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More for more: One-to-one ABM at scale

Let’s cut straight to the conclusion: how do you scale an expensive strategy such as one-to-one ABM to get more return, without exponentially increasing your spend?

You do it yourself.

There’s a load of different approaches to ABM, so just think of B2B marketing on a line of targeting: at one end is extremely targeted and personalised, and at the other end, not so much. So at the ‘extremely targeted’ end would be proper ABM (of the one-to-one kind), and at the other end we’ll put ‘spray and pray’ (which, by the way, there’s still value in if you do it right – in some instances, you can be too targeted).

It’s common sense, and there’s little argument, in the fact that well executed and proper ABM delivers tangible and the highest value ROI. However, it’s expensive.

Whilst many organisations can apply ABM of this kind to a handful of key accounts, few, if any, can afford to increase this kind of activity where they can enjoy the high-value ROI at scale.

But you can, if you do it yourself. Or more specifically, have your sales and account management community do it themselves.

If you were to invest a portion of your ABM budget into educating more people to apply ABM thinking in their approach and communications with their customers, by default you increase the application of it to more accounts.

There are four key things to consider:

  1. Incentive

You need to get the sales community on board with the fact that you are asking them to be marketers as well as salespeople. The first thing you need to do is create the communication that demonstrates to them the value to them and their customers of taking this approach (as you do with any ABM activity). And you need to do that through tangible examples and outcomes. But you also need to be clear on what it means they will need to do, and then they need to commit.

  1. Knowledge

You can’t just ask them to communicate in different ways and then expect them to do it. You have to put them through different levels of education and explain how different messages and tactics will have different impacts, and how to find the right mix for their customer. You will need to explain the value of creativity in both the content itself, and the way it looks (so clip art and squeezed imagery won’t do). And they will genuinely need to know how to operate the most accessible channels to them, such as social media, for effective communication and selling, not just sharing.

  1. Tools

They will need tools to use, because they need to be able to do more than just email someone; yet will never be in a position to create a campaign that uses your Eloqua or Marketo platform! Those tools need to fundamentally make the best content available accessible to them; and enable them to put it in front of the customer. Those tools need to have the concept of customer experience built in by design which means simply by using them, they will be getting a better result.

  1. Content

As always, they will need base content to work with. I accept that ABM content should largely be bespoke, but you can apply the 80/20 rule, because 80% of your organisation’s message will be relevant to all customers. It’s always one of the biggest sticking points because asking anyone to work from a blank sheet of paper when it hasn’t really been ‘their world’ never works. So at least give them something to work with.

This type of approach may mean that you are unable to apply all signing, all dancing ABM activities to all of the accounts you had planned to, but will mean that ultimately an ABM strategy is being applied to a much higher number of accounts, but on a one-to-one basis.

Which means the return will be higher.

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