8 FAQs about B2B ABM Lead Generation [Answered by Experts]

July 14, 2023

ViB Editorial Team

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B2B Account Based Marketing (ABM) has become one of the hottest topics in B2B demand generation in the past few years. A key reason is that it holds so much promise for landing large and lucrative accounts. 

Despite the potential of ABM for lead generation, many marketers are just getting started

In fact, in a recent ViB poll of technology leaders in our ViB Community, we found that 60% are at the very beginning stages of their ABM journey. 

Of those who have attempted to launch ABM initiatives, 83% said they found it to be a challenge, primarily because they lack a clear strategy and are missing critical B2B contact data.

Statistics about B2B ABM challenges, maturity and stage from ViB poll

Session recap: insights from two ABM consultants

However, there are several ways to make ABM work well. Every B2B marketer can improve their ABM results by gaining tips from the pros.  

And so we brought two leaders together, Jeremy Sporn, President of Royce Brook Media; and Kristy Morris, a senior marketing leader in the big tech space, for a session on ABM Unplugged: Ask the Experts Anything. 

▶️ Catch the full session on demand, or read further for answers to some of the most pressing FAQs about ABM, and expert insights from running successful B2B ABM campaigns.

Q1: B2B account based marketing — How do you define B2B ABM?

Because ABM is such an incredibly hot topic and holds so much promise for today’s marketers, there is some confusion around what ABM right actually looks like. 

B2B account based marketing defined:

B2B ABM is a type of marketing strategy that focuses on targeting specific, high-value accounts within a specific industry, rather than marketing to a large group of potential customers in a more general way.

ABM is unlike traditional mass marketing campaigns that blast out marketing messages to large groups of individuals.

Instead, ABM uses highly targeted campaigns to help close, not just leads, but whole accounts

That’s exactly why ABM is a valuable tool for B2B marketers.

For every sale you win, you gain the opportunity to build a significant long-term relationship with an account — one that will likely make large purchases and continue buying from your company long into the future. 

For example, if your company sells medical device solutions for the healthcare industry, having a strong relationship with a large healthcare organization would be a major win. It would be much more lucrative to keep selling products to this one organization than making several one-off sales to multiple smaller healthcare operations. 

Naturally, this means you gain a higher ROI for every account you close. 

🤓 Want more on B2B ABM? Check out our other guides:

Q2: B2B ABM tactics — What are the best strategies and tactics in the early stages of an ABM campaign?

As our ViB survey showed, many marketers are at the early stages of their ABM journey.

Several webinar participants asked how to get started with ABM too. Their questions included:

  • What’s the best strategy? 
  • What are the right tactics? 
  • What are some of the common struggles? 

ABM programs can be as simple or as complex as you make them. Although there’s a lot that goes into making an ABM program successful, the best ones have a clear focus, clear steps, and clear tracking. That all starts with customer segmentation.

ABM targeting — identifying your best accounts

A critical step in the early stages of launching an ABM campaign is identifying the right accounts to target. 

One way to hone in on which accounts to pursue is to determine which companies will appreciate the products and services you sell the most

That means having a crystal clear understanding of the ideal customer profile and accounts you want to target with ABM.

To get started, create a handpicked list of accounts to pursue based on that criterion. 

One of our speakers Jeremy emphasizes focusing on the humans who sit on the buying committees of your targeted accounts to effectively gain inroads. 

“The key to success with cold B2B email marketing is to get in front of the right contacts, at the right time, with the right message so you can stop their scroll and get them to click open your email.”

💡 Pro tip: In the early stages of ABM initiatives, it’s important to remember that when you’re targeting large accounts, the sales plays will be longer and more complex, because more people are involved in making a purchasing decision. 

So when you’re just starting out with ABM avoid boiling the ocean. Aim for small wins — such as hitting a realistic client acquisition goal, or simply earning team-wide buy-in — to give your strategy an energy boost. 

See the 10 B2B data providers we trust

Q3: B2B ABM strategy – How do I know if ABM is the right strategy for me?

Many marketers wondered if ABM makes sense for them and if they should even consider adding it to their marketing programs. 

And we got your back. The experts provided a short checklist to help assess your readiness for going down this path. 

[Checklist] To gain a more meaningful view of your readiness for ABM, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Do I have the resources to support an ABM program right now?

2. Do I have a dedicated team internally?

3. Am I going to use an agency externally?

4. Do I have the funds to do this?

5. Do I have buy-in from other stakeholders to do this right now?

Your answers to these questions will help you gauge your readiness and know where you must build resources to move ahead with an ABM initiative. 

Q4: ABM marketing alignment — How do I juggle ABM with other marketing projects?

Many survey respondents asked about balancing ABM with their ongoing lead generation strategies. They wanted to know how to incorporate ABM into their overall marketing program. 

The main point is that your current marketing program should not be abandoned or short-changed when you get started with ABM. 

You should still create and syndicate great content, still keep social media accounts updated, still build email marketing campaigns, and still nurture leads through your sales funnel — you get the drift!

In fact, these tried-and-true marketing tactics will help support an ABM initiative.  

Kristy emphasizes the need to widen our perspective when considering a move into ABM for the first time.

“ABM is not a standalone strategy. It’s part of your overall marketing and sales strategy. It needs to be part of something that’s integrated within your larger marketing plan. It’s an enhancement to whatever your existing marketing plan and strategy are.

It’s not something that you do short term, it is a long-term play.”

Q5. Investing in ABM – How and where to focus my resources?

ABM will require investment in several key areas, including people and a marketing tech stack. You can spend wisely by clarifying your goals and expectations in the early stages.  

Another critical consideration when investing in ABM is having a good understanding of what each targeted account is worth from the perspective of lifetime value

This is one of the best ways to determine how much money, time, and effort you’re willing to invest to go after a particular account. 

When you understand how valuable accounts are, you can better determine whether or not to pursue them.

Jeremy advised marketers to consider approaching ABM with a tiered approach.

“Consider placing the accounts you want to target into three buckets: super high-value targets, medium-value targets, and lower-value targets.

Don't blow your budget and resources by putting the same amount of effort and resources into all the accounts. Conserve your resources by focusing on the accounts that stand to deliver the best return on your investment.”

▶️ For more on customer segmentation, watch the session on demand: The Science of Segmentation Using Your B2B Data.

Q6: ABM metrics – How should I measure my ABM campaign results?

When it came to measuring the success of ABM initiatives, only 2% of the survey respondents asked about metrics. 

This isn’t surprising, considering that 60% are only at the beginning of their ABM journey. 

But of those who did ask about measuring results, they wanted to know what a successful ABM campaign looks like and what metrics they should track to evaluate their performance. 

Here’s our tip: start with a specific, but simple number to aim for, such as a new client acquisition number or a revenue target.

“In the beginning, keep the math simple. Say you aim for one new account acquisition. After you experience your first win, you can widen your target. Then add more metrics to the equation. Choose metrics that support your overall end game goal — whether that’s 10 new accounts or 100. The more wins you log, the more you’ll understand how ABM works best in your organization — including what metrics are the most meaningful.”

And when you’re ready to move beyond basic ABM metrics (and we believe you will!), advanced metrics could include these types of measurements like these.     

Advanced B2B ABM metrics to track:

  • How many net new contacts?
  • How many of the new contacts are engaged?
  • How many are new engagers versus repeat engagers?
  • What’s the growth rate of new contacts?
  • How are the new contacts influencing the sales pipeline?

🔍 How are B2B marketers approaching generative AI, lead generation and marketing budget allocation today? Check out our latest B2B marketing trends report for the latest stats and strategies you need to know.

Thumbnail of ViB B2B Marketing Trends Report
Discover the latest trends and statistics — and the key actions B2B marketers and leaders need to take today. 

Q7: ABM best practices — How can marketing and sales work in sync on ABM campaigns?

As B2B marketers, we interface with a lot of stakeholders, both externally and internally.

Particularly, aligning ABM marketing tactics with the sales team is a massive priority

But what if sales doesn’t seem open to ABM?

Is there a way to get them onboard and aligned with the requirements and expectations? Does it even matter?

Yes — ABM is a full team sport, it’s not an individual event. 

Everyone in the sales organization has a role in making ABM successful, whether they’re an inside sales rep, a field account rep, a regional sales leader, or head of sales. 

The reality is that it will be much more possible to be successful at ABM if marketing and sales are working in sync

Kristy advises marketers not to fast-track and force fit their existing marketing resources into ABM.

“It’s important not to adopt a ‘build it and they will come’ approach. In other words, don't build an ABM campaign and think sales will immediately jump onboard. You’ll have greater success including your sales leadership in the planning stages. You’ll get much greater buy-in and support over the long term.”

So how exactly can we find that alignment between marketing and sales?

Here are some practical tips for getting the sales team on board with ABM: 

How to get sales alignment for your ABM strategy [6 simple steps]:

Step 1:
First get buy-in from a C-level leader to inspire the sales team

Step 2:
Share insights about ABM with the sales team to help them understand the potential

Step 3:
Assure the sales team that you are not abandoning the marketing program your currently running.

Step 4:
Include the sales team in the planning stages of your ABM campaigns so they feel like valuable team members and are invested in the initiative.

Step 5:
When you start generating wins, be sure to celebrate them so the entire sales team realizes the potential and get excited about participating

Step 6:
Choose metrics that are meaningful to your sales C-leaders

Q8: ABM lead generation – What are the best ABM services and tools to build contact lists?

No ABM strategy is complete without access to your new, target accounts.

If you recall, about 80% of survey respondents during the webinar said they are struggling with getting contact data for every account

In fact, across the board, generating enough leads is the biggest challenge for 41% of B2B marketers based on our recent B2B marketing trends research.

How do you reconcile that with ABM? What is the best approach for ABM lead generation?

Building an ABM lead list from scratch can be challenging, but ABM lead generation doesn’t have to be. Here are few tried and true tips:

How to build and engage a target account list for ABM [5 ways]:

1. Look for mid-stage and larger companies versus start-ups because they will typically have more funds

2. Conduct lead generation email marketing campaigns to find good prospects

3. Create a piece of content targeted directly at potential ABM accounts

4. Contract with people who are excellent at outbound sales calls so they can find solid leads

5. Partner with a third-party B2B contact list provider or demand generation partner, such as ZoomInfo, LinkedIn Business, or ViB (that’s us 👋).

For more insights on partnering with third-party providers, read in our guide + review of the 10 best B2B data providers you can trust. 

Special offer — test drive one of the best ABM platforms

One of ViB’s areas of expertise is helping clients get contacts for ABM. 

How do we do that? Through a carefully and precisely segmented community of tech decision makers.

With just an outline of your ideal customer profile, you can try pushing an email, piece of content, or solution demo to new target accounts. 

See how our ready-made ViB Community can make your campaigns more successful!

Choose one of our solutions to kickstart your B2B ABM strategy:

  • Send one email of your choice through to up to 75,000 contacts in our technology community [ViB Emails]
  • Syndicate one piece of content of your choice to our ViB Community and get guaranteed 25 downloads [ViB Syndication]
  • Get 3 prospect meetings with our ViB Community, including valuable post-meeting intelligence [ViB Appointments]

 

Let’s help you start your ABM journey, with a ViB trial today.

Ready to get started with B2B lead generation?

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