Account based marketing (ABM) is having its moment in the sun. While not a new marketing concept by any means, ABM has seen a resurgence in recent years, thanks in part to improvements in technology which have made the strategy feasible for small and midsize businesses. Sangram Vajre, co-founder and CMO of Terminus, refers to this as a democratization of ABM, and this democratization is resulting in more and more companies incorporating ABM into their marketing strategies.

Account based marketing and inbound marketing have traditionally been seen as very different, incompatible marketing approaches. Historically this makes sense, as inbound's rise in popularity was propelled by the idea that marketing needed to evolve in order to see success with smarter and more attuned target audiences. ABM was the old way of doing things, while inbound was presented as the modern mindset needed to drive marketing efforts.

Not surprisingly, as ABM began to reemerge as a viable strategy for many companies, the old narrative that the two methodologies aren’t compatible also returned. However, this narrative is based on dated comparisons. ABM in 2019 is quite different from ABM in 2006. Today, ABM and inbound can coexist and complement each other. In fact, the combination is encouraged!

Since its founding, HubSpot has led the way in driving adoption of the inbound methodology, but like ABM, HubSpot today looks very different than it did in 2006. The idea that HubSpot can’t support ABM efforts is as outdated as the idea that companies can’t incorporate both inbound and ABM strategies.

With all that in mind, how can companies leverage HubSpot for ABM?

Before digging into the specific tools within HubSpot that can be used to assist with ABM efforts, let’s pause to evaluate the different steps that companies will walk through when setting up, implementing, and executing account based marketing.

Up front, marketing and sales teams will need to work together to define who you want to focus on, identify the accounts that fit that criteria, and then identify the contacts within those accounts that you plan to engage. From there, it's all about creating content, getting that content in front of your identified targets, and refining your strategy over time until you close the sale.

With this in mind, let's see how HubSpot can help within the three different stages of account based marketing: define, identify, and engage.

 

Define

HubSpot company records: Use your existing data to begin to define your best fit targets. Generally, new target accounts for ABM are found by using existing customer data to first define the right industries and identify companies within those industries. Your current customers will give you an idea of the types of organizations that have been most successful with your product or service. 

Using HubSpot's company records, marketing and sales teams can begin to identify target accounts by looking at your existing customers, seeing who has been most successful, and looking for commonalities between them. These commonalities will be helpful when the time comes to build our ideal customer profile (ICP). 

Access Your Companies in HubSpot

HubSpot Insights: HubSpot is able to infuse valuable data into nearly every company you’ve added to the system through HubSpot Insights. By adding a company domain name, HubSpot will reference both internal and third-party data to push information into a company’s properties like name, industry, number of employees, location, annual revenue, etc. It’s a big time-saver when defining company traits and starting to identify target accounts.

Personas and custom filtered views for contacts: ABM focuses heavily on ideal customer profiles, but it is important to create buyer personas as well; after all, you’re still marketing and selling to the people within the company, not the company itself. Personas can be created and tracked within HubSpot and applied to future prospects for use in future ABM campaigns.

 

Identify

Custom properties and target account lists: Once you’ve defined the company criteria for your ICP and then defined the ideal buyer personas for the contacts within ICPs, you’ll have a good foundation for creating a list of target accounts.

After identifying your list of target accounts, you’ll want to make sure these companies are added into your HubSpot portal if they aren’t already and then tracked by creating a new custom company property that you can then filter by. The use of custom properties like this will be important throughout your ABM efforts and HubSpot usage, as it will be necessary for the use of active lists, audience syncing, and reporting.

Integrations: As HubSpot continues to expand its integration ecosystem, more and more ABM-focused softwares now connect directly to HubSpot. This includes predictive identification software that can assist with building out lists of both target accounts and the contacts within those companies and can sync that information back into HubSpot. These integration options are continuing to expand, so check out the HubSpot App Marketplace for the latest options available (which you can now filter by account based marketing).

Lead scoring: Once you’ve identified a list of target accounts, HubSpot’s lead scoring tool can be used to identify and prioritize both individual contacts and companies for outreach efforts. Marketing Hub Enterprise customers have the ability to create multiple unique scoring options, which is helpful for instances where ABM efforts are targeting different regions, personas, etc.

HubSpot lead scores can also be leveraged to build reports that show company scores. This visibility into the number of contacts engaged and positive scores helps provide a sense of the engagement level of each company in your CRM, and from there helps prioritize outreach focus.

 

Engage

Social monitoring and paid ads: Using social media is an essential part of ABM. HubSpot’s social monitoring tool can be used to follow identified accounts and listen in on known contacts within those accounts to better personalize future messaging.

Paid ads are likewise an important component of most ABM strategies. A big tenet of ABM is the idea of “land and expand,” and leveraging HubSpot’s ads tool provides the opportunity to run retargeted ads on Facebook and Google to engage with new contacts who fit your ICP/buyer personas. It likewise allows you to pull identified targets back to built conversion points if they don’t close immediately.

Smart content and personalization: At this point, you have a list of target accounts and a sense of who your target personas are within those accounts. This means you should have the information needed to begin to personalize the content used in your marketing initiatives. This is where inbound marketing and account based marketing really align well.

There are a number of ways HubSpot can be used to display customized content for specific audiences, including the use of smart content added to website or landing pages, smart CTAs to promote different content offers and redirect to different pages based on who is viewing them, and personalization tokens added to emails to make outreach more impactful.

Workflows: HubSpot’s automation can be leveraged in a number of ways, both to proactively reach out to contacts associated with your target account lists and to manage instances when accounts reach out to you on their own.

We can automate personalized follow-ups sent to contacts in target accounts based on the action they’ve taken (e.g., a workflow specific to contacts within a specific targeted account who download a certain gated content offer or visit a high-value page).

We can use workflows to manage internal tasks, such as automatically assigning new accounts to owners based on agreed upon criteria. We can also use workflows in conjunction with other HubSpot integrations to incorporate other ABM software options into your process.

HubSpot now has company-based workflows, so automation is no longer limited to being built on the contact level.

The above is just a sample of the many ways HubSpot can help with account based marketing. We’ve created a video on HubSpot and ABM, which goes into more detail on how our software can be applied to ABM efforts and expands upon other tools available that can be leveraged for ABM, including HubSpot Video, Service Hub, and custom reporting.

Just as ABM and HubSpot have continued to evolve over time, how HubSpot can support ABM efforts is also continuing to expand. We encourage you to talk to your main point of contact at HubSpot to see how we can help with your ABM efforts.

Want to connect with others on HubSpot tips, tricks, and updates? Head over to the HubSpot Community to join a conversation or start one of your own.

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Originally published Oct 10, 2019 10:00:00 AM, updated November 22 2019