I’ve always been kind of “meh” on the term account-based marketing (ABM) because it is so frequently misused.
Some vendors try to use the label “ABM” to define a product or a product category — but if you’re truly embracing an account-centric strategy, ABM is way more than a single product or tool. It’s an approach that should permeate every aspect of your marketing and sales efforts.
What is account-based marketing (ABM)?
My definition for ABM is a marketing and sales program designed at penetrating a defined list of target accounts that meet specific criteria.
Steps in running a comprehensive account-based program include:
- Defining what makes a “sweet spot” account
- Identifying / naming specific target accounts
- Finding stakeholders within target accounts
- Building a communication strategy & mix of channels to reach target accounts
- Executing in a way that creates a cohesive experience for your target accounts when they’re exposed to your brand
- Reporting on revenue that is sourced and influenced by ABM efforts
Where the best marketers shine with ABM
What separates the good from the great in ABM is #5 above — executing in a way that creates a cohesive experience for your target accounts when they’re exposed to your brand.
You want the right stakeholders, at the right accounts to receive the right message at the right time… and have the best possible experience on every channel.
This is certainly not an endeavor of the faint of heart. The average marketer uses a whopping 91 cloud services for marketing, and the number of ways a potential buyer can interact with a brand has proliferated dramatically.
Creating a unified experience is worth it, though — and the closer integrated we can make our systems, the better an ABM strategy will perform.
Where conversational ABM enters the picture
Let’s talk about one channel that can be critically important in an ABM mix: Conversational Marketing.
Say you’re running tailored ads, sending personalized email communications, and executing focused 1:1 outreach against your target accounts. Your white hot target account bites on what you’ve been tempting them with, and they come to your website.
A one-size-fits-all chatbot experience would be a missed opportunity — this is your chance to give them the white glove treatment and make an impression.
6 ways to incorporate conversational marketing into ABM
Conversational marketing allows you to identify qualified website visitors and engage them in a real-time sales meeting, led by either sales reps or bots (or both!).
So how should you fold conversational marketing into your larger ABM strategy?
A few ideas:
- Alert sales reps and/or BDRs tied to ABM accounts the second a target account lands on your website
- Greet them by name (Think: “Welcome Dwight! Astrid here from the Acme team. How can I help you & the folks at Dunder Mifflin today?”)
- Shared content tailored by persona, industry, or role in the buying center
- Show personalized prompts that encourage the website visitor to engage
- Route them directly to a human conversation instead of serving a bot experience
- Treat sales & service requests differently and remove clutter for your front line sales reps
Of course, all of these strategies depend on data and having your conversational marketing platform closely integrated with Pardot/Salesforce. We’re big fans of Qualified, a company who has developed its product on the Salesforce platform to allow for this type of seamless integration.
What’s your take on Conversational ABM?
A comprehensive ABM strategy depends on having one clear picture of the entire customer, and then using this to orchestrate a cohesive experience across all of your marketing and sales touch points. Conversational marketing, when done right, can complement this strategy in a big way.
How have you incorporated conversational marketing into your ABM approach? Where have you seen some major wins? Any hiccups or lessons learned? Let us know in the comments!