How to Run an Entire ABM Strategy from Inside Outlook

Account Based Marketing

80% of B2B marketers either have an ABM strategy in place or are planning to launch one in the near future, according to an ABM Benchmark Survey Report. That means if you’re not considering ABM as an option, you’ll be competing against businesses who are more-informed and better-equipped. You’ll be fishing with a net, while everyone else has a spear.

Most marketers avoid the switch because it can mean building up an entire Martech stack with expensive tools that help with lead gen, advanced targeting, and account nurturing. It’s a hefty bill to pay all at once.

But it’s the strategy, not the tools, that make ABM successful. It’s knowing how to leverage the data you already have to improve your lead targeting. It’s running experiments to see how you can get your product in front of all the influencers, end-users, and decision-makers involved in each account. And it’s about finding a repeatable, scalable process that you can tweak and improve over time.

Investing in a ton of software before you know how to make use of it is a waste of time and money.

Instead of going all-in, start small. Start the switch by simply improving your process within a tool you’re already using— Microsoft Outlook. Thanks to add-ins and extensions, you can start developing an ABM strategy for your specific target audience right within your inbox. Then, after you gain some experience, you can start expanding to other tools.

Here’s how you can run an entire ABM strategy from inside Outlook.

1. Set and Share Your ABM Goals

There are a few different approaches to ABM. Teriminus has broken it down into three different types:

– 1:1 ABM(1-10 accounts total) in which one account manager is responsible for an extremely customized marketing plan for a huge enterprise account.

– ABM Lite (11-100 accounts total) in which account managers come up with marketing plans based on a few specific ideal customer profiles (ICP). There might be several accounts they’re targeting of a similar type, based on industry size, vertical, etc.

– Programmatic ABM (101+ accounts total) where account managers have more ICPs, so they have dozens of tactics that they employ for each different type of customer.

Moving from top to bottom, the ABM approach goes from highly-personal to less-personal, from strategic to tactical.

The approach that’s right for you depends on your goals. If you’re looking to target enterprise as a new vertical, for instance, you might choose to move to 1:1 ABM. If you’re simply trying to expand into a new market, you might choose ABM Lite or Programmatic ABM.

So before putting together your strategy, write down your teams’ ABM goals and share them with the team. You can use Evernote’s Outlook add-in to create a list that you can share and collaborate on with your colleagues.

Evernote_ABM

ABM is a means to end. You should have a concrete goal that you can work towards in this transition—  so that your team can see the tangible benefits of the switch.

2. Prospect Based on Your Existing Customers

Once you’ve aligned on an ABM goal, you’ll want to create one or several ICPs based on the shared characteristics of the top 20% of your customer base (or whatever percent brings in the majority of your revenue). To get a sense of your customer personas, you’ll need to learn:

– their industry and how they fit in (size of the company, revenue, their buyer personas, etc)

– their internal structure (flat vs. hierarchical, top-down v. bottom-up)

– the problems the company faces on a daily basis (even the ones that don’t affect you)

– how your product solves their problems

– why they chose your product over the competitions

Try to avoid guessing at any of these answers. Some can be learned through research, but for the majority of answers, you’ll need to set up interviews or conduct surveys.

Once you have a clear idea of your ICP, you can start building your list. You can use Clearbit’s add-in to get a hold of the name and contact information of people who are similar to your highest value customers.

You can use Clearbit to search a domain and get a list of people, their roles, and their email addresses. Alternatively, if you don’t have a domain name, you can perform a search based on company details, such as industry, size, location, or technologies that they use (perhaps many of your customers are using your product in tandem with another).

With Clearbit, you won’t have to dig through LinkedIn or Google to find the emails or company details that help you determine whether each lead is the best possible fit for your product.

You can use Clearbit to search a domain and get a list of people, their roles, and their email addresses. Alternatively, if you don’t have a domain name, you can perform a search based on company details, such as industry, size, location, or technologies that they use (perhaps many of your customers are using your product in tandem with another).

With Clearbit, you won’t have to dig through LinkedIn or Google to find the emails or company details that help you determine whether each lead is the best possible fit for your product.

3. Scale Your Personalized Outreach

Once you’ve built your list, you’re ready to reach out. Unlike traditional cold emails, each email has to be extremely personal, matching the specific business’s problems with your product’s solutions. The emails you send have to read as consultations rather than marketing emails that highlight generic bells and whistles.

Unfortunately, that means you can’t copy and paste the same cold email to every lead. You have to create tailored emails based on everything you’ve learned about the company and any past interactions you’ve had with them. To do this efficiently, you can segment your list and create templates with Smart Template for each type of customer.

Smart Template lets you save, categorize, and search templates in a side panel alongside the email you’re drafting. That way you don’t have to start from scratch every time you write an email—even if it is highly personal.

4. Fill in Gaps about Key Decision Makers

ABM is account-centric, not person-centric. This means that sales reps aren’t reaching out to just one person, they’re targeting several people: the end-users, the influencers, and the people with the credit cards. By targeting every person that could be involved in the decision-making process, you increase your chances of getting through to someone.

But while you can do your best to get as many emails as possible, it’s often difficult to tell from the outside who the key decision makers are. Instead of guessing, use a tracking tool to see who’s looking at your email and how they’re interacting with it.

Attach add-in lets you see:

– Who’s opening your email

– What documents they open

– How long they view each document

– Who they share it with

This extension gives you a glimpse into the inner workings of your prospect. You’ll instantly know who the key decision makers are, so you can reach out to them directly.

5. Consider an All-in-One ABM Solution

Once you’ve tested the ABM waters in Outlook, you might consider making the full move to a more robust ABM solution. Folloze has a suite of products, built specifically for sales teams who have an ABM strategy. It’s also still accessible through an Outlook plugin so you don’t have to part with the system you’ve already set up in your inbox.

Folloze offers:

– Drip campaigns that auto-personalize based on the account type

– Dynamically-personalized content for websites

– Alerts when a client is viewing your email or attachments

– Analytics on the performance of your various distribution methods

All of these solutions can help your reps get more done in less time, introducing the possibility of scaling to the ABM model.

Only Fools Rush In

Search “ABM strategy” in Google and 546K results come up, with at least 8 pages of articles written in the past year. Software that bridges automation and personalization has improved a sales model that has been around for the past 50 years, and many marketers are quick to jump on this opportunity.

But most marketers are doing it wrong. They are quick to adopt tools that dynamically insert catch-phrases and names, but don’t build out a real ABM strategy where they fill the pipeline with high-quality leads that convert into high LTV customers.

Instead, start with a process that doesn’t scale. Use Outlook add-ins to find the best leads for your company and move them along the pipeline. See what works and what doesn’t, and once you’ve developed a strategy, you can start looking at tools built for scale.

Also Read:  4 Reasons Your Business Needs Predictive Selling

 

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