Account-Based Marketing Styles: Which One Works for Your Enterprise?

Standard inbound marketing tactics like marketing automation, social media, lead nurturing and content are perfect for situations when you’re trying to appeal to one decision maker. And if you repeat your tactics, you’re bound to reel in at least some leads. But what about more complex sales within an enterprise? Account-based marketing is the best approach but which style will work best for your business?

Account-Based Marketing Styles

In larger companies, there is typically more than one decision maker. In fact, B2B sales cycles are usually more complex and can last many months due to the number of people involved. So, how do marketers know how to approach enterprise employees to target the appropriate decision-makers? Can they be sure that the right message is landing in front of the right influencer or decision maker in the right channel?


Enter Account-Based Marketing. Companies tap into the skill sets of both sales and marketing pros to build correct targeted accounts and then approach them with appropriate messaging. The key here is to approach clients as company accounts as opposed to contacting only a single prospect to generate a lead. Account-based work includes both decision makers and influencers to land new clients and further penetrate existing ones.


The three styles of Account-Based Marketing

Companies that introduce Account-Based Marketing into their businesses often start off small until the process is adopted and easily managed by internal groups. And as with most things that are successful, company execs want to ramp up the efforts for even more success. That’s all well and good but Account-Based Marketing takes a while to establish. So the route to quicker success is available through different styles of Account-Based Marketing.


Which type of ABM is right for you?

The three styles of Account-Based Marketing

Style #1: One-to-One

One-to-one or strategic Account-Based Marketing is the fundamental method used most often by marketers. One-to-one initiatives target a smaller amount specific individual key accounts—ten or under—via personalised messaging. In this manner, a company’s most valuable accounts are treated as individual markets.


Account teams can build more enduring relationships with the prospects and customers most highly valued because they have the time and opportunities to gain an in-depth understanding of their businesses. In this type of arrangement, a senior marketer can work with just one or a few key sales team members to develop personalised communications for each account. 


The appropriate technology can support marketers with targeted communications, account insight and tracking. There is still a good amount of creativity needed, though, with thought leadership messaging, value propositions and relationship development.


Style #2: One-to-few

One-to-few—sometimes called ABM Lite—applies Account-Based Marketing principles for small account groups in a larger number of accounts. By targeting small groups instead of single individuals, marketers can customise messaging stemming from predictive analytics. This style works best for second-tier named accounts which share some of the same attributes, initiatives and challenges. 


Sales will play a big part in this style and should be able to identify the appropriate accounts to target, which solution points to highlight, which offers to promote and the tailoring of existing content for relevant campaigns.


Technology also comes into play here through the automation of account insight, campaign execution and measurement. This is also a favourable ABM style because it requires fewer resources and less intensive one-on-one engagement. The only downside is that returns may not be as robust as with strategic Account-Based Marketing.


Style #3: One-to-many

In the one-to-many or demand gen hybrid style, marketers can utilise the basic account-based marketing style on a much bigger scale. This method helps marketers communicate with accounts they’re interested in targeting but don’t yet have the budget or staff with customization and personalization. Often these types of accounts are smaller and can run into the thousands to be targeted.


This type of account is also perfect for some outbound tactics in addition to the more typical demand gen tactics. Another way to look at it is calling it Programmatic Account-Based Marketing because marketers use ABM advertising, events and content syndication. This is essentially traditional marketing with targeting on the account level. 


This demand gen hybrid differentiates itself from standard demand gen because instead of scoring leads, marketers can track account level engagement.


These three Account-Based Marketing styles provide more options for marketers to execute and extend the fundamentals of Account-Based Marketing for relevance within their enterprise. More personalisation, faster sales cycles and improved revenue and ROI are the distinct outcomes regardless of the style chosen.

How to drive profit from Account-Based Marketing

There’s a time for spray and pray marketing: For casting your net wide when sharing news in the expectation that a small percentage of recipients will have that ‘aha’ moment. But let’s face it, when the emphasis is on delivering immediate results (and timely opportunities), then the more targeted your activities the better.


Which is, of course, the central promise behind Account-Based Marketing (ABM). With it comes the ability to deliver more meaningful and relevant messages that are tailored to a precise audience. But then you already knew that. What you possibly don’t know so well are the key factors behind a successful ABM programme or the main pitfalls to avoid.


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