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Have you ever received a marketing email about a product you already purchased? Or had to answer the same questions three times on a website before speaking to someone about a problem?

As a customer, it feels incredibly frustrating.

And yet many companies treat their leads that way: Each one is just another name on the list, worthy of sending an ad-hoc email to, but not worthy of receiving individual care and attention.

The result is a sales process that comes across as lazy and ineffective. But if you have only a small sales team and hundreds of leads to contact, an impersonalized approach might seem your only option.

Enter ABM.

Why Use account-based marketing?

Account-based marketing is nothing new. Marketing professionals long ago realized that their targets are entire accounts consisting of multiple stakeholders and contacts, not just individual prospects. That's not to say, however, that the people in buying committees at those accounts don't want their individual needs addressed.

ABM is more effective because each targeted contact at an account is treated with individual care and attention. The salesperson can speak to the lead's unique wants and needs and tailor the sales process to focus on those. Because of that, ABM usually has a high success rate, and thus a higher ROI.

When you use ABM, you're targeting the best, most relevant leads at the most relevant account. They're probably already looking for a vendor like you; that's why, when done right, ABM can lead to some of the most profitable deals.

There's just one drawback: the nature of ABM means that it's resource-intensive. It takes a lot of time and effort for a salesperson to learn about each stakeholder at each company and build a meaningful relationship.

So how is a rapidly scaling company supposed to keep up when it has finite resources? With ABM automation.

Through workflows, segmentation, personalization, and reporting, ABM automation lets you give each target account the attention it deserves without sacrificing overall productivity.

How to Automate Your ABM Efforts

1. Use workflows

ABM is traditionally a one-to-one process, and it requires a lot of manual, personalized effort from marketers and salespeople. But there are always opportunities to streamline your processes and make them more efficient!

Start by mapping out your buyer's journey from a new lead to a loyal customer and look for opportunities to introduce automation.

That can be particularly helpful for the first few interactions with a new lead. For example, after leads take a certain action (such as downloading a resource), you can automatically send nurturing emails that incorporate the information they provided when filling out your sign-up form. Similarly, if a lead views your pricing page, you could send a notification to the assigned salesperson that indicates it's a good time to call.

When the right workflows are in place, leads are always contacted at the exact right moment and feel like they're getting personalized attention... without somebody having to monitor and trigger those actions.

2. Segment and manage your leads

A huge part of staying on top of ABM efforts is managing each lead and balancing the needs of individual accounts.

Using ABM automation, you have access to tools that will automatically tag, segment, and score your leads based on the criteria that matter most to your business, whether that's demographics, online behavior, or something else.

That segmentation has to happen in real-time as salespeople discover the right contacts and start converting those target companies.

Automatic tagging makes it easy to sort, prioritize, and keep an eye on leads. Salespeople will always know which accounts need attention and can use the collected data to increase their likelihood of success by contacting each lead at the right time with the right method.

3. Personalize content

Treating prospects as individual buyers requires a lot of personalized marketing content. Everything about their interactions with you, from the emails they receive to the copy they read on your website, should be tailored as much as possible to their unique situation.

Once again: ABM automation can provide that level of personal attention without requiring too much time-consuming manual effort.

ABM automation tools can adapt emails, ads, and even landing pages to an individual client. They will pull any data they can, including prospects' location, their previous interactions with your company, and their knowledge about your brand. The tools then use that data to display custom messaging or adjust a section of the website.

You're still creating content on a large scale, but customers will feel as though it was designed just for them.

4. Monitor your progress

No sales process is complete without measuring and monitoring your performance. Which accounts closed, which were lost, and what were the factors that contributed in each case?

It's easier than ever to improve sales performance with automatic reports and dashboards. When data is pulled in and displayed in an easy-to-understand way, your team can check on its progress at any time. Your team members will spend less time creating reports and more time analyzing them for opportunities, so they'll be able to make more meaningful improvements over time.

Popular ABM Automation Tools

As ABM automation becomes more common, an increasing number of great tools are available for your efforts:

  • HubSpot. HubSpot is a full CRM that can be used by Sales, Marketing, Operations, and more. It offers drag-and-drop workflows that can be customized with code, one of the most powerful lead databases, and smart content that adapts to individual users.
  • Marketo Engage. Marketo Engage is a marketing automation platform designed to simplify the customer journey. This platform specializes in automation and uses AI to concentrate your efforts. All your ABM efforts can take place within one app.
  • LeanData. LeanData offers Salesforce-native products for Marketing, Operations, and most of all, Sales. Its platform enables lead matching and gives sales teams a holistic view of each account that it can act on to achieve success.

Of course, those are just a sampling of the countless tools out there. Consider your own business needs and conduct thorough research before choosing an ABM automation tool.

Using an ABM strategy is almost certain to increase your close rate and generate a higher ROI. But, if done incorrectly, it can become a huge burden on your team.

Giving each lead the individual attention it needs without making a significant increase in resources is possible with ABM automation.

More Resources on ABM Automation

Three Account-Based Tools That B2B Companies Need Now to Lift Revenues

Marketing Automation: Seven Machine-Learning Use Cases

ABM: Balancing Technology and a Human Touch to Maximize Sales Success

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How ABM Automation Can Change Your Sales Process Forever

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image of Andrea Moxham

Andrea Moxham is the CEO and founder of Horseshoe & Co, an inbound marketing agency.

LinkedIn: Andrea Moxham