You’ve probably heard the term account-based marketing before, but do you really understand what it means?

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategic method used to target and approach key accounts that are most likely to become customers.

It’s the classic house divide: marketing versus sales – who brings more value to a company’s bottom line?

Naturally, people are prone to say sales; in reality, marketing teams help turn prospects into buyers through strategic marketing campaigns, and most recently, account-based marketing tactics.

ABM tactics: how to turn customer interest into investment

ABM is the top B2B trend to keep your eye on as 2020 nears. As a marketer, it’s crucial to understand how to utilize account-based marketing tactics to transform prospects into buyers.

So let’s go through the top 5 most useful ABM tactics you should utilize to ensure you’re doing the absolute most to turn a potential customer into a definite (and paying) one.

1. Discover your target market and where to find them

Knowing who your target accounts are works in tandem with knowing how and where to find them. If you’re not using the right channels to find prospective customers, your rate of success will falter. Remember, identifying prospective buyers has to be a cross-team effort between marketing and sales teams.

Both teams have unique data about prospects, and you need both to work together to collect firmographic data — such as industry, company size, business type, location, revenue, and stage in the sales cycle.

It’s also important to provide market research, which is more focused on customer behavior and trends rather than on concrete numbers or figures.

2. Execute targeted campaigns on key accounts

To maximize your reach, all marketing campaigns need to be coordinated between marketing and sales (yes, it’s the good old “sales and marketing alignment” method).

Your sales team needs to be aware of what campaigns your marketing team is putting out into the world via marketing automation, and how these campaigns affect the ultimate end deal. Likewise, your marketing team needs to know pertinent prospect information that only the sales team has.

Have both teams coordinate targeted ABM campaign efforts on certain high-value prospects to amplify reach and show unity among teams and processes. Know when to contact a prospect based on previous attempts; what their most preferred method of communication is; and how to turn their hesitance into decisiveness.

3. Use personalization in all forms of communication

Nobody’s going to buy from a bot.

Okay — a few people are going to buy from a bot. That said, you shouldn’t be sending robotic-sounding emails or messaging to prospects. If you’re making a customer feel like a number in a book that you’re simply waiting to check off — they’re going to know and not appreciate it — and consequently, not buy from you.

An example of a merge tag marketing fail

It’s time to stop relying on canned messaging and start relying on building relationships. Yes, it’s easier to insert a canned email and hit send to a list of prospects, but studies have shown that personalized email campaigns always win out over the former.

And sure, chatbots are a great way to go to help guide a prospect to an actual person, but they shouldn’t be used as your go-to for written customer communications.

Here’s a tip: using an account-based execution software solution can help you with custom messaging that gives a personalized feel without you having to do all of the legwork. It’s a win-win.

4. Tailor content to your audience, and make it creative

It’s not news that people learn and consume information differently. This is true for academic learning styles – such as the VARK method: visual, auditory, read/write, and kinesthetic – and remains true for your prospects.

Source: ResearchGate

Some people enjoy reading written content — whether that’s a blog post, an ebook, or a text-based SlideShare. Others prefer infographics, videos, photos, and podcasts. If you want to cast a wide net, ensure that your content styles and distribution methods are multifaceted.

Since you don’t know each prospect individually, it’s best to have content that contains components of all of the above methods as an effective way to grab attention. Someone may not be compelled to read your 2500-word article on sales enablement, but that doesn’t mean they won’t download an eye-catching infographic with a condensed form of that information to keep on hand!

In addition, make sure you’re creating content people actually want to consume. People infrequently seek out self-promotional content on your site; rather, they’re coming to you to find out more information about what you do, what you sell, and what you can offer them as the prospective buyer.

Create content for them, not for you.

5. Go above and beyond – woo and wow them

Gift-giving is one of the five core love languages, but did you know that you can use this method for getting prospects to love your company as well?

Direct mail marketing is a form of ABM that combines personalization and tailored content into one. Direct mail as a form of gift-giving shows your team(s) took extra care getting to know the prospect as a person rather than as a customer.

You might not immediately see the value of this account-based marketing tactic, but let’s think about it for a second. You learn enough about the prospect to choose a personalized gift, whether work-related or otherwise, and you send it to them as a thank-you just for their time, even if they haven’t yet become a customer.

For instance, sending a branded onesie to a prospect who you know recently welcomed a baby into their family will guarantee a thank-you note and probably a social media shout-out to your company. And those are just the extra add-ons to the likelihood of them becoming a customer.

Consider the approach Proof for the launch of their podcast, Scale or Die. Rather than giving a generic gift to each guest, they made custom bobbleheads, used them to promote the show, and then gifted the bobblehead to the guest.

Not only do thoughtful gifts give your company free advertisement, but they can also show the world how thoughtful, generous, and personal you & your team can make an interaction.

Why wouldn’t someone want to become a customer now?

Final thoughts

Although the above list of account-based marketing tactics is not exhaustive, it gives a good idea of how to approach ABM strategies so that you will inevitably turn prospects into buyers. With these ideas and many more, you can finally advance your sales and marketing teams into the next best B2B marketing trend –  ABM.

Rebecca Reynoso is a Content Marketer at G2, writing about high tech and editing guest post submissions for the Learn Hub blog.