ABM Strategies for Winning Those Big, Attractive Deals: A Three-Tiered Approach

The results are in: SiriusDecisions recently released the State of Account Based Revenue Engine 2019 report—and, once again, ABM is coming in hot!

According to the findings, those companies that are measuring ABM are achieving 99% better engagement with ABM accounts, 80% improved win rates, 73% higher deal sizes, and 91% improved ROI.

Convinced yet that ABM is the real deal?

Good.

Chances are, if you’re not already doing ABM, you’re likely thinking about where you should start.

Unfortunately, that’s not something that can easily be answered in an article. (In fact, it took us an entire book to begin explaining the process: The Clear and Complete Guide to Account Based Marketing, 2nd Edition.) But I wanted to at least outline how we at Engagio tier accounts as well as share some real examples of what an ABM campaign looks like for each tier.

Taking a Three-Tiered Approach for ABM Targeting at Scale

It’s common for companies to pilot ABM with a senior marketer and a handful of strategic accounts to prove the concept of ABM to the company. But when asked to scale the program to 50 or 100 accounts or more, not surprisingly they don’t achieve similarly good results.

Scaling your personalized ABM campaigns is the holy grail. A tiered approach to ABM allows you to scale your efforts, using tools and technology that allow Sales and Marketing teams to automate many tasks they used to do manually, which increases output and drives more results.

A tiered approach enables you to scale your ABM. Here’s what it looks like:

  1. Strategic ABM: One-to-one ABM with a very limited number of accounts worth seven figures (or more) annually
  2. Scale ABM: One-to-few ABM for high-value accounts worth six-figures, grouped into micro-segments
  3. Programmatic ABM: One-to-many ABM for five-figure accounts that are worth some customization and personalization

Advanced Resource Allocation With Account Entitlements

After you’ve adopted a tiered approach to ABM personalization, there is still one thing you must do before going out and executing on your strategy (most organizations overlook this piece): You must define your account entitlements.

In other words, you have to thoroughly answer this question: “What is the right amount of time, money, and resources dedicated to each account in each tier?”

Account entitlements are a framework created by Marketing so it’s clear what level of investment should be and will be made for each tier of accounts—ensuring teams understand how to invest dollars and time appropriately.

Let’s run through how you can apply account entitlements. Here’s a framework for setting them up:

  1. List your resources: Begin by counting all of your resources—how many reps do you have, how much time in a week do they have for prospecting, what’s your budget, etc.?
  2. Set your baseline: Next, start with “best-practices” as your baseline for the number of target accounts per tier.
  3. Document your ABM campaigns: List all of your ABM programs—anything that will cost either the reps’ time or money from your budget.
  4. Input your numbers: Define what you think should be a reasonable output of a specific resource, given the account tier.
  5. Refine your numbers: Now, start playing with the numbers until they add up. This is the tough part, and it will likely require a few sessions with your Sales and Marketing leadership to get right.

Some Real-Life Examples, Along With Results

Strategic ABM: Executive Alignment and Onsite Workshop

For large deals that need a little help to cross the finish line, try sending an executive onsite with your team to give an executive presentation. It can have a major effect on the account’s decision.

An exec from our team accompanied the sales rep onsite at Autodesk, because talking one exec to another can make all the difference. Having your executive walk their team through how they can use your solution for a very specific use case can move the needle and push a deal across the finish line.

  • Stage: bottom of funnel
  • Target: one buying center at Autodesk
  • Play: executive alignment and workshop
  • Results: closed/won deal

Scale ABM: Custom Webpage

When you have a really good direct mail package that works well for a wide range of people but you don’t have the budget or resources to send it to every one of your target accounts, this is where your scale ABM comes into play.

Sendoso will store standard packages and have them ready to send; simply click to ship them out. The contents of these packages could be branded socks, shirts, notebooks, some content, and a handwritten note to the team.

  • Stage: top-of-funnel
  • Target: director-level and above of marketing, marketing operations, or demand gen at Tier 2 accounts
  • Play: Send package and follow up with an email and phone call
  • Results: 19% increase in meetings set

Programmatic ABM: Build Buyer Relationships

The most forward-thinking organizations are using video to stand out from the noise. However, you must utilize personalization in order to get results.

Vidyard customizes content and delivers a video that looks like it’s just for a single prospect, when in reality it’s going out to thousands of accounts.

  • Stage: mid-funnel
  • Target: director of marketing and above at all target accounts
  • Play: once your data is clean and list is segmented, launch your Vidyard video
  • Results: 4.1-fold increase in response rates

Conclusion

Winning major deals in B2B markets is never going to be easy: You’re selling complex solutions into big organizations; no single person can simply pull the trigger on a deal without consulting an interconnected matrix of people, each with his or her own perspectives, problems, and prejudices. On top of that, your competitors are working just as hard as you to win every piece of business, especially the biggest deals with the biggest companies.

However, you’re not simply a victim of these forces. You can take control of your ABM outcomes with concrete, measurable steps that can dramatically increase your chances of winning the biggest, most attractive deals in your market.

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