September 17, 2020 5 min read
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If you’re like 15% of B2B marketers, your eyes are squarely focused on account-based marketing—but you haven’t fully invested in the strategic approach just yet. Account-based marketing, or ABM as it’s commonly known, flips classic marketing on its head, targeting a select number of high-value accounts while utilizing personalized content to generate qualified leads. ABM appeals to B2B companies across a range of industries because, quite frankly, it makes sense. With ABM, your ROI is higher, and both marketing and sales teams are in constant communication about what’s working, what’s not working, and the necessary next steps to achieve your KPIs.
If you’re reading this, though, you’ve probably already done your ABM research. You know how it works, you know why it works, and you know the types of accounts you want to target. There’s no use waiting around anymore; you’re only wasting precious time and resources focusing your efforts elsewhere.
Once you’ve made the decision to execute an account-based marketing strategy—and received the monetary approval from the CFO— your next task is building out an ABM team. Whether it’s a brand new team fully dedicated to account-based marketing or just a new direction for your current marketers and sales executives, there are several types of people you’ll need on your team in order to execute a dynamic, locked-and-loaded ABM campaign.
From creatives to developers, here are the six skill sets your account-based marketing team needs to succeed.
1. Art of the Written Word
B2B copywriters are easy to come by, but ABM copywriters, specifically, require a knack for nailing copy that appeals to a very specific person or audience. They have to know which words, phrases, and general ideas will appeal to a CMO—and they have to be able to alter that message to resonate with a Director of Operations. For example, if you’re trying to engage with a healthcare company in order to sell them your software, your ABM wordsmith should create content focusing on growth and revenue generation for a senior marketer, whereas a high-ranking member of the operations team will be more interested in the implementation of the service. And with ABM, the messaging has to be continuous. The ultimate ABM copywriter has the stamina and creativity to sustain a campaign from the awareness stage all the way through evaluation—and then continue to generate engaging copy as necessary.
2. Graphic Design Expertise
When it comes to designing an ABM campaign, experienced graphic and UX designers are critical. They should feel confident designing e-books, programmatic ads, and even podcast logos; ABM campaign creative assets truly run the gamut. While target accounts consume B2B content on multiple channels—including email marketing, LinkedIn advertising, and even direct mail—the visual messaging should be aligned. Branding guidelines and general awareness of when and where the targets interact with the content are instrumental for the design process.
3. Project Management Proficiency
Organization, organization, organization. While the right ABM software will automate a large portion of the process, a real, live human will keep all parties within the marketing and sales teams on track. Is the creative for the lead nurture email campaign ready and approved to launch? The sales team identified a new lead; what do they now need from the marketing experts? This type of employee can fall on either side of the marketing/sales spectrum, but they’re always well aware of the happenings taking place throughout the entire ABM campaign.
4. Analytical Ingenuity
No questions asked, your ABM team needs someone adept at taking a bird’s eye view of a campaign and aligning it with the granular details. They can spot everything from an account engaging at a higher rate than others to a missed opportunity when it comes to site conversion. The ideal team member with this skill is always pushing ahead and looking to reinvent the B2B marketing wheel. They may have seen another B2B software company’s ABM techniques and feel inspired to go one step further, asking the rest of the team, “How can we do this, but make it our own AND make sure it’s successful?”
5. An Eye for Budgeting
A trait that tends to fall under the “analytical” umbrella, budgeting in ABM focuses on the ever-important ROI. With a more focused strategy, 71% of marketers report they saw a higher ROI compared to previous non-ABM initiatives. But that high ROI isn’t just guaranteed. Your team needs someone, or multiple someones, to pay close attention to where and how the marketing budget is being spent. This type of marketer knows to hold back on PPC spend when an account is in the consideration stage of the sales funnel; the cost of keywords targeted at this stage is ultimately cost-prohibitive. And they’re not afraid to give a nod to a major spend on content marketing if they’re confident in the return.
6. Mastery of Operations
Finally, your team needs an individual with a keen familiarity of Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and whichever ABM reporting platform you’re utilizing. They work behind the scenes to keep your ABM campaign up and running. Question about channel performance? They’ve got your answer—in just a couple of quick backend clicks. Wondering why a particular account is lagging? This person can identify a low-performing campaign and communicate numerical data to help inform the next strategic step.
At the end of the day, account-based marketing is a complete team effort. A successful ABM campaign combines creativity with hard-and-fast numbers, and it seamlessly marries marketing and sales efforts in order to keep your business growing quarter and quarter and year after year.