steps in creating account based marketing strategy

How To Develop An Account-Based Marketing Strategy

It’s generally accepted that B2B marketing is becoming  Account-based marketing (ABM).  According to research by healthlaunchpad and HIMSS conducted late last year, 75% of healthcare technology marketers reported using ABM in 2021, up from 67% in 2020. The research further indicated that 35% of the healthtech Marketers consider ABM as among their most effective strategies. However, the main challenge many firms face is how to develop an Account-based Marketing Strategy.

In this post, I will review the Account-based Marketing Strategy approach we have developed and successfully implemented across multiple clients.

I hope that you will find this approach to ABM Strategy development both simple and systematic.

The Account-based Marketing Strategy Process

steps in developing account-based marketing strategy

We have refined our own account-based marketing strategy process at healthlaunchpad. This is explained in this post that details the steps in the process.

In this post, I want to help you develop your account-based marketing strategy document. We call this the ABM Playbook. This is a simple document that turns your Account-based Marketing strategy into a very specific plan.

If you would like to see a sample of an ABM Playbook, please email me. We don’t share these widely but if you ask nicely 😉 we may send you one.

It makes a good template you can use yourself for your account-based marketing strategy.

Writing Your Account-based Marketing Strategy Playbook

In creating an ABM Playbook for clients, we have developed a simple and systematic process to develop their account-based marketing strategy. In each step, we collaborate with them to create a single deliverable. Each subsequent account-based marketing strategy deliverable is built on the last one.

We typically do this as a project with clients over 4-5 weeks, creating a deliverable or two each week.

Step 1 – Set Your ABM Strategy Goals

You must set very clear and specific goals for your ABM strategy goals. And you have to be hyper-realistic about what you will accomplish with ABM when you get started.

We use the SMART goal framework as this focuses everyone on a specific goal and how it will be achieved. The deliverable is a 1-page SMART Goal sheet.

Step 2 – Define Your Ideal Customer Profile and The Buyer Collective.

The next is helping our clients define their Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).

This is an addressable market segment that you want to target. This short video post, explains how to do that.

The output is a tight definition of the best-fit customers in a way that enables you to develop a Target Account List (TAL). 

The second part of this is defining the Buyer Collective, i.e. the people involved and their roles in the buying process.

Step 3 – Create Your Personas and Their Buyer Journey

After defining your Buyer Collective, the next stage of your ABM strategy creation focuses on creating personas. Typically, we focus on the champion and a key influencer.

We find that a simple 1-page description of the individual’s title, roles, and typical responsibilities suffice. You can download a template here.

The key thing is to define the buyer’s journey. In order to do this, we borrow heavily from the brilliant book by Marcus Sheridan, They Ask You Answer.

We feel that the most important thing to focus on are the questions the buyer has at each step in the journey.

Step 4 –  Create Your Content Plan

Once you have defined the questions the buyer has at each step in the journey, creating a content plan is simply a matter of answering each question with a piece of content.

For example, if a buyer’s question is: “What are the factors that go into a well-designed solution?” You then will want to create a Buyer’s Guide.

For instance, for one of our clients, Bluestream Health, we are targeting developers of HIT apps. We know they are looking for ideas on what to look for in a virtual care solution, so we developed a white paper for developers specifically on this. It has been very successful.

Step 5 – Build Your Engagement Plan

There are many ways to do this. We have developed a proprietary engagement plan that maps the buyer’s journey. If you would like to see it please email me.

The basic premise of any account-based marketing strategy is that buyers go through the following three stages before they engage with you:

  1. Defining the Problem
  2. Defining the Solution
  3. Researching Vendors.

They will use Search Engines, their social network, and social media before they get to you.

We help you map out their journey and determine which demand generation, digital and other tactics to use at each stage.

Step 6 – Establish Measurement Plan

Before you are ready to put all this into a project plan, you need to agree on how you will measure the impact of your ABM Strategy.

There are some unique aspects to the measurement of ABM.  This post goes into detail on this.

Step 7 – Create Your Project Plan

We have created a simple framework for you in the ABM Resource Center, called the ABM Project Planner to help you plan your project. You can download it here.

Step 8 – Organize the Team

This is a critical piece. Your account-based marketing strategy will fail if there is no alignment between sales and marketing.

It is important that you identify who will be on the team and make sure that you have good representation from both sales and marketing. Ideally customer success too.

Creating The Playbook Document For Your ABM Strategy

This is relatively simple. At the end of these 8 steps, you simply take the deliverables from each step and assemble them into a single document.

Hey, presto! You have an ABM Playbook, a nice simple deliverable you can use to communicate your account-based marketing strategy.

What Can You Do As A Next Step?

  1. Check out the ABM Resource Center. It is chock-full of templates, tools, and ideas to get you started on your ABM journey.
  2. Follow me or connect with me on LinkedIn. I publish videos and articles on ABM and healthtech marketing.
  3. Work with me directly. Let’s book a growth session and we can explore how you can develop an account-based marketing strategy. We have multiple ways to work together.
Adam Turinas

Hi, I am Adam Turinas, Healthlaunchpad's founder. I am passionate about helping healthtech firms succeed through better sales and marketing. I have hard-earned experience in healthcare technolgy as I started two healthcare businesses in the US, the first with zero healthcare experience. We sold the second business to a strategic buyer seven years later. Over 9 years building a healhtech businesses, I have learned how to sell and market effectively to healthcare organizations. Prior to this, I spent two decades in digital marketing across healthcare and other consumer industries where I sold over $100 million in products and services to corporations and healthcare orgs. I would love to talk with you. You can book a call with me on the right hand side. Best Adam

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