What is Account-Based Marketing and How Does Content Fit In?

May 16, 2016 Kelly O'Hara

what is account-based marketing?

We at Uberflip are big proponents for “SMarketing” – the alignment of sales and marketing. In fact, according to MarketingProfs, companies with aligned sales and marketing teams generate 208% more revenue for their marketing efforts.

Sales and marketing should always be working towards the same goal (get more customers!), so it only makes sense for the teams to always be on the same page to ensure that the same message is being communicated at every stage of the buying journey.

This is especially true for account-based marketing and content plays a big role in its success.

So what is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?

ABM is a switch from focusing on large market segments to individual organizations. The focus may not be on just one employee, but rather multiple different roles. This varies from traditional marketing where messaging and content is targeted at a specific persona or industry.

When targeting these accounts, content can greatly help the sales process, but because of this different approach, the way you approach content marketing should adjust.

The 4 Pillars of Content Marketing

To best show this, we’ll run through the 4 pillars of content marketing to emphasize what needs to change for a better ABM campaign.

1. Creation

When you’re creating content for an ABM campaign, the initial brainstorm must alter for your new audience. For traditional demand-gen style content, you typically start off with a specific offer in mind and you work from there, next thinking about distribution channels, and then finally the segments you want to reach.

With ABM, this process should be pretty much reversed. Start with the who (your ideal account) and then move forward to what you want to say and where you want to say it.

account-based marketing

Work closely with your sales team to get their input on how they want to approach

2. Experience

If you know anything about Uberflip, you know how important we think content experience is! This is obviously no different for ABM.

Now that you have all of this great content that you worked with sales to create, organize it in a way that makes sense to the accounts you want to reach. You can’t just schlep it into your content hub in hopes that the right person will find it.

For a one-to-one experience, you can get quite personal. Create a grouping of content based on your target account’s industry, the size of their team, their budget, their challenges – really anything that you know about the account that you can map content to.

At Uberflip, we saw this use case a lot within our own sales team, so we created Sales Streams in order for our reps to easily grab content and send it to the accounts they are working. The experience for Sales Streams is optimized because it presents the content pieces in an easy-to-consume format, gives the ability for the rep to add their picture and a personalized message, and removes any distractions (like navigation items that aren’t pertinent to the account). Take a look:

Target Stream

3. Distribution

All this talk about one-to-one communication and Sales Streams gives us a nice segue into how distribution for ABM should vary from your normal tactics.

It should be pretty clear by now that nothing you do for an ABM campaign should be vague and all encompassing. You can’t distribute your ABM content through a mass email blast to your whole list because, well, the messaging would probably apply to 1% of your audience.

Sure, you are going to have pieces of content that can be used for different accounts that may not be very similar (for example, an educational institution may have the same small budget restraints as a startup). However, it all comes down to the messaging in your outreach.

As mentioned above, you can build Sales Streams to create tailored content experiences. You can distribute these experiences through standard one-on-one email or social outreach, or get even more technical with it.

Create retargeted ads to show after a member of your target account visits your website or create IP-based ads that will only show for your target account’s IP address. Creepy? Maybe. Effective? Heck yes.

4. Insights

The metrics that you look at for an ABM campaign shouldn’t be the same as those from a traditional campaign.

According to Jon Miller, co-founder of Marketo and Engagio, there are 5 main ABM metrics:

  1. Coverage: Do you have the right amount of data or opted-in contacts to allow you to get the best reach possible?

  2. Awareness: Did the awareness of your company/brand increase within the group of target accounts you were going after? Did any of these accounts visit your website?

  3. Engagement: Are your efforts drawing in the right people at the target company?

  4. Program Impact: Is what you’re doing reaching the target accounts? Is anything failing to stick?

  5. Influence: Are your ABM activities impacting sales activity (like close rates, deal value, retention, etc.)?

Falling back on traditional metrics, like downloads or views, won’t get you very far if you’re not looking at them the right way. Remember, ABM is about winning over the account as a whole.

Start thinking about ABM now

ABM ain’t goin’ nowhere. With events like #FlipMyFunnel and companies like Engagio or Terminus gaining steam, chances are, if you don’t start thinking about your ABM tactics soon, you’re going to be late for the game.

Learn more about ABM and content in our webinar with Jon Miller!

About the Author

Kelly O'Hara

Kelly is a Content Marketing Consultant at Uberflip, helping the team with content strategy and implementation. As a Massachusetts native living in Toronto, she spends her free time exploring the city, hanging out with her cat & dog, and watching Tom Hanks movies.

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