5 steps for launching an account-based marketing strategy

Marketing maven Mark Amtower shares five steps that will energize your account-based marketing efforts and help you win more business.

Among the hotter topics in the business to business market is the notion of account-based marketing, or ABM. Translated into Gov-speak, this is agency-based marketing, which many have been doing for years

However, seeing as it is hot in B2B, I thought I’d share a simple ABM formula I’ve used with companies for the past 25-plus years. It is a five-step approach and it works. Here is the short version.

Step 1: Picking the target agency(cies).

Where do you have a beachhead in an agency and is it exploitable? Exploitable simply means is there a real opportunity for you to grow.

Are you known at the agency by key influencers? These must include the end-users, the managers and contracting.

Are you on the preferred contractual vehicles? If not, can you get a slot as a sub-contractor?

When there is an incumbent who has been there forever, I recall what Bob Davis told me: Marketshare is rented, never owned.

Step 2: Map the influencers.

If you know who some of the main players are, create an org chart, then map them out on LinkedIn. From here, flesh out the org chart and develop a connection strategy. Don’t simply reach out with a generic “I’d like you to join my network.”

Are any of them attending any industry functions? Look for their names as speakers or panelists at industry events and plan on being there. Attend events focused on that agency, including the seemingly mundane Office of Small business Utilization events.

LinkedIn always plays a major role in mapping and connecting. After all, this is a relationship driven market.

Step 3: Doing the research.

There are multiple sources for information including the Federal Procurement Data System, the agency web site, OMB 53 and 300 filings, looking up the agency on trade media websites, and more.

If you subscriber to Bloomberg or Deltek, get an agency specific report.

Are there any agency-specific contracts you should be on? Are they coming up for re-compete?

Who are the major competitors?

When I am working with a company I create Google Alerts for all pertinent information. This provides me way too much information, but as I make my way through it, I always find useful nuggets.

Step 4: Develop a content calendar and content delivery strategy.

Good content will help you build credibility with your audience. It allows you to share your knowledge of the agency and the problems it faces. It allows you to offer viable solutions to those problems.

The content is the result of your conversations with influencers and your research.

Your subject matter experts should be at the forefront of your content strategy, as they need to be positioned as the key players the agency needs to move forward.

Your content calendar will ensure a regular stream of information for your targeted agency. A one-off white paper buried on your web site is not a content strategy.

There are multiple venues for sharing content. Depending on your budget you may work with a media outlet, or you may deploy through various social platforms. Or both.

Step 5: Expand the beachhead.

Deploy your front line staff, sales and business development, fully armed with key connections, research and content.

Marketing should be getting constant feedback from the front lines to adjust the content and validate the current research. Donuts and coffee once a month is a great way to get feedback, as are one-on-one meetings with top performers.

This is not a linear program, it is a circular program, where Step 5 always leads back to Step 1.

ABM may be getting traction in B2B, but for B2G it is part of our genetic code.