The adoption of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) has gained momentum in the last few years, with 96% of 500 marketers surveyed by IDG in 2022 confirming that they have a documented ABM strategy.
Furthermore, marketing teams throughout the globe have been reporting a better return on investment (ROI) from ABM compared to other popular approaches, such as inbound and outbound.
In a recent study by Marketo, 87% of surveyed marketers answered that they were getting better results from their Account-Based Marketing programs than other marketing techniques.
Successfully implementing an ABM program can be a source of substantial competitive advantage for any company. While there are a lot of tools at your disposal to successfully navigate Account-Based Marketing, acquiring and using them can be confusing and expensive. This article will solve that! Let me introduce you to xGrowth’s Ultimate ABM Strategy Template!
A Template for ABM?
At xGrowth, we've repeatedly emphasised that mindfully executing ABM is crucial! We even published a comprehensive guide on the subject.
While ABM offers many advantages, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the number of ABM tools and platforms available on the market. You may also need help deciding where to begin with ABM or how to get started without overdoing the martech investment.
To make your life a little less complicated, we have created an easy-to-use and comprehensive ABM strategy template.
Here's why we think you should use it:
- Templates, in general, are a fantastic way to structure your Account-Based Marketing program better
- This template will serve as a checklist for you to ensure that all the steps of an ideal Account-Based Marketing strategy are completed
- Finally, it will standardise how your marketing communicates with the sales team – so both are on the same page
But enough about why you should use the template; let's dive into it now.
xGrowth's Ultimate ABM Strategy Template
We have designed the ABM strategy template to be comprehensive. It consists of nine parts, each of which can be used standalone. This means that you can either use the entire template or just the parts of it based on your need!
How To Use This Template?
Apart from the key item above, here are a few more things to take note of:
- To make the best use of this template, ensure that you have read this article till the end. The article provides additional commentary on each of the slides.
- In specific slides, we have presented some dummy data from the perspective of a CRM company selling to B2B/B2C organisations; for more specificity, a CRM company selling its software to organisations in the banking sector. Examples of CRM companies could be Salesforce or HubSpot.
- Remember, while we have kept this template exhaustive based on industry best practices and our experience as a specialised B2B ABM agency, don’t hesitate to change this template as per your needs and make it your own.
If you have any feedback for us, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you want more details or a discovery session on how we can help you ace your ABM journey - contact us here.
All right! Now that we have those pointers out of the way, let’s move into each of the specific parts of our template!
Part 1: ICP & Target Accounts List
The first thing that we would want to establish for our ABM strategy is the ideal customer profile. This section shares a sample ICP document using which you can:
- Understand your ideal customer & target-account better
- Quickly create a persona of your ideal customer company
- Find companies that fit your ICP
- Nail down a list of the right accounts you would want to go after in your ABM campaign.
Figure 1 shows a snapshot of the ICP document. It can also be downloaded as an editable slide from the link below.
Part 2: ABM Account List and Prioritisation
Once we have developed the ideal customer profile, we will create a target account list. The account list will consist of all the organisations that fit the ICP.
To make our approach more intelligent and practical, we will use some more parameters to prioritise the accounts. The account list and prioritisation template will allow you to calculate the priority score for each account in your target list.
The priority score ranges from 0 to 10 and is calculated as the weighted average of the following parameters:
- ICP Fit
- Scored from 1-10 & carries a weightage of 20%.
- The closer the account is to your ICP compared to the other accounts in your target list, the higher its score will be.
- For instance, in figure 2, the ICP score of Account F is higher than that of Account G because Account F fits the ICP better in comparison to Account G.
- This might involve some subjectivity, but it is an excellent exercise.
- Current Need
- Scored from 1-10 & carries a weightage of 25%.
- If you know that an account is actively evaluating vendors, you will score it higher.
- Opportunity Revenue
- Scored from 1-10 & carries a weightage of 15%
- Higher the ACV, the higher the score.
- Decision-Maker Inclination
- Scored from 1-10 & carries a weightage of 25%.
- Better the relationship with the decision maker, the higher the score.
- Buying history
- Scored from 1-10 & carries a weightage of 25%.
- If there is proof of an account purchasing from you in the past or proof of its investment in solutions like yours, the score would be closer to 9-10.
To show how the template works, we will consider “Account-B”, as shown in figure 2 below. The ICP score for Account B is 9 out of 10. The “current need” score is 8, and so forth. The overall prioritisation score comes out to be 6.35. Similarly, Account C has an overall prioritisation score of 5.6. So, between Account B & Account C, you would be better off pursuing the former.
Part 3: ABM Segmentation
This sub-template will help you further segment your prioritised account into ABM tiers.
If you don’t know the three types of ABM tiers, learn about them here.
We used the priority rank from our previous template for account segmentation and combined it with ACV and sales cycle complexity.
The complexity of the sales cycle can be low, medium, or high. It is an input that your AE would provide.
An account with a high ACV and complexity will need a 1:1 ABM strategy. A low ACV but high complexity account might be good with a 1:few strategy. Finally, an account with a low ACV and low complexity can be targeted with 1:many.
The caveat here is that this is one of the ways to segment your accounts and decide which ABM tier they can be a part of. However, other factors can play a role in choosing the right ABM strategy.
Figure 3 below is a good starter template for segmenting accounts in each ABM tier and identifying the related activities you should be doing.
Part 4: ABM Buying Centres Identification
In this fourth part, we will help you structure your thoughts around different buying centres and departments you would target within your accounts.
Figure 4 shows sample departments that might be involved in the decision-making process. For us to develop custom campaigns for stakeholders in each of these departments, we would want to know their pain points and motivations. We would also like to know the metrics they care about and by whom they are influenced.
For instance, a CRM company would want to ensure they are at par with the best-of-breed solution because that’s what the marketing team might be looking for; they also need to ensure that they are competitively priced to remove any objections from procurement. The CRM should also be easily deployed because that’s the motivation for the technology team.
This sub-template forces you to explore and dig into all this information!
Part 5: Account Intelligence
This one-pager document shown in figure 5 can be used to capture the key data points on each of your target accounts. So, if you have ten target accounts, you will ideally want 10 of these.
The following items will be captured for each account.
- Industry to which the account belongs & industry trends
- Annual revenue & projected revenue for the next six quarters
- Number of employees & the geographical presence of the account
- Org chart/key contact/influencer chart
- Sales Process
- Expected length of the sales cycle
- Strategic initiatives where your products and services could play a part
- Take these from annual reports or social media coverage on the account
- Competitive landscape (Incumbent vendors)
Part 6: ABM Core Team & Budget
This part will help you lay the foundations of your ABM program by capturing core team members and projected expenses! The sub-template in figure 6a identifies the different roles and responsibilities of your ABM team. It serves as a reminder that you must include people from sales, operations and executive sponsors in your marketing efforts under different capacities.
You can customise this "sub-template" based on specific roles and titles in your company
The slide in figure 6b will help you:
- Get an idea of the kind of expenses you'll be spending money on during your ABM campaigns
- Know which marketing and sales activities to focus your ABM budget on for the greatest impact
- Get a full breakdown of spending by month for better planning
- Ensure you're not overlooking any potential expenses
Part 7: ABM Sales Alignment Checklist
Sales and marketing alignment is key to the success of ABM.
Part seven of this template will ensure that this critical fact is always top-of-mind for you. Figure 7 shows a checklist of recommended tasks the marketing team should be doing in collaboration with the sales team to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding responsibilities, metrics, target accounts and campaign themes!
Part 8: Campaign Project Plan
In this part, we will look at a slide showing a simple Gantt chart where you can outline your Account-Based Marketing campaign timelines and key milestones. The snapshot in figure 8 shows some standard components, such as creating relevant content, running ads, direct mail deliveries, and SDR reach-out. Ideally, your campaign project plan should align with the buyer's journey.
Part 9: ABM metrics
This is a simple dashboard template to capture the performance of your ABM campaigns.
- It can be used to show ROI to leadership and regular progress.
- Based on the type of ABM strategy you are following, all or some metrics can be captured in this template.
- Targeted ad impressions
- Number of meetings booked
- Number of executive-level leaders connected
- $ Value of new opportunities created
- Weekly/monthly NPS (for existing accounts only)
- Number of advocates (for existing accounts only)
While the below image is exhaustive in terms of the kind of metrics you should be tracking, it is essential to look at them with some context and dive deeper.
For instance, if you are tracking targeted ad impressions, it's not just about hitting a certain number of impressions for the campaign overall. It's more about how many of those impressions were from the specific accounts in your target list.
Furthermore, if most of your impressions come from just one target account and you have 15 accounts in your list, then you need to look at the “impressions” number with that added consideration.
The above would be true for “clicks” and “engagements” as well!
Remember, your metrics will only make sense if they are being captured for your target account list.
If you want to know more about ABM metrics, check out our detailed blog here!
ABM is complicated. We created this template to add to your list of tools to navigate the waters of Account-Based Marketing.
I hope you save time by leveraging this and if you need guidance on your ABM journey, contact us here!