Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is one of the hottest topics for B2B technology marketers: get it right and the results can be almost magical. Since it was pioneered by the ITSMA, ABM has grown in adoption and impact.

The ITSMA developed a seven-step process for ABM:

  1. Knowing what is driving the account
  2. Playing to the client’s needs
  3. Mapping and profiling the stakeholders
  4. Developing targeted value propositions
  5. Planning integrated sales and marketing campaigns
  6. Executing integrated sales and marketing campaigns
  7. Evaluating results and updating plans

Much of this language is familiar to marketers, something that I believe can make us a little too complacent. Specifically, it’s too easy to rush through step 3, mapping and profiling the stakeholders.

Today campaigns are generally based around personas: you might have one for the engineer making the technical decision, another for his boss and another for the purchasing team. They all need to be communicated to in different ways, with different information. With account-based marketing, however, you need to go one level deeper to ensure that you maximise the return your campaign will generate.

Once you move to one-to-one account-based marketing, where a single customer or prospect is the focus, these personas become real people. Of course, they will retain the characteristics of their persona – at least, they will do if you got the persona right – but they adopt individual traits that can be just as important as the persona and role.

A persona to a marketer is very different to a sales persona. While marketers consider motivators and behaviour that is implied by the role, sales people are much blunter. You’re likely to hear your sales team refer to the customer’s decision makers as, “he’s great: he loves us. She doesn’t like us though: she prefers competitor X and so she is a blocker.” This level of understanding of the individuals in an account is one of the keys to unlocking the magic of ABM.

It’s pretty obvious that people who are championing your organisation with a customer will want very different communications to those that are blockers. ABM gives you the opportunity to get this granular and customise the communications based not just on the individual’s persona, but also their opinions about your company.

So how do you deliver customised messages without making everything a time-consuming, manual process? If you are using HubSpot, then OrgChartHub is a fabulous solution, and something that would win our ABM Product of the Year award, if we gave out awards! This simple tool lets you build org charts of your clients and prospects in HubSpot, tag individuals with their sales personas and, providing you are on a paid plan, create smart lists to deliver content – from emails to landing pages – that is customised to that persona. It doesn’t impact the operation of marketing personas, which is a great feature built-in to HubSpot, but rather sits with those personas, allowing you even more granularity and control.

If you’re struggling to get ABM to deliver the results you want and have some good sales insight that can be used in the campaign, then perhaps sales personas are what you need. I’d love to help you enhance your campaign – send me an email and let’s talk.