How To Create An Effective Account-Based Marketing Funnel In 6 Steps?

Published by Yash Chawlani on

 

What is an Account-Based Marketing Funnel?

An Account-Based Marketing funnel starts by identifying target accounts and ends with converting them into customers. This is a flipped version of the traditional funnel.

 

It wasn’t so long ago that every B2B business was focused on generating leads. A focusing on specified approaches and activities that added to revenue generation soon came to light. On came account-based marketing as a viable alternative to traditional lead generation.

 

With ABM, B2B businesses were targeting accounts and pursuing quality rather than quantity. This approach was not only efficient but also produce better results in terms of revenue.

 

Reports suggest that 6.8 stakeholders are involved in making a B2B purchase decision. Targeting and engaging with so many people for a single deal is only possible with account-based marketing.

 

 

What is an Account-Based Marketing Funnel?

In essence, an ABM funnel is similar to any traditional sales or marketing funnel. It is a framework of activities tied into one another. These activities start with identifying the target accounts and end with converting them into customers.

 

The difference is in how this entire process is structured and functions. The core objective with ABM is to target specific desirable accounts and tries to convert them. Thus, the ABM funnel incorporates activities that facilitate the completion of this objective.

 

To start with, target accounts are selected. This can be done with a collaboration between the sales and marketing teams.

 

Accounts are targeted based on how well they match your B2B business’s ideal customer profile, the value, and quality of the account, and ease of conversion.

 

Source: equinetmedia.com

 

A strategic marketing plan is set in and executed. Based on the target account and its identified contacts, marketing efforts are tailored. The contacts are exposed to personalized marketing content to ensure you capture their attention and make the leads warm.

 

The next step involves engaging with these contacts and establishing a positive relationship with them. Once the above steps have been completed, the sales team can make their approach. When all of the above steps are planned and executed properly, these leads can take the usual route to conversion.

 

As this approach relies on quality rather than quantity, revenue generation is maximized while minimizing costs.

 

How does an ABM Funnel look?

As mentioned before, an ABM funnel is similar to any sales or marketing funnel. However, in terms of the framework and structure, it is entirely different.

 

Take any standard sales funnel, flip it vertically and you have an ABM funnel.

 

Source: getvoip.com

 

 

The targeted approach of ABM is visualized in the ABM funnel. Narrow at the top, this approach is a complete deviation from traditional marketing.

 

All revenue-generating teams make a combined effort at identifying the target high-value accounts. Being a good fit for your B2B business’s ICP raises the chances of the conversion right at the initial stage.

 

The next step involves identifying the stakeholders of the purchase decision and focusing your marketing activities on them. Aided with personalization and relevant content, a positive impression is created on these contacts.

 

Having these contacts aware of your brand and the value proposition of your products makes the job of the sales team easier. The conversion is not only ensured but requires fewer resources and generates big returns in terms of revenue.

 

This doesn’t stop at conversion. Building a long-term positive relationship with the account and contacts therein is also an objective.

 

More gains can be made by assured reorders and asking to be referred to contacts of other high-value accounts.

 

With the structure and function of an ABM funnel understood, let us understand the characteristics of an ABM funnel.

 

 

Characteristics of an ABM Funnel

While the ABM funnel diagram exhibits a lot of its characteristics, the details of it are left out. Here we will see the characteristics of an ABM funnel at each of its stages.

 

Source: drift.com

 

 

A Targeted Approach

A traditional funnel tries to gather as many leads as it can. An ABM funnel takes a different approach by identifying and targeting the most suitable and high-value accounts.

 

This is evident with the ABM funnel’s narrow top. A targeted approach produces better results as accounts are selected by filtering them against your ICP. This saves a lot of resources and marketing efforts by only targeting the best suitable accounts.

 

 

Identifying Decision Makers

Once a particular account has been selected, all the key decision-makers are identified. These decision-makers can belong to different departments and work at different levels within their organization. As a result, the ABM funnel expands.

 

Information is collected about these decision-makers that enable all the necessary processes during the next stage in the sales funnel. The information gathered is validated and readied for formulating marketing content.

 

 

Targeting Contacts with Personalized Marketing Content

All the information collected in the previous stage is used to provide a personalized marketing experience to all the identified decision-makers. This improves the customer experience and raises the chances of conversion. They are slowly warmed up.

 

Tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator are commonly used to identify accounts and various stake holders. A strategy is also used where accounts from your website are identified and turned into ABM opportunities.

 

Multi-stakeholder Outreach

The reception of personalized marketing content by the contacts is gauged. Based on the insights the personalization is tweaked. Once leads are warmed up, the sales team can start engaging with these contacts.

 

Engaging with these contacts helps build a positive relationship and understanding their pain points before going for the pitch. With more activities and individuals involved at this stage, the ABM funnel further expands.

 

 

Conversion and Building Long-term Relationships

Using all the advancements made until the previous stage, the sales team can act on all the identified opportunities and make a sales pitch.

 

With all intent and account data in possession, sales teams can understand intent, gauge pain points, and provide the solution. The next step post-conversion is to build a long-term relationship with the account and consolidate customer retention and be open to opportunities.

 

 

Defining Stages and Creating an ABM Funnel

Source: engagebay.com

 

Stage 1: Identifying High-value Target Accounts

To start with, you will have to account for inputs from all the revenue-generating teams in your business. These will be regarding creating an ICP for your firm that will be used for selecting and targeting high-value accounts.

 

This is a classic revenue marketing approach where sales and marketing work towards the common goal of revenue.

 

 

Stage 2: Identifying Key Internal Decision Maker

The purchase decision will involve multiple stakeholders. All of them will be targeted and engaged with relevant. Based on the nature of your offerings, you’ll have to identify key decision-makers within a targeted account.

 

 

Stage 3: Personalizing Marketing

Once the key Internal decision-makers have been identified, collect and analyze all available data about them. This will aid marketing personalization.

 

Accordingly, you can tailor the message, marketing content, and channels for delivery, that best suit the preferences of the intended contact for the targeted account.

 

Create content that will talk to each contact about alleviating their pain points and raising the efficiency of the business process. This targeted approach will create positive impressions for your offerings in all contacts.

 

 

Stage 4: Executing a Coordinated Campaign

With content and strategy finalized, what remains is the execution. This campaign needs to be executed in coordination with all revenue-generating departments. With everyone in sync, the efforts can be focused on converting the target account.

 

The information about the contacts can be used to match them with the most capable sales executive. Ensuring this results in proper engagement and enhancement in the contacts’ experience with your firm.

 

This positive experience combined with earlier buildup adds significantly to your chances of closing the deal.

 

 

Stage 5: Building a Healthy Relationship with the Account

Closing the deal is not the end of the process. Retaining existing customers is as important as bringing in new ones. Considering the high ticket values of the B2B sector, every retained account adds significantly to your revenue.

 

So it needs to be ensured that you’re available to be heard by existing customers and engage with them regularly. This nurtures a long-term relationship and might present more opportunities for your firm in the future.

 

 

Stage 6: Measure, Analyze, Optimize

Creating a good ABM funnel will benefit you in the short term. However, in the long run, you will need to make changes to it to suit the prevailing market condition.

 

For this, you will need to measure the performance of your ABM funnel periodically. You will need a different set of KPIs as the standard marketing ones do not work here.

 

Once you have suitable KPIs, measure the performance periodically and make adjustments to your ABM funnel to keep it in line with the desired level of performance.

 

 

To Conclude With

Account-based marketing is a viable acquisition model for businesses targeting ACV deals. The leads are highly qualified and engaged through a predictable sales and marketing aligned model and converted into customers. An ABM funnel is pretty straightforward and can easily be implemented by businesses who are trying to use this model.

 

 

 

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Categories: Marketing

Yash Chawlani

Yash Chawlani is a Freelance Content Marketing Strategist who is known by his personal brand Merlin. He specializes in SEO and Social Media and helps B2B and SaaS companies out there with his top-notch content strategies. In his spare time, you can either find him in the gym or on the football field.

Nilangan Ray, Marketing Head Nilangan from Salespanel

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