Q4 for B2B marketers is still the time when spending amps up to tap into remaining budget. To take advantage of that opportunity and sail into 2022 with a well-oiled machine, B2B marketers should look over their account-based marketing (ABM) approach to see what needs a tune-up.
Nearly every B2B marketer in the US uses ABM tactics to market to prospects and customers. But that doesn't mean ABM is easy, or that all companies have a fully mature ABM operation.
The top ABM challenges facing marketers—after lack of resources—are poor alignment between Marketing and Sales, difficulty developing target account personas, and difficulty predicting who is most likely to buy, Demand Gen Report recently noted.
Although the only solution for a lack of resources is a bigger budget, marketers do not need a bigger budget before they can make major improvements to their ABM performance. Rather, marketers simply need to fine-tune their current approach to improve insights, communication, and accuracy.
Use the following list of tips to get your ABM in shape for Q4 and beyond.
1. Learn from your best customers
Your current best customers are the foundation for what your ABM strategy should follow: the industries they fall in, the size of their employee pool, the job titles involved in the purchasing decision, and the relationship you have built with them.
If 80% of your revenue comes from one particular industry, do a deep dive to find as many companies in that industry as you can, regardless of size, location, etc.
2. Be open to new markets
Although your best customers provide insights that inform your priority list, don't pigeonhole yourself into that primary market. Discover your secondary and tertiary markets, and prospects, too.
Companies will grow, employees will be promoted, and industry lines will sometimes blur. You can build your brand through insightful content and messaging that's placed in the right place at the right time.
3. Time your outreach
Yes, Q4 is a big spending season for some companies, but others have fiscal years that don't match the calendar year.
Look at cyclical spending by customer and industry. Government, education, agriculture—many industries have predictable patterns.
4. Let intent be your guide
Intent is fluid. Prospects and customers start searching for more information seemingly out of nowhere. Monitoring online intent signals can help build you a new ABM file every 10 days or so.
When interest in keywords that relate to your product or services are peaking, your prospects are already (at least) in the research phase of their purchasing journey, and it makes the story you want to tell all the more relevant.
5. Do some competitive research
Learn about your competitors to inform your own expansion and prioritization. Perhaps they have a few clients that are starting to search for a new option. They may have bulked up their sales teams in new markets, or gained significant presence in hot markets where you have typically been absent.
By moving in on their turf, you could gain new business.
6. Rethink sales territories
It's easy to break up sales territories by region, but that's not always the most effective strategy. Some salespeople really know a certain industry inside and out, or they might be able to crack open another branch of the same company in a different city due to their network.
Consider reorganizing sellers with the biggest opportunities outside of their home turf.
7. Feed your account team
If your teams of sales development or business development reps can digest and work up to 5K leads a month but your ABM list is limited and allows for only 3K leads per month to be generated, then chances are you are underutilizing your outbound SDR/BDR teams. You may either need a bigger list, or you may need to refresh your list more frequently.
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Account-based marketing is widespread because it really works. It takes commitment and a bit of sleuthing, but there's almost always a fresh opportunity to be had when you rethink your approach.
After an ABM strategy tune-up, even the most resource-strapped marketers should be in good shape for the final push through Q4.
More Resources on ABM Strategy
Account-Based Marketing: A Key B2B Marketing Strategy
Next Generation Account-Based Marketing Strategy: Moving Beyond the Account to the Individual Stakeholder
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