Lack of alignment, resulting in inconsistent experiences.
  • Generic targeting and messaging that fails to resonate with specific accounts.
  • Missed opportunities for personalization and tailored approaches.
  • Inefficient resource allocation and suboptimal use.
  • Limited insights and measurement capabilities for individual accounts.

Simplifying Your Buying Experience 

Nobody wants a complicated buying process in the fast-paced world of 2023. Attention is scarce. You can turn this challenge into an opportunity by streamlining your sales process. Make it simple for customers to buy from you

How to make the buying experience easier

  • Streamline website navigation: Make it easy for customers to find products with clear menus and logical categories.
  • Optimize product pages: Provide concise descriptions, pricing, and high-quality visuals to help customers understand the products.
  • Simplify checkout process: Minimize steps, offer guest checkout, and provide autofill options to reduce friction.
  • Clear calls-to-action: Use prominent buttons like “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now” that stand out and guide customers.
  • Mobile optimization: Ensure your website is mobile-friendly for easy browsing and smartphone purchases.
  • Transparent pricing and shipping: Display prices, discounts, and any additional costs clearly, along with shipping information.
  • Multiple payment options: Offer a variety of payment methods to accommodate customer preferences.
  • Post-purchase support: Provide order confirmations, shipping notifications, and accessible customer support for a seamless experience.

These steps will improve the purchasing journey, increase customer satisfaction, and drive higher conversion rates.

Using The Power of AI 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming the marketing landscape, and ABM is no exception. Businesses can use AI to personalize their ABM campaigns, identify and target high-value accounts, and measure the success of ABM efforts.

How to implement ABM’s best practices with AI

  • Personalize marketing campaigns: Use AI to analyze data about individual accounts and create personalized marketing messages. 
  • Identify and target high-value accounts: Let AI identify and target high-value accounts by analyzing data about accounts, such as their size, industry, and purchase history.
  • Measure the success of ABM efforts: AI can also be used to track data about account engagement and conversions to measure the success of ABM efforts.

The Spectrum of AI Tools Available in 2023

In 2023, startups can leverage various powerful AI tools tailored to their needs. Here are notable examples:

Content Creation and Text Enhancement:

  • Copy.ai: AI writing assistant for high-quality, engaging content across formats.
  • Jasper: AI-powered assistant for efficient content creation and customer support.
  • Grammarly: AI grammar checker for professional, error-free communication.
  • Wordtune: AI tool for enhancing clarity, style, and impact of writing.
  • ChatGPT: The most popular generative AI tool in the market.
  • Claude.ai: An equally powerful but lesser-known alternative to ChatGPT.

Image Generation:

  • DALL·E 2: AI image generator for visually appealing, customized images.
  • Stable Diffusion: AI tool for unique and artistic visual content.

Note-taking, Video Creation, Transcription, and Research:

  • Mem: AI note-taking tool for organizing thoughts, ideas, and research.
  • Synthesia: AI video creation platform with realistic human speech.
  • Otter: AI transcription tool for automating audio-to-text conversion.
  • genei: AI research tool for finding and summarizing research papers.

Business Automation:

  • Murf: Text-to-speech generator for automated voiceovers.
  • Socialvar: Cloud-based AI tool for automating social media marketing.
  • UiPath: AI-powered RPA platform for automating repetitive tasks.
  • Hootsuite Insights: AI social media listening tool for brand reputation monitoring and trend analysis.
  • IBM Watson: AI suite for automating customer service and data analysis.
  • Zapier: AI-powered automation platform for streamlining workflows.

Making Customer Retention a Priority 

Customer retention is critical because it saves money by avoiding costly customer acquisition efforts. Loyal customers tend to spend more over time, which aids revenue growth. Meanwhile, satisfied customers can become brand advocates, spreading positive experiences through word of mouth and attracting new customers. Furthermore, retaining customers boosts brand awareness because they act as walking advertisements.

Best strategies for customer retention 

Here are some specific strategies that you can use to prioritize customer retention in 2023:

  • Show customers you value their business by addressing their needs, using their names, and sharing relevant content.
  • Deliver responsive, helpful, knowledgeable support to create positive experiences and foster loyalty.
  • Show appreciation with discounts, upgrades, or exclusive content as a token of gratitude.
  • Optimize your website, streamline checkout, and offer 24/7 support for effortless transactions.
  • Actively listen to customer needs and use feedback to enhance their experience and increase retention.

Identifying Which Metrics to Track (and Which to Abandon)

You might want to track everything – from emails opened to ads viewed. But remember, not all data points help grow your business. Knowing the right metrics to track is critical to reaching your goals. Here, we’ll go through three metrics to track and two that you should stop worrying about.

Key Metrics to Keep an Eye On

Shifting to an ABM approach takes time and requires careful planning and execution and the patience to see it through. 

Instead of chasing instant results, focus on setting a solid foundation for your ABM strategy. The following metrics will help you make sure your efforts are going in the right direction:

    1. Target Account Engagement

This metric shows how often and in what ways your prospects interact with your brand. Checking if your ABM strategy is working is a significant first step. A decrease in engagement means it’s time to tweak your campaigns.

    1. Influenced Pipeline

A few weeks into your ABM campaign, you can see how many accounts in your pipeline respond to your efforts. This metric is critical because it shows the potential revenue these accounts could bring.

    1. Sales Velocity

Once you start seeing deals close, thanks to ABM, measure your sales velocity. It estimates how fast an account moves through the pipeline and generates revenue. It considers the number of open opportunities, the average deal size, the sales cycle length, and the win rate.

Metrics to Leave Behind

Let’s talk about metrics you should stop tracking to make your ABM process more efficient.

    1. Cost Per Click (CPC)

Counting clicks isn’t always the best strategy. What matters is the quality of the traffic you’re getting. Aim for high-quality traffic that’s more likely to convert.

    1. Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)

While MQLs were a big focus for marketers, it’s time to shift that focus. Remember, just because someone shows interest in your content doesn’t mean they’re interested in your product or service. Focus on creating relationships that lead to real business opportunities.

Choosing the right metrics to track and take action on can help you fine-tune your ABM strategy. You can grow your business and get the desired results by doing so. Remember, ABM is about a shift from traditional marketing. It’s about looking at the bigger picture and measuring your success more comprehensively.

By adopting these strategies, companies can forge deeper connections with their target audience, drive revenue growth, and gain a competitive edge in the dynamic marketplace. Embrace these best practices and set your ABM strategy on the path to success in 2023 and the future.

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