B2B Marketers are always looking for the “Next Best Thing” in the field to advance their Marketing tactics and outcomes. Sometimes though, the next best thing isn’t new at all but comes from recognizing and combining the strengths of already known tried-and-true tactics.
Inbound marketing is one of the most foundational forms of marketing. Inbound flows through a flywheel of attract, engage and delight, using methods to organically bring in new leads and engage them with content, social media, SEO, and other organic resources. The focus is not to interrupt your target audience, as is done with outbound marketing, and to nurture every lead equally through their behaviors.
This specific group is deemed most likely to convert and therefore has the greatest value to your company.
Account-Based Marketing, on the other hand, places all of your marketing focus on identifying and hyper-targeting a specific buyer persona. This specific group is deemed most likely to convert and therefore has the greatest value to your company. ABM requires much more personalization and customization from the sales and marketing team to focus the promotion on the targeted persona.
So what happens when you combine these strategies for a new hybrid marketing strategy? Well, that’s where the magic begins.
Building the Foundation with SMarketing Cohesion
The first step in creating a blended strategy between Inbound and Account-Based Marketing is creating an alignment between the Sales and Marketing teams, or as we call it, “SMarketing.” SMarketing is about creating a cohesive strategy taking care of the customer journey from when they start as a contact until they complete the sales process. It is critical to have clear communication between the sales and marketing teams, especially with a clearly defined handoff when the lead moves from marketing ownership to sales. This is done through a SMarketing playbook. The playbook outlines the protocols between the two teams, making sure that they are targeting and retrieving the correct information, allowing for the most efficient processes.
Building your Blended ABM List
Once your sales and marketing teams are aligned they can begin creating a list for a blended ABM and Inbound strategy. By utilizing the existing database and leads from your HubSpot CRM and HubSpot ABM, you are able to hyper-target companies and contacts that you want to be included in your list. Going beyond your Inbound Strategy with a greater understanding of the specific buyer persona you are targeting, you can expand your list to companies that are not currently in your database. Try to keep the list limited to your top tier targets, and expand as you see results.
By utilizing the existing database and leads from your HubSpot CRM and HubSpot ABM, you are able to hyper-target companies and contacts that you want to be included in your list.
What Content is Best For Your Target?
Using the wrong type of content to attract your audience is one of the biggest mistakes made when moving from solely Inbound tactics to Blended Inbound and Account-Based Marketing tactics. Just because a piece of content did well in the past, doesn’t mean it’s what your target wants to see. If they don’t like infographics, don’t make an infographic. If they don’t like webinars, don’t build a webinar.
The information you received from Inbound Marketing can give you the insights you need to find your target ABM audience. With a blended strategy, you have the ability to look at those contacts and companies that are already in your database and derive what they like and where to reach them. Odds are that you will find more relevant contacts and companies where you found the first. But don’t put all of your eggs in one basket until you’ve tested different channels and content for the best possible results.
The information you received from Inbound Marketing can give you the insights you need to find your target ABM audience.
Once you know who your target is, it’s time to speak their language and align with their interests. For example, if you are targeting a company that is proud of its American heritage, include that in your directed materials to them. There’s no point in sending a piece of content you know will not resonate. Speaking to your audience how they like to be spoken to leads to both a stronger overall relationship as well as stronger brand loyalty.
Building Your Blended ABM Flow
While most marketers turn to LinkedIn for their ABM Marketing, when you create a strategy with Blended Inbound many more doors open for you to use. It is true that LinkedIn is the best place to hyper-target the exact companies and people you are looking for, but breaking down the flow for a more personalized experience will give you better overall results. This includes targeting on multiple platforms from different directions and building a map of the target's journey depending on their behaviors. The goal is to personalize each action as much as possible for that contact’s actions. An overview of an ABM campaign journey can look like something as follows:
While resources should be personalized to the specific person’s behaviors, some assets that are normally used on an ordinary Inbound Flow can be used as long as segmentation is set up between them. This process involves many team members planning out each player’s part of the flow (which is why having a SMarketing playbook is so important), but the results are definitely worth it.
So What’s the Benefit of Blending Inbound and ABM?
While it may take some effort to put together, by blending Inbound and Account-Based Marketing tactics, you are creating a whole new world of opportunity for your marketing reach and capabilities. The combo over time will build a steady stream of targeted leads, with Inbound acting as the foundation and ABM as the accelerator. Over time your marketing team and efforts will also become more efficient and directed to the right audience with the right types of content.
by Leora Pudell on July 13, 2020
Leora is a digital marketing specialist at Penguin Strategies. She is passionate about digital marketing, marketing automation, and is always looking to learn new things in the field.