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How to Use the Six ABM Processes to Align Sales and Marketing and Drive Real Results

by Jon Miller  |  
November 21, 2016
  |  2,185 views

Account-based marketing (ABM) addresses the biggest problem faced by B2B marketers in the last decade: Traditional strategies focus on high-velocity, low-value deals, and not enough on the major accounts.

ABM is built on six processes that flip the focus from generating leads to courting the companies you want to do business with.

ABM isn't a quick fix: It takes patience and a long-term commitment. But you can drive real results by effectively using the six processes:

  1. Selecting accounts
  2. Discovering contacts
  3. Developing insights
  4. Generating account-relevant content
  5. Delivering account-specific interactions
  6. Orchestrating account-focused plays

1. Select accounts: Get Sales and Marketing Together from the start

Selecting your target accounts is the most important step in any ABM program. An effective plan will focus on a limited number of accounts; if you choose unwisely, you'll be wasting time and resources on accounts that don't amount to anything.


How to do it

Start by creating a profile of your ideal client, based on past business experiences, business compatibility, a growing market, and committed account managers. You can use a combination of analytics—such as firmographics, technographics, and intent data—and old-fashioned gut instinct to make your selections.

Depending on the number of accounts you want to target, prioritize them into tiers that range from one-to-one campaigns to industry-specific campaigns. This process is as much an art as it is a science.


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Jon Miller is the CEO and a co-founder of account-based marketing and sales software provider Engagio, and formerly VP of marketing and a co-founder of marketing automation provider Marketo.

LinkedIn: Jon Miller

Twitter: @jonmiller

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  • by Peter Altschuler Mon Nov 21, 2016 via web

    I love these "born yesterday" insights. They treat the subject as if it's brand spankin' new and sprang, fully-formed, from some contemporary source.

    Xerox was doing this as far back as the '70s (and possibly earlier), and I used the same principles and practices in what was called Key Account Strategies in the '80s and '90s. Yet my father-in-law, who worked as a traveling salesman and served as a director of his industry's organization, coordinated his efforts with those of his marketing colleagues to win business from the most promising and potentially profitable accounts... in the '50s.

    Software will, certainly, streamline and track the process, but the concept itself has been around for a very long time.

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