Account Based Marketing - A Step by Step Strategy to Landing Large Accounts

Account-based Marketing (ABM) is an achievable strategy for scouting for and reaching out to hyper-relevant accounts you’d like to work with.

This form of outbound marketing ensures you can build relationships ideal for your business and see greater ROI. 

ABM differs from the traditional “numbers game” outreach method because ABM is less about quantity and more about quality. Old-school outreach messages are not relevant to the recipient which can come off—or worse, be marked as—spam, and have a higher chance of ending up in the trash. But if you can make your message relevant and personalized, your chances of getting a response are much higher. To put the ABM vs Non ABM approach simply: ABM is like fishing with a spear instead of a net.

In this guide, we’ll show you how ABM works in three phases: Find, Connect, Sell. This will help you produce relevant and tailored messages and gain valuable customers without expensive software subscriptions or account-scraping tools.

 

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Step 1: Find the Accounts

First, decide who your Target Customer is; i.e., the industries or types of companies that are the right target accounts for you. Aim high--around 100 of these prospective clients.

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You can start with an internal audit of existing customers/deals to see if there are any commonalities. For example, types of companies, company size, revenues, etc, that make up your active deals. This information can help you shape the criteria on your search for new accounts to contact. 

Now you’ll want to get contact information from key accounts. To do so, you need to decide which job role is most likely to be a part of the buying committee--that is, who holds the budget, who is able to sign off on your business, etc. For example, let’s say architects are your target market, here’s how that’d look:

Head to an outreach tool such as Rocketreach.co. It gives quick access to Linkedin titles, email addresses, and brief employment history, based on criteria.

Search by location: i.e., Singapore

Search by Job title: in this example, architectural designers yield decent results.

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Gather useful information  

Now that you have a list of prospects, it is time to start organizing them on file. In the above example, simply click “Get Contact Info” when you’ve found someone you want to get in touch with. You can also search for specific names on LinkedIn and within their company website to locate contact points.

Gather the names, email addresses, and questions they have asked in online communities or on LinkedIn and toss all this info into a spreadsheet. 

Let’s take a look at one of the Rocketreach contacts that we can add to our spreadsheet, Raine Chong.

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We see that Raine works at RSP and we have his company info here. Let’s dig deeper so we can tier the contact information we have. 

A quick Google search, switching to the “news” tab of the platform, shows us relevant successes and important changes in the company that you can use in your message when you connect with them (more on that below). 

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Rank your prospects

Once you have a list of prospects, it is time to rank them. It is sort of like the sales version of hot or not.

Within each company, which contact feels the most attainable? You can help sort your leads by asking the following questions:

  • Did a Senior VP share one of your blog posts on social media?
  • Is this person active on LinkedIn and more likely to respond to your outreach?
  • Do you have a mutual connection to help you slide into their inbox?
  • Were they recently in the news or featured in an online magazine?

If their trail is hot, they should be the focus of your first efforts. 

Step 2: Connect

Once you know who your prospects are, it is time to woo them. 

This is the true heart of ABM— creating personalized content. The perfect message, as illustrated below, has all three elements of relevance: right person, right message, at the right time. ABM excels at two of these elements: person and message. 

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You’ve identified the right person in step one (“find”) and now it’s time to craft the right message. 

The easy part: personalize the email by name, by the company and by some piece of information relevant to them. In our architecture example above, we already saw the company, RSP Architecture, in the news, and can leverage that as a talking point. 

Next, a bit tougher: personalized content. 

This content may be in the form of blog posts, emails, ads, white papers, in terms of digital marketing or it may be selling your relevant service to them. The main purpose is to address struggles that a specific company faces or a specific block in their path to converting.

LMCS, a company that sells surveillance camera systems to businesses, for example, used account-based marketing to contact 75 companies, book 14 appointments, and send 12 offers. Here how they did it: 

  • Collected visitor information from Leadfeeder to gather leads 
  • Visited the lead's website to determine if the lead was a potential customer or not
  • Added potential leads to the appropriate campaign in their CRM
  • Gathered contact information from the promising lead
  • Personalized the emails based on the information gathered
  • Delivered content through targeted email campaigns and followed-up with a phone call within one day of sending their message

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4 parts of a great outreach email for connecting with your prospects:

1. The subject line

Subject lines are the gateway to email prospecting. They lure the reader to open and read the email. Fail here and the best-crafted email in the world will never get read. Here are some practical tips to help you craft compelling subject lines:

2. The opening

So you earned the open – now you’ve got maybe 7 seconds to capture their full attention. A few tips:

- Start with them

- Be personal (again)

- Don’t apologize

3. The body

Right after your killer opening, you need to do two things: prove that you did your homework and show them why they should stay with you.

- Use your insight

- Be excited

- Don’t brag

4. The call-to-action

Every email needs to ask the prospect to do something.

- Make it clear

- Don’t ask for too much

- Guidelines instead of templates

In our architecture example, we can customize the content in two ways: 1) offering an intro to our service to solve a problem (furnishing newly constructed buildings) and 2) mentioning his company in the news.

Here is an example of an email you can send:

Hi Raine,

I caught a recent article on Prestige Magazine featuring RSP Architects, discussing office architecture and floor plan changes in the foreseeable “new normal.” I figured any architect who represents RSP has got to understand future concepts, luxury design and innovation. That’s why I wanted to reach out to you!

 

I’m Name, and I’m the Owner of Better Design Co. I work with top architects who need quality furniture to display and fill their finished works—specifically offices, homes and hotels. 

Do you have 5 minutes to share your current project with me so I could aptly and elegantly give furnishing suggestions? And if you like it, well, we can chat more then!

Kind regards,

 

Hi [name],

[Compliment them on their recent accomplishment or published news]. [Tie to why you wanted to speak to this person specifically; compliment them].

[Introduce yourself and introduce your offer; show how you have the solution to their specific, relevant problem]

[CTA: Ask them for a demo/phone call/view your portfolio]

3) Sell

The key to successfully landing high-quality accounts is to personalize content to those accounts — this will help you elevate brand awareness and maximize relevance among audience members.

So when you are sending customized content for each account, you’ll tackle their pain points--like the need to beautifully furnish a room--clearly and without apologies. Using information you garnered in your research phase is how you can create assets that will get accounts to want to sign on with you. 

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In the case of emails, a stronger follow-up (first, the introductory email followed by a piece of tailored content) can higher your chances at landing the sale. Track and measure key data such as engagement, velocity, and revenue, so you can accurately rinse and repeat strategies until you’ve found your perfect ABM method.  

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