ABM (account-based marketing) offers organizations a strategic approach to engaging their highest-value prospects. For those enterprises that want to execute this practice, ABM needs to integrate with all your other efforts, including content. In this guide, we’re providing you with everything you need to know about content marketing for ABM.
What Is ABM Content Marketing?
ABM describes a focused approach in B2B marketing, which targets the best-fit accounts to convert them to customers. It requires a multichannel approach closely aligning sales, marketing, and customer success.
In ABM content marketing, the goal is to deliver relevant and helpful content to those targeted accounts. These resources — videos, reports, comparisons, blog posts, webinars, etc. — have a personalization angle. With this approach, you’ll engage those specific buyers and organizations on a one-to-one basis.
How Does ABM Content Marketing Work?
First, it’s important to consider the buyer’s journey, which is likely part of your content strategy. This path is no longer linear. People can enter and exit in many different phases. In a traditional B2B funnel, the volume of leads was a key objective. While generating traffic and leads is a critical content marketing objective, the ABM approach flips the funnel.
In a presentation from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), they provide this concept of the “flip.” As you can see, everything changes with scoring accounts at the top, followed by personalization and building relationships. It also revealed that 27 percent of ABM marketers report an over 50 percent increase in C-level engagement.
From this new funnel, the efforts of your content team change. It requires rethinking of the audience from sole buyer to organizational buying. What’s also unique is that the sales team steers the efforts versus marketing delivering leads to them.
Sales identifies the accounts to prioritize and nurture. Your content team then collaborates with them to create highly personalized and custom content. The right buyers get the right content at the right time.
ABM Content Marketing Solves Significant Challenges
Every organization has challenges regarding lead generation and converting those. In the ABM model, you know the leads and have channels to communicate with them. This new dynamic can solve challenges.
Less content waste
Marketing creates a lot of content. Unfortunately, a lot of it goes unused — up to 65 percent per a Forrester study. Effort and resources go into every project, which means real costs. It could be wasteful because it’s not relevant or not high-quality content.
With ABM, there’s more control around what to create and for whom, so waste is less, and content should be more effective. Tracking the use of content in engagement and relationship building and its performance via content analytics delivers more insights. It actually closes the feedback loop. Your content team knows what pieces are directly related to closing that account.
As noted above, engagement is critical and measurable. If your content is underperforming, it could mean it doesn’t resonate. When you’re developing content for ABM tactics, the personalization factor is so considerable, interaction and consumption of it will increase.
Content ROI is easier to measure
Back to measuring, which is key for any content team. Some of your campaigns may be harder to define in terms of content ROI. That’s because they are often for a broad audience. ABM is much smaller and targeted, so you can attribute the conversion and sell directly to the content and tactics.
Better sales-marketing alignment
Sales and marketing need to be on the same page for an organization to master ABM or any other growth initiative. Another stat from Forrester supports this, finding that when sales and marketing collaborate on ABM, they are up to 6 percent more likely to exceed revenue goals.
This approach aligns the two groups, which can sometimes be at odds over priorities, budget, or motivations. Both groups want to increase profitability and acquire new customers. ABM can do this, but only if the two teams work together.
How to Effectively Use Content in Your ABM Strategy
With awareness around how ABM content marketing works, its value, and the challenges it solves, how exactly do you do it?
Here are some tips to consider.
Defining stakeholder needs and where they are in the journey
To expertly personalize content, identifying stakeholder needs is paramount. It’s much more in-depth than a buyer persona. You’ll want to collect deep insights about the company and the people making the decision. Then, you’ll develop content based on their profile in addition to where they are in the buying process.
Auditing content to determine gaps
Content audits are all about finding gaps. Doing one for ABM follows the same steps, except your buyer profile is very specific. Identify what topics should be in their content journey. In auditing, find out what you have that you could repurpose and what new assets you should create.
Including sales in content planning
In most content planning initiatives, sales has a voice but might not be at the table. With ABM content planning, they need to be because they are leading the initiative. Start these sessions with what marketing knows based on metrics, research, and auditing. Then allow sales to help color the plan with their perceptions and knowledge of the market.
Creating content that hits the collective stakeholders
Multiple people make buying decisions in the ABM model. Personalization is to the organization, but you also should consider the motivations or objections from each party. This is a fine line to balance to appeal to one and many at the same time. So, what types of content could work here?
Some options are:
- Webinars that feature panels that fit those stakeholders
- Comprehensive guides that highlight each challenge
- Case studies from the same industry that address multiple problems
Are You Ready to Execute ABM Content Marketing?
Launching an ABM strategy supported by content marketing isn’t an easy endeavor. It requires tight collaboration between marketing and sales and very precise targeting. With so many aspects and parties, you’ll need technology to help you execute it and maintain it.