Account-based marketing tips for small businesses
Account-based marketing is a B2B marketing strategy that focuses on individual businesses for marketing and sales efforts.
To understand account-based marketing and how it works, it’s first important to understand its predecessor: inbound marketing. An inbound marketing strategy consists of the following steps:
- Define your target market
- Segment your target market into discrete categories based on behavior
- Create content that is valuable to these customer segments, and communicates the value of your products or services
- Deliver this content on platforms that will reach your target market segments
While this is an oversimplified explanation of inbound marketing, this is the basic structure of an inbound marketing strategy.
Now imagine if you took the first two steps of this process and instead of focusing on a group of businesses for your target market, you developed content and messaging for individual businesses in the market.
In other words, what would happen if you could identify which businesses would be find the most value in your offerings and generate the most value for your company?
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Account-based marketing strategy calls for treating individual businesses as a “market of one.” This means dedicating resources to researching individual businesses, their decision-makers and what they will find valuable about your business and then crafting content to communicate that value.
Account-based marketing is typically favored by sales companies with thousands of employees that can take the time to properly research the selected high-value target accounts in the marketplace, craft the necessary content and then personally reach out to each business to deliver that messaging in a high-touch sales strategy.
However, account-based marketing can’t replace your overall marketing strategy and should instead support your other marketing efforts. Furthermore, many small businesses don’t have the resources to devote to research that enterprise-level sales firms so.
Here are the top 5 account-based marketing strategies your small business can steal:
1. Seek only the most lucrative opportunities – the biggest takeaway from an account-based marketing approach is to focus on the quality of your leads, rather than the quantity. Generating a huge volume of leads that don’t convert to customers is not effective. You should instead think hard about who your best customers would be and focus your marketing efforts on reaching those businesses, not the masses.
2. Think about the individual – while marketing to an individual business can be resource-prohibitive for a small business, consider this exercise. Find your best 2 or 3 existing customers. Why are they your “best” customer? What value do they find in your business? This is the first step in creating an ideal customer profile. Knowing who your ideal customer is can help you streamline your messaging to reach individual business that fit the profile.
3. Get marketing and sales on the same page – if your marketing and sales teams aren’t working together, you are probably leaving money on the table. Account-based marketing strategies call for sales and marketing teams to work together to identify target accounts, develop communications and then reach out to the potential client. Aligning the goals of your marketing and sales teams is a recipe for greater organizational success.
4. Focus on the results and pivot when necessary – one of the most important metrics to measure in your marketing strategy is ROI or return on investment. How much money are you spending on marketing and how much revenue are those dollars generating? 85% of businesses using account-based marketing strategies report that these strategies result in a higher ROI than other approaches. Improving your ROI should be a goal for every business, small or large.
5. Make it personal – even if your small business doesn’t have the resources to implement a true account-based strategy, making your marketing more personal is always a good idea. In fact, of marketing professionals that have implemented personalization in their marketing strategies, 63% reported increased conversion rates, 61% reported an improved customer experience and 53% reported a lift in business results of more than 10%.
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