Account-based marketing is about targeting my desired customers – not every potential customer in the marketplace. To quote an often-used metaphor: I use the harpoon and fish specifically for fish that fit my "prey pattern".
Account Based Marketing has this approach in common with dating. Imagine the following situation: You are at a party and meet a person who is exactly your type. So you start a flirt with her. In the flirt you find out whether there are further similarities or whether only the appearance of your counterpart corresponds to your taste and you are not compatible character-wise. So you gather more information about your counterpart to find out what makes him or her tick.
If, after flirting, you determine that you are on the same wavelength, you will arrange a first date. If you find that you have nothing in common, you each go your own way. It's the same in ABM – not all customers deserve champagne. That's why you should focus on the target accounts.
Target Accounts: Focus on the most important customers
In account-based marketing, the most important customers are the focus of your attention. This is where ABM differs from inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is all about attracting as many leads as possible (which correspond to the buyer personas).
In contrast, ABM initially focuses on one or a few target accounts or dream accounts.
In account-based marketing, the ideal customer is defined in an Ideal Account Profile (IAP). The purpose of this profile is to determine the right suitability criteria for a desired customer.
– Who is the ideal target customer for my product?
– Which target group do I want to address in the first place?
The top priority in ABM is the account. The contacts within an account come only second.
ABM in practice
Networking with a potential customer or decision maker in a company can be done online these days, such as through a business network like LinkedIn. There, for example, a sales engineer from a healthcare company networks with a doctor who runs his own practice. Due to the common professional interests, both are in a group that is about advancements in medical technology.
Thanks to networking, the doctor now sees the latest posts from the healthcare company regularly in his feed. The company introduces a new device that is interesting for the doctor. So one day the doctor clicks on the link in the post. Downloads the details of the new device on the healthcare company's site. His click on the website is a lead conversion, signaling a potential purchase interest.
The healthcare engineer now continues to monitor this target account. If they are "in the market", i.E. Ready to buy, they will call up further information, studies or use cases. This way, the sales engineer learns more about the needs of his ideal customer, can respond to his questions and establish a dialog. Now, when he enters into direct exchange with him via mail or phone call, the engineer can target the needs of his ideal customer.
Five ways to identify target accounts
Special software for account-based marketing, such as Pedalix, facilitates the search for suitable target accounts. Certain solutions can be used to selectively filter out target accounts that are "in the market" and likely to make a purchase in the near future. ABM tools are targeted and efficient. They save you a lot of time in selecting suitable target accounts.
2. You already have a CRM database. This is rich in untapped potential. Use the data you already have to find potential customers, opportunities or even existing customers who have an interest in a product and a corresponding buying potential.
3. Analysis of the customers of the competition
There are special tools to analyze the customers of the competition. You can also get a good overview in LinkedIn groups, review sites or other online communities.
4. Analysis of your clients' competition
Your customers' competition also holds potential for you to find new Target Accounts. Go through the accounts of your best customers and look in their contacts for profiles from their competition that need your solution to their problem. Then you can contact these accounts and present them with the benefits of your product that they won't find with the competition.
5. Monitor new job postings
Especially if you are selling products in an industry that is still quite new, you should keep an eye on which new companies are entering the market in this area. Subscribe to the job postings of large job boards by having the new listings sent to you for your buyers' job titles and other relevant keywords. This is how you find out right away when there is a new business in the market that has a need for your product.
How many desirable customers in parallel?
With ABM it depends on the size of the target group. Do you want to focus on a single target account or target an entire customer segment? If you are targeting an entire customer segment, how big is that segment?? If it is a matter of major customers, the 1:1 method is costly but promising.
If you get involved with too many Target accounts, you run the risk of getting bogged down. It makes more sense to focus on a few but promising desired customers. The 20-80 rule applies here: with 20% of the accounts you usually achieve 80% of your sales.
Conclusion: take the time to get to know your contacts and also break up sometimes
Account-based marketing is about looking specifically for target accounts that match your own Ideal Account Profile as closely as possible. Using various tools and tricks, you can find potential customers on the Internet, in social networks or even in your own databases. Once a contact is "in the market", i.E. Ready to buy, offer them the assistance they need to decide to buy your product. In the ABM you define your desired customer exactly. Put your focus on him. Here, class applies instead of mass. You focus on a few accounts, but they are as promising as possible, instead of trying to convince God and the world about your product.
For this you define in advance your desired criteria to your counterpart and find out in a first flirt whether you are both compatible. If the chemistry is right, it comes to a date. If the first date goes well, a second date will occur, etc. However, if you notice from the beginning or at an early stage that there are irreconcilable differences between you, you will most likely stop dating.