picture of the abm playbook

The Fundamentals of ABM: From Zero to Hero

You’re focused on maximizing your capabilities as a business. To do that, you need to implement flexible strategies that can change alongside your company as it scales or pivots. And to do that effectively, you need a playbook. A playbook will give you the structure you need to put best practices into place, yet have the flexibility you require to remain in lockstep with changing company priorities, market conditions, and client expectations.

Account-based marketing (ABM) is exploding in popularity across B2B businesses. In fact, according to HubSpot and Salesforce, 92% of marketers in B2B leverage ABM. However, it can be overwhelming to get familiar with, whether you’re new to the practice or simply trying to get it right. For example, when you implement ABM, it’s critical to ensure you’re being selective and targeting the right leads that are ready, willing, and able to sign on the dotted line.. But how do you separate those accounts from everybody else?

ABM is a tactic designed to increase sales success. However, there are a few key factors that must be in place to streamline the process. So today, we’ll give you the fundamentals to consider, in the form of a playbook, to help you focus and optimize your strategy so that ABM can grow with you as your priorities change and your business scales.

The ABM Fundamentals Playbook

What if we told you you could build a strategy that targets your top 100 in-market accounts and convert up to 20% of opportunities? Propensity has created a process called Always-On ABM to help automate the ABM process and make it easier to manage campaigns at a regular cadence while dramatically increasing conversion rates. To start, it’s important to get right down into the fundamentals of ABM

Whether you’re new to ABM or looking to branch into a new vertical, the ABM Fundamentals can help you complete your first end-to-end ABM campaign and transform your ABM into a long-term strategy for growth. 

The ABM Fundamentals are guided by the five key steps of our Always-On ABM process to help you launch, execute, and measure your latest ABM campaign. Moving forward, you can add new cohorts, continue to hone your messaging and strategy, and ensure you never miss another growth opportunity.

Step 1: Identify Your Top In-Market Accounts

The first step of the ABM Fundamentals sets your campaign up for success. Each week, you’ll automatically receive your top 100 in-market accounts with defined audience profiles. This reveals which accounts are the best fit to target. After you identify these accounts, the focus pivots to enriching them. 

This enrichment is powered by pinpointing different types of data (including integrated intent data and firmographic data) to start effectively targeting those accounts. Once you’ve identified your top in-market accounts, you can begin prioritizing them for outreach during the next steps of your ABM campaign. Prioritization will be based on account scoring that’s built exclusively around the data in your CRM to help you optimize your marketing outreach.

Step 2: Actively Market to Target Accounts

Now, it’s time to run your ABM campaign! At this point, you’ll begin to introduce your company to your target audience. During execution, you will launch your two-week omnichannel marketing campaign across paid media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google. As you actively market, you can map engagement at the account level to flag when accounts are qualified and ready for sales outreach. 

Actively marketing to your top 100 accounts, rather than casting a wide net across non-priority accounts ensures you are:

  • Focusing efforts. This targeted approach enables your team to tailor their messaging, content, and strategies specifically to these accounts' needs, pain points, and preferences, resulting in more relevant and impactful marketing campaigns.
  • Aligning with sales objectives. By aligning marketing activities with sales objectives and priorities, you are ensuring that marketing efforts are directly contributing to revenue generation, pipeline growth, and business success.
  • Increasing conversion rates. By focusing on accounts with a higher likelihood to convert, you’ll be maximizing the effectiveness of campaigns, resulting in more qualified leads, shorter sales cycles, and higher conversion rates.

Gaining better account insights. By closely monitoring interactions, engagement metrics, and feedback from target accounts, you can continuously refine your strategy, messaging, and offering to meet customer needs and drive growth.

Step 3: Handoff to Sales for Outreach

After your marketing team finishes the marketing warm-up, it’s time for sales to leap into action. Once you’ve qualified the lead by following engagement signals, your sales team can take over to run two to four-week sales cadences with automated outreach across email, direct mail, and LinkedIn. This will bolster your presence and get your audience familiar with your brand and offering.
The marketing-to-sales handoff is fundamental to your ABM strategy. The seamless, qualified handoff allows sales to reach out to contacts that are up to 5 times more likely to engage because they’ve been properly warmed up and are now considered marketing qualified accounts (MQAs).

Step 4: Measure Results

You’ve identified your target accounts, enriched them, and successfully launched your ABM campaign. Now, it’s imperative to prove your campaign’s ROI. To attach insights to your efforts,  it’s time to schedule regularly running reports. These showcase the value behind your campaign and reveal what’s working so you can continue to fine-tune your approach with every new cohort. 

Measure results using captured data throughout your ABM pipeline. Be sure to monitor for specific performance metrics such as:

  • Account Engagement Score. This measures the overall engagement level of target accounts with your marketing campaigns and content. It can include metrics such as website visits, email opens and clicks, content downloads, webinar attendance, and social media interactions.
  • Account Conversion Rate. This KPI provides insight into the effectiveness of the ABM campaign in driving account-level conversions and revenue. It measures the percentage of target accounts that have progressed through the sales funnel and converted into paying customers. 
  • Deal Velocity. The average time it takes for target accounts to move through the sales funnel (from initial engagement to closed-won opportunity) can reveal the effectiveness of your ABM campaign. Faster deal velocity indicates higher efficiency and effectiveness in converting target accounts into customers.
  • The MQA/SQA Ratio. The ratio of marketing-qualified accounts (MQAs) to sales-qualified accounts (SQAs) within the target account list will help you measure the alignment between marketing and sales in identifying and prioritizing high-potential accounts.

The overall return on investment (ROI) generated by your ABM campaign will be reflected in the ratio of the campaign's revenue or pipeline contribution to its cost. This KPI provides a holistic view of the campaign's financial performance and business impact.

Step 5: Optimize Signals & Attribution

By following KPIs and comparing cohorts, you can uncover insights into your ABM campaign’s approach and fine-tune aspects of it in order to achieve up to 20% new opportunity creation.

Wrap up your campaign with recommended performance optimization of your in-market account lists. With optimized signals, you’ll be able to effectively measure attribution and decide what to do next. Tools like real-time scorecards can help here. These scorecards can reveal what’s resonating…and what isn’t. This final phase helps your business solidify future ABM strategies to optimize your next ABM program accordingly. By validating key performance indicators and putting lessons learned into practice, you’ll be able to improve pipeline velocity to achieve the fastest possible path to revenue and growth

Continue Your Journey With ABM

Once you’ve made it through the fundamentals of ABM using Always-On ABM, you have a choice to make. Do you want to continue attempting to manually run your next ABM campaign, or do you want to automate the process to speed up results and help optimize future outreach?  Become a self-made ABM pro by leveraging Propensity’s ABM technology and sit back as your sales pipeline expands with rich, new in-market opportunities. 

Don’t forget: Propensity offers customers the ability to connect with seasoned   ABM experts. From our 24/7 online live chat functionality to your very own customer success representative, our goal is to put you in the hands of ABM specialists who will work with you to achieve 5 to 7 times more opportunity creation with future ABM campaigns. 

A successful future with ABM is attainable. Are you ready to take the next step? Take our in-market account data assessment to get your top 100 in-market accounts and get on a faster path to revenue.