Why Account Based Marketing (ABM) is a key B2B fintech strategy
You’ve probably heard of Account Based Marketing. It’s a highly effective and efficient demand generation strategy — used by leading B2B fintechs — because it hones your entire marketing and sales towards those you’ve identified as the best fit, highest-value prospects.
As well as being extremely effective for B2B fintechs with longer sales cycles, performance of campaigns can be measured in real-time, which further encourages adoption.
With insight gathered, analysed, and leveraged regularly, you can ask key questions, such as whether your content is engaging the right target accounts, if a particular channel is working better than another? And so much more.
In this article, I look at the ways fintechs with large average order values can leverage account based marketing to generate revenue in 2023 – starting with a quick defintiion.
What is Account Based Marketing❓
Account Based Marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on creating hyper-personalised communications targeted at a number of pre-determined, high-value, and most- likely-to-buy accounts.
If you can follow this approach, you can say goodbye to an abundance of unqualified and low-value leads. Goodbye to wasted efforts. And instead, focus on nurturing the right contacts toward a sale.
Here are just a handful of facts about Account Based Marketing:
- It’s so powerful that 87% of marketers say it outperforms other marketing activities
- 62% say they can actually measure the positive impact of adopting it
- 80% say ABM improves customer lifetime value
- And 86% say it improves win rates 📈
Let’s dive into how you can make ABM work for your B2B business.
Biggest hurdles to ABM campaign success
But first, let’s start with the common reasons ABM campaigns fall down.
- Not knowing where to start. If you haven’t done it before, it can be hard to plan and prepare an ABM campaign as it’s very different from traditional lead generation tactics.
- Struggling to get internal stakeholder buy-in. Sometimes, the biggest issue is convincing senior leaders and sales teams to get on board.
- Lack of marketing and sales alignment. Everything from identifying the right target audience, through to the marketing and sales touch points and actions throughout the process requires alignment – more than with any other marketing approach.
- Time. ABM is a heavy investment in terms of planning and execution and requires full commitment – failure to follow-up in a timely manner can cause it to fall apart right at the end. Losing momentum = losing the opportunities.
- Budget and resources. ABM does not need to be pricey – the focus is on personalisation and resonating with the right messaging, and the right channels. But having the people-power is key.
- Scalability. ABM is very targeted and direct. A broad brush approach — say, targeting CEOs in Financial Services — isn’t niche enough. Yes, this impacts scalability. But for success with ABM, you need to focus on a particular key stakeholder and their pain points and how you can appeal directly to them. If it’s compelling enough, they’ll take it to their CEO.
5 key steps in Account Based Marketing (ABM)
I’ve mentioned it already, but alignment between sales and marketing is THE most important part of an ABM campaign. So before even looking at the steps below, run a workshop to discuss what goals you are both working towards, whether that’s growing sales pipelines or improving sales conversions.
From here, you can start a discussion around things like target audiences, value propositions, challenges and ways around them, and how an ABM strategy could work.
If both teams are excited and can see ABM working, great. Here’s what you need to do next 👇
ABM Step 1: Identify your target audience and buyer personas
There are a couple of things you can do here:
- Build a wish list of companies you really want to work with
- Analyse your customer data to create a profile of your most high-value accounts (you’ll want to find more “lookalikes”)
The latter is incredibly helpful for building an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) – the type of customer that’s the perfect fit for your products and services.
Building ICPs is crucial for building personalisation. Put simply, because it allows you to deliver relevant content marketing that addresses their pain points, talks in their language, and adds value to their customer journey.
ABM Step 2: Build your target list
Once you’ve decided on what your top potential customers look like, you can build a list of the businesses that meet these criteria. This helps build a pipeline of more readily-qualified leads.
Let’s start with where you can find these target customers 👇
There are a few places you can go to start building your list:
- Web research
- Industry reports / awards
- Data providers
💡Top tip: Be careful with some prospect data – the data in some isn’t as good as you’d expect. If you can stretch your budget to purchasing intent better, this is much more likely to convert to sales opportunities.
Quick one on your target list size: Did you know, around half (57%) of professionals say their company targets 1,000 accounts or less with ABM?
To be honest, I find targeting 1-100 potential customers a more apt approach as it allows you to truly personalise and target individuals. If you have a high Average Order Value product/service, you need to be hyper-personalised to peak interest.
So think about prioritising your ABM plans, obviously starting with the hottest is best (those with highest revenue potential and likelihood to buy). And remember, the target needs to be best suited to your business to allow you to send a hyper-personalised and relevant message.
I also recommend pursuing target accounts in batches so that you can prepare follow-up.
🤔Just think: Have you got time to put together proposals and run numerous sales meetings if lots of them bite.
ABM Step 3: Build your ABM plans
Think: What message addresses the individual’s needs, goals, and pain points?
And then think: Where and how is best to get this message across?
A lot of this ties back to the ICP building in step 1. The answers to these questions for the bones of your ABM campaign plans.
Key to this is establishing roles between sales and marketing 👇
Here’s a quick checklist of questions to make sure everyone is on the same page:
⬜ Who are the key contacts to target within the target’s business (a.k.a. The buying committee)
⬜ What content will be needed to attract and engage top accounts?
⬜ How will sales and marketing support through each stage of the strategy and sales process?
ABM Step 4: Execute your Account Based Marketing campaigns
Here are some top recommendations for attracting high-quality accounts.
I’ve split these into the actual targeting techniques and also general hygiene.
We know that contacts will fully research both the individual that reaches out and the business they work in so you need to show you are a thought leader and incredibly helpful.
- Go multi-channel with your content marketing – As a minimum, your website blog posts and social channels need to be kept fresh.
- Contribute to group conversations – Find relevant LinkedIn groups and get involved in conversations with helpful and relevant content that you’ve created.
- Connect with key contacts on LinkedIn – So that they see the relevant content that you share.
- Targeted social media ads – LinkedIn is likely your best bet given it’s the most popular for B2B businesses.
- Use email marketing – And don’t do mass emails. Think personal and human. It’s highly unlikely that using a mailing platform for bulk emails will work here because targets know. With ABM, it’s all about building a relationship and showing they are special. You can offer gifts for engagement, like sharing a cheeky Costa voucher for them to enjoy a hot drink whilst reviewing your tailored proposal.
- Ask existing clients for referrals – You can offer an incentive / kick-back.
- Invite contacts to events – Face-to-face interactions always lead to the best conversions. We find running a lead nurturing campaign and then offering an invite to an exclusive roundtable event (event with c. 20 like-minded attendees) where you provide free guidance, and include guest speakers.
ABM Step 5: Reporting: Measure the impact
As with any campaign, measuring is a must-have. Given the time and effort invested in ABM, this is especially important. With the ability to measure engagements, conversion rates, and revenue generated, you can refine your target list to maximise sales and the ROI of marketing efforts.
Let’s quickly recap the key takeaways 👇
Key takeaways for Account Based Marketing
It’s easy to see why Account Based Marketing is up there as a top growth strategy for B2B Fintechs. To sum up, it’s a much more effective way of building a strong pipeline of qualified leads.
Just remember, ABM is targeted and hyper-personalised so needs to be approached with an individual and mega human approach.
Here’s a quick recap of the key takeaways:
🥡Think hyper-personalised – This needs to come through in any of the communications (both the content written and the way it’s sent: for an individual). The goal is to add value by solving their biggest pain point.
🥡 Get your other marketing channels in check – Because a prospective customer will snoop through these when checking in on who you are and if you can be trusted.
🥡 Align sales and marketing teams – So that all the effort that goes into crafting the perfect list and message doesn’t fall flat just because people didn’t know who would manage which bit of the sales funnel.
🥡 Monitor campaigns – And tweak the if the message or target list isn’t quite right (you’ll need your data for this – e.g. click-through data).
In summary, the ability to adapt marketing strategies is crucial for any Fintech to survive and thrive in today’s climate and it’s the reason the industry has a huge opportunity to benefit from account-based marketing.