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Perfect for Small B2B Teams: 3 Ways ABM Builds and Optimizes Actionable, Goal-Oriented Sales Funnels

by Michael O'Mara, on Jan 25, 2022 11:10:01 AM

Growing is hard. Sometimes, you grow in unexpected ways. Maybe that’s fine and everything works. But what if your patchwork plan doesn’t pan out exactly how you thought? What happened? What did you do wrong? And more importantly, how could you have grown smarter?

In this blog, we’ll break down how you can grow smarter by using account-based marketing, or ABM. This isn’t a massive departure from the inbound marketing you know, but rather a streamlined approach that leverages existing inbound concepts.

With ABM, you can:

  • Target the right audience 
  • Speak to your audience earlier in the sales funnel
  • Optimize your strategy and expand further 

Let’s get to it.

What is ABM? A quick overview

ABM is B2B marketing in which marketing, sales, and leadership teams work together to target accounts and convert them into meaningful clients. Instead of siloing departments, ABM builds a path to work together and reach the same end goal. 

ABM is perfect for small teams that need to develop a sales funnel or optimize their existing funnel. This is where planning, systems development, and scaling come into play. You must have a rock-solid system of work and communication before considering ABM. Without it, you’ll encounter significant friction and frustration. 

Now that you understand what ABM is and what you need to get started, here’s how it can help:

  • Expanded teamwork, support, and accountability across marketing and sales. The goal is customer delight!
  • KPIs are shared and transparent. No nonsense, no hiding. Everything is out in the open for all of your stakeholders to understand and work toward.
  • The tools you need are already identified and in place. No patchwork systems. You’ll be able to automate, personalize, predict, and measure. 
  • Develop your personas and ideal customer profiles faster by targeting specific accounts

Maybe you’re asking, but wait a minute, is this the same thing or different from lead generation-based marketing? Well, yeah. It’s kind of the same. And yet, pretty different. Lead-gen marketing is a perfectly acceptable and functional approach to your marketing efforts. It’s especially a better fit for lower-cost, broader service offerings.

The smartest companies, however, implement a bit of both. It’s important to read the room.  What do you want to do? And what can you realistically achieve? Start there, build a plan, implement, and grow. That’s the ticket! And two more keywords about ABM that you’ll see all over the place: plays and campaigns. ABM plays are goal-oriented plans of action. ABM campaigns are plays combined into one or more strategies with a direct and simple message.

3 ways ABM improves your marketing

1. Developing and understanding your Ideal Client Profile, or ICP

This is not the Insane Clown Posse. I keep thinking that every time I read it, so now you have to as well. Hooray! An ICP defines the company, or type of company, you want to work with. Instead of focusing entirely on a persona, the ICP targets a wider range of companies and industries. This process targets the accounts you want to win and the hurdles that exist between where you are and where you want to be. 

Here’s an incredibly streamlined example of an ICP:

  • B2B company with 25-50 employees, located in the MidSouth region, earning $2 million annually. 

This is a team effort that requires direct input and decision-making from your sales and marketing teams. Now that you have this target in mind, what issues is this ICP facing? What is their core problem that you can solve?  Determine what your ICP needs and understand what you want in working with them. It’s not just a paycheck. It’s a healthy, engaging working relationship! Key tip: work with ICPs that have company and team buy-in.

2. Building an iterative, optimal contact list

It’s time for some contacts. Your ICP is good to go and approved. Now you need to attract your ICPs. This is where we mentioned a mix of strategies, like inbound and lead-gen marketing, can make ABM shine. If you’re using HubSpot, you can really take ABM to the next level. Automation saves time and makes your job easier, which is why HubSpot offers automatic recommendations on your ICP and offers the tools to import that contact list! You can even assign notes and details to your contacts with HubSpot so you can keep track of the people wearing the decision-making hats. 

No contact list means you’re unable to make meaningful progress with your ICP. Your contact list needs to be monitored, reported upon, and optimized over time so that you’re not wasting your time with contacts that will never do business with you.

3. It’s content time

You have the contacts. Now you need the content that speaks to their problems and how your business is the right choice to solve them. That’s where StoryBrand comes in. We’re a StoryBrand agency, which means we know how to develop clear messaging strategies around any content your ICP needs to see. It’s pretty handy, and again another clear example of how utilizing different approaches and strategies within ABM only makes ABM stronger.  

Once your content strategy is in place, you can use HubSpot to create any number of content, like websites, newsletters, or drip campaigns—just to name a few. And lastly, you’ll need to identify your ICP’s preferred channel. Are they video people? Do they enjoy long-form written content? Once you identify your channel, you can begin posting. Then, your sales team can leverage that content in meetings and calls to make more meaningful connections, and eventually, a sale.

Work with Sauce Marketing and build actionable, goal-oriented strategies today!

I already mentioned we’re a StoryBrand agency. But we’re also a HubSpot agency too. That means we know and leverage each side of the marketing coin: We work with you to develop effective messaging and content, then use HubSpot to reach the right personas and ICPs. To put it simply, we align with what you want, discover what’s working, and grow your business’s digital marketing efforts. We know that’s the right approach because we’ve worked with people just like you to make it happen. 

Request a call with one of our certified growth guides and discover how you can grow smarter!

Topics:StrategyHubSpotInbound Marketing