Many marketing teams have introduced an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy alongside their digital marketing and B2B content marketing strategy to drive acquisition of high-value accounts.

Although this approach can have great success, it can be a struggle to scale ABM, and truly move the needle with account-based marketing programs.

If we turn to technology, we’ll find the answer to this problem. Account-based marketing automation is your secret weapon to taking your ABM program to new heights.

What is ABM automation?

ABM automation uses martech to perform account-based marketing tasks with limited manual intervention.

By minimizing human input, the speed of production increases and the high resource costs typically associated with ABM drop.

This technology-based approach helps businesses to scale ABM and target a high volume of accounts, needing personalized content to do so effectively.

Account-based marketing vs marketing automation

What’s the difference between them? With buzzwords and jargon flying around the conversation, it can seem complex and confusing – but it’s actually pretty straightforward:

  • Account-based marketing starts small and gets bigger
  • Marketing automation starts big and gets smaller

An account-based marketing strategy begins with choosing a small pool of highly researched, highly relevant accounts that would be the best fit for your company. They go on a carefully tailored marketing journey and are closely nurtured by sales teams to maximize the probability of conversion.

These accounts are your perfect customers. You want to create strong relationships with them because you predict they would be very valuable to your company – provided you can bring them on board.

Because of the nature of these accounts, it can take time and patience to close the deal. But the rewards of these relationships are extensive. Once you’ve closed your first few accounts, you can begin to grow your target account list.

Marketing automation, by contrast, involves approaching inbound lead generation with a more hands-off approach. Usually, you acquire leads using a lead magnet that has generic but highly valuable content. Once you’ve captured your leads’ details, they’re entered into automated email nurture streams that bring them through a marketing journey that’s relevant but not highly tailored.

While these leads are moving through their journey, many companies will use a lead scoring model to keep track of engagement levels. If a lead shows high levels of engagement or intent, their score will increase – alerting marketing and/or sales teams that it’s time to ramp up their outreach.

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing account-based marketing vs. marketing automation – it’s all about evaluating what strategy would work best to achieve your commercial objectives. Many teams adopt a hybrid model (some generic marketing automation and some ABM), while others prefer to exclusively follow one approach or the other. Both have their merits and flaws, and both can yield great results when done right.

8 benefits of ABM automation

Introducing automation to your ABM mix brings benefits across the business. Here are 8 ways that ABM automation can improve your account-based marketing strategy:

1. ABM at scale

With automation comes scalability. Relying on tech to take over parts of the ABM process unlocks capacity in your marketing team to work more on lead nurturing, idea generation, refining your ICP, and all the other good stuff that will take your ABM to the next level.

All too often, ABM at scale isn’t attained because so much manpower is going into getting a prospect into the funnel – and successfully leading them out of the other end.

2. Shorter content production cycle

Content production time drops from hours (or even days) to minutes with the right automation technology.

Instead of manually producing ABM collateral that’s tailored for every prospect, most tech lets you link up your prospects’ information, and then does the ABM content personalization work for you.

3. Reduced long-term costs

ABM automation technology can be costly upfront. But reduced manpower and increased scale spell ABM resource savings in the long term.

And because of how lucrative these target accounts are, the return for successfully closing more deals of this nature is significant.

4. More impactful ABM campaigns

With less time spent on personalizing campaigns for each target account, marketing teams can focus time and energy on creating more innovative and impactful ABM campaigns.

Conducting a deeper analysis of your prospects – through data, gathering feedback from sales teams, etc. – will help you to optimize your messaging.

5. Easier collaboration between marketing and sales

Let’s face it, the relationship between marketing and sales teams isn’t typically a fairytale romance. But for ABM to succeed, these teams need to get on the same page.

Automation helps teams collaborate, see each others’ progress and successes, and keep aligned on ABM objectives.

6. Less risk of losing high-intent leads

Streamlining the ABM process with automation ensures fewer high-intent prospects slip through the net. First, use content engagement data to identify high-intent leads.

Automation software can alert you when certain events take place that suggest they’re ready for a conversation e.g. a prospect downloads a white paper you published. As a result, your sales team can react with lightning speed to make sure they reach out to prospects when you have their attention.

7. Stronger connections with customers

Typically, the level of personalization declines as ABM programs begin to scale due to how labor-intensive it can be.

Automation enables you to continue delivering highly relevant content even as your target account list grows – preserving and nurturing the prospect relationships you’ve worked hard to build.

8. Better personalization accuracy

Although we like to think computer brains are no match for our own, there are certain arenas they beat us in – and accuracy is one of them. ABM automation platforms process data much faster and with less error than humans, flattening the risk of sending incorrectly personalized content.

A mistake like that can cost you millions – just look at when Nike called Stephen Curry by the wrong name.

Personalization at scale for 1:Many ABM

Personalization at scale is the key to establishing connections and building relationships with a high volume of target accounts in account-based marketing. And 1:Many ABM (ABM that pursues many accounts) is the ultimate dream for ABM teams.

You need an ABM machine that produces high-quality, personalized content for hundreds, if not thousands, of target accounts to get there. But why is it that so many teams struggle to make that dream a reality?

The answer is simple; they don’t invest in automation.

Companies are understandably hesitant to invest in new technologies like automated personalization because of cost and the risk of low adoption rates. But the unavoidable truth is that it’s very difficult to scale personalization without it.

Click to read The data behind personalization | Turtl Labs + Curious Reader

As you scale personalization for 1:Many ABM, you’ll need to either grow your team or put your faith in ABM automation.

  • Growing your team alongside your target account list to keep up with demand can be an expensive approach. It also may not be an effective long-term strategy for your company.
  • Taking on new technology is a significant immediate cost, but long-term improvements to productivity and efficiency make it worthwhile. You’ll see ROI on ABM automation in a shorter timeframe than if you opt to increase headcount.

Choosing an easy-to-use, performance-focused tool for ABM automation minimizes the difficulties involved with taking on new tech.

Turtl’s Personalization Engine combines automation with analytics and integrations to simplify personalization at scale. By bringing automated personalization on board, ABM at scale can be a dream come true.

5 steps to ABM automation

ABM automation can take a little bit of time to implement but when you’re up and running, you’ll benefit from serious resource savings. To make the transition to automation seamless and successful, here are some steps to follow:

1. Define your ICP and buyer journey

We get it, you’re probably super excited to get in on the automation action. But patience young grasshopper – before you start building, you must lay a solid foundation.

In our case, the foundation should be a deep knowledge of our market and our audience.

Spend time with ABM data to design your ideal customer profile and the journey they’ll take from lead to customer. The best points to introduce automation become clear when you know these.

2. Choose the right tech

ABM automation is only as good as the tech infrastructure it’s hosted in. There isn’t a perfect formula for a great ABM toolkit. You need to consider the objectives of both your ABM team and the company as a whole when making purchasing decisions. But some combination of ABM software, automation software, and a CRM is a safe bet.

Linking these together gives you a cohesive view of your ABM landscape, and lets you scale ABM with ease.

3. Create personalized campaigns

You know who your audience is, you know what kind of content they want, and you’ve chosen a content creation platform and ABM automation tools – now it’s time to create campaigns.

As with your usual ABM marketing campaigns, develop content with your ICP in mind. Include messaging that focuses on specific pain points and solving key issues faced by target accounts. Then, use ABM automation software, like Turtl, to personalize your content at scale for individual accounts.

4. Analyze and monitor performance

Don’t skip out on tracking your ABM program’s performance, and monitoring its impact. Data and analytics will show you what’s going right, where you can improve, which accounts were converted, etc. Using automation to feed these insights into reports and dashboards gives teams the power to easily check on progress. This helps them to strategize their next move instead of wasting time deciphering raw data.

5. Optimize content

Be sure to close the content cycle by using the insights you gathered to optimize. By shaping future content to respond to what you learned, you can improve brand perception and deepen relationships with prospects. Refine your ABM campaigns to strengthen messaging and scale even more relevant content for target accounts.

How to personalize content at scale in Turtl

You can personalize content at scale quickly and easily with Turtl’s Personalization Engine. Here’s how it’s done:

  • You’ll start by creating a Master Doc: This is a document that hosts all the information you potentially want to send to prospects. The Master Doc supports a modular content structure, so you can easily switch in and out content to make personalized marketing collateral. Using this document, you can pick which content to include for personalized documents.
  • Next, choose what parts to personalize: Turtl offers features like tokens, page rules, and personalization forms to allow you to select which information on the Master Doc can be personalized.
  • Then, personalize Turtl Docs to your heart’s content: Now that you’ve set up your Master Doc and selected what can be personalized, you can start creating personalized content at scale! There’s a number of ways that you can do this:- Hook your database up to Turtl to generate personalizations with CRM data
    – Upload a CSV file to create personalization in batches
    – Use an internal form to create a small number of personalizations at a time
    – Include a public form to let readers personalize their own Docs
  • Finally, use analytics to refine your content: Not only does Turtl enable you to personalize at scale, it delivers high-level analytics and insights so you can see how your content is performing. What page did they spend the longest on? Which CTAs did they click? Which videos did they watch? Find all this out and more using the Analytics Dashboard.

Turtl customer StrategicABM used our Personalization Engine to drop bounce rates on ABM campaigns by 10% in just 2 months – and now use Turtl across their business to wow prospects. Take a look at their story.

Click to read strategicabm + Turtl | Case study

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