@Alex_Sessoms, https://www.linkedin.com/in/alex-sessoms-mba-57351b9

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Account-based marketing (ABM) is quickly gaining popularity among enterprise companies and SMBs alike. Orchestrating account-focused plays, or plans, is the final step in strategizing a comprehensive ABM strategy. For those just joining the series, account-based marketing is the practice of identifying and focusing your efforts on the accounts that really matter.

All of the processes of ABM (such as creating targeted accounts lists, mapping contacts, developing account insights, and generating account-relevant content to better connect with customers) are even more powerful when combined. The goal of making orchestrated ABM plays is to synchronize different interactions and channels as part of an integrated account plan. Doing so gives you a clear, direct message and builds trust as accounts aren’t receiving any mixed messages or contradictory information across your different marketing channels.

So, how does orchestrated ABM work? Here’s what you need to know.

1. Multi-channel marketing improves prospecting

When combined with ad retargeting, prospecting can lead to a significant increase in conversion rates. Ad retargeting allows you to target your consumers based on their Internet actions. If you can really pinpoint your demographics for ad retargeting, you’re sure to make your presence known across an account. According to a study by the programmatic marketing company DataXu, when outbound prospecting was combined with retargeting, businesses saw significant increases in conversion across four separate industries.

  • Automotive industry: 37% increase
  • Telecommunications: 43% increase
  • Customer Service: 128% increase
  • Financial Services: 147% increase

2. Channel diversification is key

Since different buyers resonate with different channels, channel diversification is key to connecting with all the personas in your accounts. In a nutshell, channel diversification in ABM spreads your risk and increases your chances of a hit.

Jesse Davis, Sales and Marketing Strategist and Sr. Content Marketer at RingDNA, explained how this strategy offers opportunities for executives to follow up in the way they feel most comfortable with. “I like to start by adding a C-level contact on LinkedIn. Then emailing. Then calling. And then following up that call with another email. This builds name recognition for you and your brand. If, when calling, you reach a gatekeeper, just ask what the best way to reach the executive is. They’ll usually just tell you to ask and [that] you shall receive.”

3. Cadence matters

It takes an average of 9.82 touches to engage with a prospect. According to San McDade, President and CEO of Point Clear, senior executives are 2.5 times more responsive to quality multi-touch campaigns than are junior executives. ABM is never a one-and-done effort. It’s a continuous program which never stops communicating with key accounts. Craig Rosenberg, Co-Founder and Chief-Analyst at TOPO, suggests that you drop a dozen pieces of content evenly placed throughout the quarter and employ a mix of 4 online to 1 offline content types.

4. Your success depends on your account plan

Your account plan needs to focus on relationships, reputation, and revenue growth to be successful. Below are some account planning steps to help you get started:

  • Step One: Map the buying centers at the account – A buying center is a subset of people that can collectively purchase your solutions. Each relationship within a buying center needs to be defined (decision-makers, influencers, mobilizers, potential blockers, etc.), and the relevant buying centers need to be mapped out for each potential deal.
  • Step Two: Research each buying center – Make sure you can identify the key challenges for each member within a buying center. Identify pain points and look out for white-space opportunities as well as which buying centers have opportunities for which of your solutions.
  • Step Three: Define account goals for each buying center – Just like any other marketing strategy, you need to have some goals in mind before you start making plays. To define those goals, ask yourself where is the buying center right now? Do you still need to get your foot in the door? Do you need to accelerate the deal? Is there an opportunity to cross-sell or build existing relationships?
  • Step Four: Assign plays to journey stages – Depending on the current goal and buying stage you are at, map interaction plays to each buying center. Utilize the play which will help move them closer to the goal.

5. Examples of orchestration plays

Here are a few examples of the sort of orchestrated plays you can make to ensure you’re getting the most out of your ABM campaigns:

  • Open the Door (to a cold account) – Be sure to align all of your messages to a common theme, business pain point, or content offer. Use targeted ads across social media and the web. Then focus on your outbound strategy. For executives, use a dimensional mail drop followed by multi-step outreach from your sales exec over personalized email, phone, and social. For managers or directors, use lower-cost direct mail followed by SDR outreach over email and phone.
  • Human Account Nurturing – Build a real relationship over time with human-to-human interactions, not automated machines.
  • Plan Ahead for Meetings – Before a third-party event, identify key attendees belonging to key accounts you want to meet with, then reach out in a personalized way to set up meetings.

In the next few years, the use of ABM is expected to grow and become an important sales and marketing strategy across a wide array of companies. I hope that with the help of this series, you now feel confident in doing a few ABM test runs of your own.

Remember, you have to stay agile and change your approach as you carry on. It’s important that you stay sensitive to your accounts and keep relevant with current news and trends. Be fearless in your execution, but flexible in your approach and you are sure to see success in account-based marketing.

How do you incorporate orchestrated ABM plays into your marketing and sales strategy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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