Your approach to ABM can be as low- or high-tech as you like (or as your budget allows). The level of effort you need to expend to orchestrate campaigns does tend to be inversely proportional to the sophistication of your ABM tech stack, especially if you’re targeting more than a dozen or so accounts.
At minimum, you need a way to host digital content and a way to keep track of contacts and accounts. This could simply be a function of your website and CRM. Many organizations also use a marketing automation platform such as HubSpot, which has a built-in CRM and offers additional ABM tools.
The rest of your tech requirements are dependent on the content of your strategy. To deliver account-based advertising (ABA) — digital ads that are only shown to members of your target accounts — you can use LinkedIn, but keep in mind that there is a minimum audience size of 300 on that platform. This isn’t a problem if you’re planning to run one-to-many or one-to-few campaigns, but one-to-one campaigns could be difficult to orchestrate if you’re advertising to organizations with fewer than 300 employees on LinkedIn.
For ultra-targeted ABA campaigns, including ad campaigns with no minimum audience sizes or campaigns on premium channels like connected TVs and streaming audio, you will need to invest in an ABM platform with advanced ad serving capabilities.
Many ABM practitioners make use of intent data to help decipher where target accounts are in their buying journeys and what kinds of messaging might best resonate with prospects. For example, you could use an intent data platform to find out whether a specific target account is searching for information that correlates with the awareness stage of the journey, e.g. “(industry you serve) solution for (problem you solve)” or if they’ve advanced to the consideration stage of the journey and are investigating your direct competitors. Intent data can be purchased as a standalone service or integrated into a larger ABM platform.
Depending on the ABM platform you select, you can get access to other ABM capabilities like:
- Account-based live website chat
- Technographic information
- Automated campaign orchestration
- Predictive analytics
- Dynamic ad, email, and website personalization
- Automated sales alerts, e.g. alerts when a prospect is visiting your website or has reached a minimum threshold of engagement with campaign assets
- Revenue attribution and/or multi-touch attribution reporting
- One- or two-way integration with your marketing automation and CRM platforms
The costs of an ABM platform can vary depending on how much functionality you need, but expect to pay $30k/year (USD) on the low end. Full-featured ABM platforms with all of the above functionality can cost $70k-$100k or more per year. Your media spend is on top of platform costs, but you’ll get far more bang for your advertising buck if you’re not wasting budget on irrelevant accounts or out-of-sync messaging.
One of the most valuable features of an ABM platform is the ability to measure how target accounts are engaging with your campaign assets, even if they are conducting anonymous research.
Consider this example: you launch a display ad campaign pointing to a gated whitepaper and within the first week, your ad has 60 clicks but zero conversions. Without the insight provided by ABM technology, your team may start to suspect that the whitepaper isn’t resonating with your target audience, but you have no way of knowing for sure whether the clicks are even coming from relevant accounts.
With the right ABM technology, however, you could deploy the same campaign pointing to the same whitepaper, targeting only 15 high-priority accounts and removing the conversion requirement. A week later you see the same 60 clicks and zero conversions, but you can tell that two of your target accounts have interacted with the whitepaper a dozen times each and then visited several high-value pages on your website. With that information, you could then activate your sales team to begin targeted outreach to those accounts with messaging directly related to the content of the whitepaper and the site pages they viewed.