A marketing strategy that nets 20 percent larger deal sizes and achieves higher ROI sounds like a pipe dream. But research keeps coming in that shows account-based marketing (ABM) can get you those results. Ninety-two percent of B2B marketers say ABM is a must-have strategy, and 85 percent of the companies doing it say they get higher ROI from ABM than any other marketing strategy they use.
Those results are hard to ignore. As such, the adoption of account-based marketing is gaining steam among B2B companies as more and more marketers realize the power of targeting campaigns to specific companies and leads for better results.
For B2B companies that have high-value products, ABM simply makes sense. The B2B purchasing process is often long, typically involves multiple stakeholders, and thus requires a lot of resources on the seller’s end to finally reach the point of a sale. If every new customer you land will create significant profit, and you traditionally invest a lot of resources into landing each new sale, then focusing on a specific list of high-value, relevant leads makes more sense than aiming for a high quantity of leads.
Ultimately, the goal of ABM is to find relevant leads you know would be valuable to your company and focus your marketing specifically on them. While a lot of sophisticated marketing tactics require expensive technology, one of the great things about ABM is that a powerful tool for accomplishing it is something you already have right at your fingertips: LinkedIn.
The first step in ABM is to identify the companies you want to target. You probably already have a clear picture of what your ideal customer looks like—if you’ve been doing inbound marketing for a while, then your personas have that part covered. Now you need to go out and find the companies that most closely match them.
As you start to build a list of companies that look promising, LinkedIn can help you both fill in details on the companies already on your list and expand the list with similar businesses. A simple search on LinkedIn will bring you to a page that includes information about the company, including:
It also provides a link to the full list of employees, as well as a list of the employees you’re already connected to.
Right off the bat, you can match the information provided against the specifications you’ve identified for your “ideal customer” category. If you know your ideal customers typically have more than 100 employees, then you can quickly rule out the companies that list fewer than that, for example. And for the companies that do match your target accounts, you now have easy access to a list of contacts and their job titles, so you can start deciding which individuals are best to target in your marketing efforts.
In addition, LinkedIn provides a list of similar companies, so you can research and confirm whether you should add them to the list.
Note: That’s what you can do with LinkedIn’s free service. If you invest in LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator product, you’ll get more tools for searching for companies based on factors like industry, size and geography, and get recommendations from the tool based on the accounts you save.
LinkedIn’s advertising options help you target your ads based on several factors, including specific companies by name. That means you can push out sponsored content, inMail and text ads directly to the companies on your list.
Here are all the targeting options LinkedIn Ads offer:
More recently, the platform added an account targeting feature designed for companies doing ABM. You can send LinkedIn a list of target accounts you’ve created and it will match your list to its database of companies to create a specific account segment for your targeting. Within that segment, you can choose to further target your sponsored content and InMail messages to people in particular job titles.
With this option, you can put your inbound marketing skills to use creating messaging tailored to the concerns of each contact and know that it will show up in their LinkedIn feeds or inboxes.
Using LinkedIn’s focused advertising can go a long way toward helping you reach your target customers, but if it doesn’t get you all the way to landing those accounts, you always have one last, old-fashioned technique to try: contacting them directly.
You can contact anyone you’ve already connected with on LinkedIn for free, and LinkedIn Premium allows you to send a certain number of messages to people you’re not already connected with through InMail. Don’t start with a cold pitch, though. Think carefully about the message you can send to start a relationship. What can you say that will provide value to them? Maybe they’d make a great expert to quote in a blog post you’re working on, or your company has recently collected some research in a survey that could be helpful to them in their job.
Account-based marketing may seem like a departure from inbound marketing at first glance, but you can and should bring the same principles that drive inbound to your strategy for ABM. The relevant, useful marketing that’s always the goal of inbound becomes easier to achieve when you know exactly who you’re talking to, and LinkedIn is a powerful tool for understanding your target accounts better and speaking directly with them.
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