The way we see it, there are three basic models for account-based marketing: 1:1, 1:FEW, and 1:MANY. Of the three models, 1:1 ABM is probably the most obvious. It’s the hyper-targeted, whale-hunting model that most people picture when they think of ABM. You’re going after your highest-value accounts for a chance at multi-million dollar deals.
In our experience working with customers, we’ve been able to identify a few key patterns that all-star teams consistently follow in their 1:1 ABM programs. In episode 8 of “Ask an ABM Expert”, Andrew Mahr, offers three key tactics. We’re going to dive into each step and break down why they’re essential to executing successful 1:1 ABM programs.
Step 1: Leverage account insights
Developing good account insights for each account in your program is critical. First-time practitioners tend to interpret account insights as something they merely need to know about the account. However, Andrew suggests going beyond the standard insights and really understanding the account, i.e. what problems are they facing and how can you uniquely solve it?
When it comes to an existing customer and the opportunity for upsell, the data you need is going to come from your sales or customer success members managing the account. When it comes to prospects, you’ll have to rely on gathering insights from industry sources of information and intent data to help you frame what problems that business might be facing.
Use Case: In episode 8, Andrew talks about a view IP solution. In order to understand which of their accounts might need a new phone system in the upcoming year, they monitored intent data for companies that were searching for commercial real estate. The company realized that businesses that were about to move or open a new headquarters were the ones most likely to evaluate their phone solution. This example demonstrates how “account insights” goes beyond discovering a fact or two about a business. It’s about interpreting what specific pieces of data mean for when you start conversations with prospects and how you address their pain points and needs.
Step 2: Unify communication & alignment
The second thing that an ABM team has to do really well in order to succeed in a 1:1 campaign is to communicate. These types of campaigns aren’t “lone wolf affairs” as Andrew likes to call them. Meaning, your sales team isn’t going out and landing big deals all on its own.
Ideally, sales will be working with people from the marketing department to develop content and analyze data, as well as getting support from the sales development team on research and the initial outreach. Additionally, in some cases there might even be an executive sponsor involved, giving air-cover to the sales rep by being present at on-site events and communicating with the C-suite.
Everyone involved needs to be on the same page about what message is being delivered to the account and what the current playing field looks like, i.e. competitors, and challenges the business is facing. Andrew stresses that this level of involvement, when an entire team is synced up and truly aligned on an account, requires meeting at least once a month to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Step 3: Personalized content
The third element of really successful ABM campaigns includes great content. We’ve seen time and time again, the importance of reaching target accounts by personalizing the message being delivered.
Sometimes, when marketers are getting started with 1:1 ABM, they want to drop in merge fields, and call it a day. While calling out people’s names and companies may help, merge fields won’t advance the conversation on their own. Simple personalization tricks might catch someone’s attention, but they’re not enough to grow engagement and consideration because they don’t speak to the specific challenges your high-value accounts are facing.
We’re huge proponents of leveraging 1:1 landing pages for Tier 1 accounts. While they take a bit more time to implement than a few merge fields here and there, we’ve found them to be highly effective in 1:1 outreach. For example, Smart Pages house content that’s been cherry-picked for specific accounts or account segments by either marketers or sales reps.
Andrew explains in the video that internally, 1:1 landing pages can serve as a “central workspace” for the marketing and sales teams. When both marketers and account executives work off of a single 1:1 account page, it helps everyone stay updated on the messaging that’s being used to move the conversation forward.
Of course, these 1:1 tactics won’t work if you’re trying to scale ABM beyond a handful of high-value accounts. There’s not a single marketing or sales team out there that has the capacity to go over account-specific insights every month for tens of thousands of accounts. If your organization follows more of a 1:MANY model, that’s not necessarily better or worse, but know that there’s a separate set of guidelines for ABM success at scale.
If 1:1 ABM is in your wheelhouse, or it’s something you’re interested in exploring, tune in to episode 8 to watch Andrew explain his 3-step guide.