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ABM - outsource or do it yourself

ABM: Outsource or DIY?

Author
Tom Jacobs
November 3, 2022

ABM is the latest craze rolling through the digital marketing landscape over the past year. You can’t escape it no matter how hard you try. So, is this the best kept secret you should be adding to your channel mix? Or is it a targeting strategy that you should roll out across your existing?

What is ABM?

ABM or Account Based Marketing is a business marketing strategy that concentrates resources on a set of target accounts (or companies) within a market. Mostly used in B2B marketing, the strategy focuses on a list of ideal prospects either sorted into industry niche or another persona. Once that list is formulated, messaging is customized based on specific pain points and how the product is a must have.

What is an ABM Vendor?

You’ve probably heard about brands like Terminus, Demandbase, 6sense, Rollworks or the hundreds of other tech platforms that will bundle ABM up and sell visibility to your selected list. We have gone through demos, discovery sessions, and prospect journey with almost all the above and were underwhelmed to be completely honest.

The Pros and Cons of working with an ABM Vendor

Pros:

  • Done-for-you model – you hand them the target ABM list and they run the campaigns
  • Easy gauge of how many impressions / clicks from each account
  • Offer intent data on accounts – platforms offer the ability to investigate each company and take inventory on which is searching for specific keywords

Cons:

  • High Barrier to Entry – with the vendors, you’ll never get a small test to start, it’s a heft $20k-$40k program to launch
  • Usually put Display out front as the initial offering – this will drive very low-quality leads and results, but it’s the thing they make the highest margins on
  • Most ask to sync up your sales CRM to prove the effectiveness of THEIR platform… while this makes sense in principle, the tech should be there to run independent of your internal data sources

After a lot of time spent on calls and negotiating contracts, we decided to go a different direction in building out an ABM strategy on our own. And here’s how to do it across your existing channels.

How to design & run ABM yourself across your existing channels:

 

1Match your ABM list within LinkedIn: this is the sure-fire way to ensure you reach these companies on the outset. This will be the channel to scale visibility because we’re 100% sure the ads will reach the ABM list. Note: DO NOT engage the audience expansion

2Build a traffic focused campaign to prioritize click traffic to your website so your target persona within those matched companies will be clicking and getting collected into an audience

3Set up specific UTMs for this ABM campaign – build audiences based on the UTMs on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Analytics

4 Customize your messaging to start first touch on LinkedIn – As specific to company’s industry or niche pain point as possible

5Build Retargeting campaigns on Facebook and Google Ads, possibly some Youtube. Messaging should acknowledge they’ve seen your brand before, “Still considering…”, “Still experiencing X pain point?” etc.

With this above strategy you will be able to start a cycle of reaching the users where they are cross promotionally and then averaging down your cost per engagement until you make an ask of the user. After a few weeks of seeing your ads, education, videos, and content on different channels, you can design a specific InMail or Conversation ad that gets directly to the point of asking for a demo, call or free trial type lead.