The Ultimate Guide to Operationalizing Account-Based Marketing
Grey clock face icon | Minutes to read
minutes to read

The Ultimate Guide to Operationalizing Account-Based Marketing

In the world of B2B marketing, cutting through the noise to reach your most valuable accounts is a challenging endeavor.
Primer team
Updated on
April 25, 2024
Published on
October 2, 2023
Better B2B Targeting: Unlock ROAS
Unlock ROAS in a Сookieless World
Book a demo

It demands a precision-targeted, multi-faceted strategy that combines insightful analytics, compelling content, and innovative technologies. 

Welcome to the world of account-based marketing (ABM), a powerful approach that puts the spotlight on high-value accounts, empowering you with the knowledge and tools to engage them in a highly personalized, impactful way. Follow us on this journey as we delve into defining your ideal customer profile, orchestrating personalized outreach, measuring engagement, and leveraging technology for a successful ABM strategy.

The foundation of any effective ABM strategy is identifying your ideal customer profile. Rather than casting a wide net, ABM-focused B2B marketing strategies zero in on a clearly defined subset of target accounts. The goal is to deeply understand these high-value accounts in order to engage them with highly relevant, personalized outreach.

Defining Your Ideal Customer Profile with Precision Targeting

Begin building your ideal customer profile by analyzing firmographic data such as company size, industry, location, and revenue. 

For your convenience, we’ve provided some free templates for B2B ICPs.

Solidifying a company's Ideal Customer Profile allows you to focus B2B marketing strategies on accounts that fit your customer criteria. For example, you may target mid-market companies in the tech sector based in the US with over $10 million in annual revenue.

Next, factor in technographic data on your target accounts’ tech stack. Identify accounts using solutions that align with your product offering. If you provide a Shopify integration, you can target companies currently using Shopify. This technographic filtering will allow you to reach accounts poised to get value from your solution.

Complete your profile with buyer personas. These should mirror your target accounts' goals and challenges. Proper alignment with your ABM accounts will aid in crafting resonating messages.

With a clear understanding of your ideal customer profile, you can precisely target accounts with the highest potential to buy from you. According to ITSMA, ABM initiatives with tightly defined target account lists achieve deal sizes more than 20% larger compared to B2B marketing strategies with a broad reach. Defining your ideal customer is the first step to cutting through the noise and engaging accounts likely to drive the most value.

Orchestrating Personalized Multi-Channel Outreach in B2B Marketing Strategies

After defining your ideal customer profile, the next step is coordinating tailored outreach campaigns across multiple channels. With account-based marketing, the goal is to break through the noise and engage your target accounts with messaging that speaks directly to their needs.

In multi-channel B2B marketing strategies, you must ensure r personalized outreach at scale. Start by mapping out the various touchpoints for engaging your accounts. Email and LinkedIn are likely to be your workhorse channels, but also consider leveraging Instagram, YouTube, display ads, direct mail, events, and phone campaigns. 

B2B ABM moves may also work for Facebook account activation if you utilize enriched audience data to hone native targeting. In particular, it worked for Air as they got a 34% increase in MQL volume while using Primer to reach their ABM accounts via Facebook.

To try and develop a tailored sequence of touchpoints for each account is likely way too difficult. Instead, see if you can segment your target accounts into large enough groups that you can tailor ad content for independent B2B marketing strategies  by channel. Check out Usergems’ approach on LinkedIn for inspiration. They call out companies by name and speak to their specific business challenges.

Track Target Account Engagement with Marketing Analytics

To determine if your account-based B2B marketing strategies are effective, you need to monitor engagement and activity from your target accounts closely. Marketing analytics gives you the visibility you need into account-level behavior. There are two key techniques to implement:

Intent Data Monitoring

Leverage intent data from reliable sources like G2, 6sense, and Bombora to track when your target accounts are researching topics related to your products. These platforms provide real-time alerts notifying you when specified accounts are researching key terms linked to your offering. This indicates they may be entering a new buying stage, allowing you to quickly respond with relevant, timely outreach when your accounts show increased intent.

For instance, using these data providers, identify specific keywords such as "cloud ERP" that are indicative of early research. Build your B2B marketing strategies around these keywords. When target accounts search these terms, you'll receive timely alerts allowing you to follow up with related content. The aim is to leverage intent data as a mechanism to obtain real-time insights into the activities and inclinations of the accounts that matter most to your business.

Website-to-Account Matching

Many B2B purchases involve multiple decision-makers. To track engagement across an account, use lead-to-account matching. It’s one of the B2B marketing strategies that ties anonymous website visitors back to a company based on IP addresses and other firmographic signals.

This approach is useful for gaining a full view of the buying group, including everyone interacting from an account, even if they aren't filling out forms.

With this technique, engagement from accounts that you may not have in your CRM comes to light. This allows you to nurture the entire buying team with account-based content and outreach.

By using webste-to-account matching providers like Clearbit Reveal, 6sense, Kickfire, and Leadfeeder, you can bring together account engagement data for comprehensive monitoring of real-time activity.

Primer can help you identify and scrape the contact details of decision-makers visiting your website and then add them to your targeted ad lists. Here’s our short video tutorial explaining how it works.

However, it’s important to understand that the website-to-account matching process may not always accurately identify ndividuals. Some people may access your website through shared or public networks, which makes the identification process less accurate. Other times, several businesses might share the same IP address, which may lead to mistaken identities.

Furthermore, this approach in B2B marketing strategies generally doesn't provide exact individual user identification. While the matching process can provide a broad understanding of the companies engaging with your content, it may not always pinpoint the specific individuals from these companies.

Therefore, while it's a useful tool for getting an overall picture, it has limitations in its ability to deliver precise individual-level insights.

Building Account-Based Advertising into Your Tech Stack

To execute effective account-based marketing, your B2B marketing strategies must base technology stack with robust capabilities for targeting and reporting at the account level. When evaluating advertising platforms, look for the following ABM-friendly features:

Account List Uploading

The ability to directly upload your target account list is foundational for account-based B2B marketing strategy. However, merely reaching the account is not enough; you want to reach specific decision-makers within these accounts. With advanced technologies, such as Primer, you can go beyond company-wide targeting to focusing on individuals within those accounts. Moreover, you can reach them multi-channel by appending ad network matching data to your ABM accounts with Primer. 

Check our best practices on how to span your ABM efforts across multiple advertising platforms.

Rather than trying to approximate your accounts through native targeting (i.e., filters on LinkedIn), uploading an account list allows you to reach your accounts at scale. Primer takes this a step further by transforming this list into 'people audiences' at those accounts. This gives you the ability to send personalized messages to the decision-makers who hold the power to buy or influence the buying decision, thereby increasing your chances of conversion.

Ensure your platform has flexible list upload options, such as the ability to connect your CRM and import accounts using a variety of first-party filters. Additionally, it should have the capability to segregate this data into individual people audiences within these businesses. This allows you to have a more targeted approach, increasing your precision in reaching out and enhancing overall effectiveness of ABM B2B marketing strategies.

Through this dual approach of account list uploading and people-based targeting, you can ensure a finely-tuned ABM strategy that speaks to the heart of your highest-value prospects.

IP Targeting

While list uploading enables account targeting, IP targeting takes it a step further. By serving ads to specific IP addresses, you can reach individual contacts and accounts when they are anonymously surfing the web. IP targeting helps expand your reach beyond known accounts and engages contacts you may not have in your target list.

While IP targeting can be a valuable tool in B2B marketing strategies, it's important to consider some of the potential limitations and drawbacks. Here are a few cons to keep in mind:

  1. Limited accuracy: IP addresses are often associated with a specific device or network rather than an individual or account. This means that IP targeting may not always reach the specific contacts or decision-makers within a target account, as multiple people may use the same IP address.
  2. Lack of personalization: IP targeting typically focuses on reaching accounts based on their IP addresses, which might not provide enough context for personalized messaging. It can be challenging  to deliver ads with decent personalization when B2B marketing strategies are based solely on IP information.
  3. Ad blocking: Many internet users utilize ad-blocking software or browser extensions, which can prevent IP-targeted ads from being displayed. This limits the reach and effectiveness of IP targeting campaigns.
  4. Dynamic IP addresses: In some cases, IP addresses may change frequently for certain devices or networks. This can make it difficult to maintain consistent targeting and reach the intended accounts.
  5. Privacy concerns: IP targeting raises privacy concerns, as it involves tracking and targeting individuals based on their online activities. Adhering to privacy regulations and obtaining proper consent is crucial to ensure compliance.

Despite these limitations, IP targeting can sometimes be a valuable component of an account-based marketing strategy. It can help expand reach, target specific networks or locations, and raise brand awareness. Just don’t expect it to have a very clear ROI. It's essential to consider these cons and weigh them against the benefits when implementing IP targeting in your campaigns.

Implementing Account-Level Reporting to B2B Marketing Strategies

To analyze account-based ad performance, you need reporting at the account level. Key metrics include impressions, clicks, and conversions for each account. Assess which accounts are engaging with your ads so you can optimize targeting and creatives. Granular reporting provides visibility into how your accounts are responding.

Integrations with Marketing Automation

To track the full buyer journey, integrate your ad platform with your CRM and marketing automation systems. This enables you to attribute pipeline and revenue back to account ad engagement. It also allows you to create automated workflows to nurture accounts once they convert on an ad.

Apart from uploading enriched ABM records back to your CRMs, Primer also offers a pretty straightforward audience attribution for your ad campaigns. Here are video tutorials explaining how it works.

Cross-Channel Coordination

Your ad strategy should complement your broader ABM outreach. Look for ad platforms that make it easy to coordinate campaigns across channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, and programmatic display. Building integrated campaigns boosts account visibility and orchestrates a consistent experience.

Over 50% of B2B marketers currently leverage some form of account-based advertising on par with other B2B marketing strategies. As more precise targeting and measurement capabilities emerge, this number will continue rising. To stay ahead, build a tech stack that makes account-based advertising scalable and measurable. 

Nurture Leads with Personalized Account-Based Content

Developing content tailored to your target accounts  underpins effective B2B marketing strategies.. To nurture leads, you need to map content assets to the buyer journey for each account.

Start by conducting buyer persona research on your ideal accounts to understand their goals, challenges, and information needs throughout the buying process. Look at the content they are already engaging with to identify gaps.

Next, create customized content that speaks directly to the accounts you want to reach. For example, develop an industry-specific ebook that addresses the unique pain points of accounts in your target industry vertical. Or create a case study featuring a client at one of your dream accounts, tailored around their success with your product. There are many options for useful content to try in your B2B marketing strategies.

When publishing content, include CTAs and offers that prompt target accounts to exchange their information for gated assets. This gives you their contact info for further nurturing. You can also gate helpful content and offer it exclusively to your target accounts.

Promote your account-based content through multiple channels. Send personalized emails with links to relevant content assets to accounts showing interest. Display ads with gated content offers can also drive downloads from target companies.

To track engagement, use UTM parameters and account-based reporting to see which accounts interact with each content offer. Refine your nurture streams based on content consumption trends within your target account list.

According to ITSMA, 77% of ABM leaders rate content creation for target accounts as very successful. Take the time to develop content tailored to your key accounts. The more relevant and valuable the content is to each account, the better you can nurture leads in a personalized way. Dedicating resources to account-based content creation will pay dividends in driving engagement within your targeted accounts. 

Measuring Account-Based Marketing ROI

Source: sayprimer.com

The true measure of any marketing program is its return on investment. The best account-based B2B marketing strategies require ROI  to be evaluated both at the account level and overall campaign level. There are several key metrics that can be analyzed to quantify the impact of your ABM strategy:

Account Engagement Score

This metric tracks the level of engagement your target accounts have with your brand across channels. Engagement can be scored based on criteria like website visits, content downloads, email opens/clicks, and event attendance. Average engagement scores can showcase how well your account list responds to campaigns. You can also break this down by specific accounts to see where more nurturing is needed.

Account Coverage

This analyzes what percentage of your target accounts you are successfully reaching. If your account list has 100 companies, but you only actively engage with 50, your coverage is 50%. Low account coverage signals your outreach needs to be broader. High coverage means your campaigns are effectively saturating your target accounts.

Account Pipeline and Revenue Influence

For businesses focused on driving pipeline, the number of opportunities and revenue generated from target accounts show ABM’s tangible sales impact. You can compare pipeline and revenue figures before and after ABM adoption to quantify lift. Also, examine pipeline velocity - if deals from target accounts move faster due to ABM, it improves sales efficiency.

Overall Campaign ROI

Calculate the revenue generated from your account-based campaigns and factor in costs like staff, software, and advertising spend. This reveals your overall ABM return on investment. According to ITSMA research, ABM delivers a 2.5X higher ROI than traditional marketing. However, every company's ROI will differ based on their account list, sales cycle, and the relevance of its B2B marketing strategies to specific cases.

ABM reporting provides critical proof of the business value your account-based strategies deliver. As you refine target account selection, improve personalization, and optimize campaigns, your ABM metrics should steadily improve. Leverage insights from your data to showcase the tangible revenue impact of account-based marketing.

Overall, ABM provides a powerful approach to reaching and engaging high-value accounts in a personalized and impactful way. By defining your ideal customer profile with precision targeting, orchestrating personalized multi-channel outreach, tracking target account engagement with marketing analytics, building account-based advertising into your tech stack, nurturing leads with personalized account-based content, and measuring ABM ROI, you can create a highly effective ABM strategy.

Remember, the foundation of any successful ABM strategy is a deep understanding of your ideal customer profile. By aligning your messaging and outreach with the goals, challenges, and needs of your target accounts, you can establish a strong connection and drive meaningful engagement.

Ultimately, ABM enables you to build strong relationships with your most valuable accounts and achieve impressive results. By adopting a strategic approach and utilizing the tools and techniques outlined in this document, you can elevate your B2B marketing efforts and drive greater success in reaching and engaging your target audience.

Run ABM Campaigns on Scale with Primer as a Co-Pilot

Primer is built with the constraints of ABM in mind. You can build audiences that are representative of your target accounts and reach them with ads across LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc. 

Apart from improving targeted campaigns through increased match and reach rate, Primer elevates Marketing and Sales sales collaboration. With  Primer, you can pinpoint and feed Sales new, outbound-ready contacts at top target accounts. Check out the live demo to learn exactly how Primer works.

Ways Primer can help

Reach your B2B buyers
across every channel

Book a demo
Consent Preferences