87% of the companies who run account-based marketing initiatives say they outperform other marketing campaigns in delivering ROI
The value of contracts closed using ABM campaigns is also significant with 91% of marketers saying their average contract is valued at over $51,000. Of those, one-third estimate their average contract value stands at over $100,000.
If you’re looking to reap incredible results like these, consider dedicating resources to account-based marketing segmentation. Because segmentation marketing focuses on creating uber-relevant marketing campaigns for each segment, you’re able to drive excellent ROI.
In this guide, we share how to segment your ABM list and ways to market to each target group.
What is account-based marketing segmentation?
Account-based marketing segmentation involves dividing your account list into meaningful segments, enabling you to target them with highly relevant messaging that speaks to each segment’s specific pain points.
For example, an ABM team may segment their exhaustive list of potential customers into 2-3 groups.
Why should you segment your target account lists
ABM segmentation might sound like extra work, but the positives outweigh the negatives — making it worth your time.
By dividing your target accounts into separate groups based on factors like where they are in the sales funnel, you can take advantage of the following benefits:
- Better personalization: By dividing accounts that share certain characteristics into segments, you can create more targeted marketing campaigns. That allows you to consider everything about the buyer — from their intent and engagement with your business to their pain points. As a result, your efforts offer more value and deeply resonate with target accounts, driving more engagement and, with it, results.
- More strategic use of resources: Account-based marketing segmentation helps you plan how much time and resources to dedicate to each segment. This minimizes wasted resources and maximizes the value you offer.
- Improved ROI: “[ABM segmentation] helps you to target your marketing and sales efforts more effectively, resulting in increased ROI,” notes Will Yang, Head of Growth at Instrumentl. To top that, strategically using resources assists in their efficient use, contributing as another factor that improves ROI.
- Gain a competitive edge: Even though building an account-based marketing program gives you a leg up over your competitors, segmenting your account list will help you get way ahead of the game. In fact, account-based marketing segmentation is a surefire way to win over competitors since few companies take the extra step of segmenting their list of target accounts— even if they use ABM campaigns.
How to create your own ABM segmentation
Thanks to hyper-personalization, segmenting your ABM program helps you close more deals and drive better ROI.
The best part? You can use segmentation to achieve these benefits whether you’re creating your first account-based marketing program or you’ve been running ABM campaigns for some time now.
Simply follow these three steps to create your ABM segmentation strategy:
Step 1: Divide your total accounts list into target market segments
Your total accounts list includes all the accounts that you think could be potential customers. These are accounts that you’ll reach out to with your marketing content — using little to no personalization. The reason? You want these accounts to be aware of your business, but you won’t be actively nurturing them.
Divide this list of total accounts into a list of target market accounts that align with your ideal customer profile (ICP) but that aren’t yet ready to buy. Create a separate list for each market you’re targeting.
Aim to nurture the target market segments on this list without actively pursuing them.
Step 2: Segment target market accounts into target accounts
Next, create another segment from the target market accounts list you made in step one. This time, include companies that are aligned with your ICP and, unlike your first list, are ready to buy in this segment. You can call it target accounts.
Because this segment is ready to make a purchasing decision, you’ll want to actively nurture the accounts within it by creating hyper-personalized content and proactively working on relationship building.
Step 3: Create a segment of priority accounts from your target accounts segment
If you wind up with a big target accounts list, you can segment it even more by creating a priority accounts list. This group should include accounts that you’ve already built relationships with and are ready to buy.
Since the priority accounts list is more likely to convert than any other segment, dedicate the most resources to it and offer the highest level of personalization.
Isaac Ware, Director of Demand Generation at UserGems suggests you address purchase objections your priority segment may have to help them make a decision. “Software purchases are always a huge decision, especially for smaller companies, so the more we can ease their mind, provide examples of success, and facilitate the conversation between them and their sister companies, the more value we can provide them,” Ware explains.
Tips for an effective ABM segmentation strategy
An ABM strategy is only as effective as the focused effort you put into it. So after you’ve segmented your account list, stick with these proven tips to failproof your account-based marketing program:
1. Segment only if needed
In other words, “Don’t segment for the sake of segmenting” as Ware puts it.
“Marketing is always trying to walk a fine line between helpful and creepy when it comes to highly segmented targeting.” So it’s important to think of your prospective buyer when you’re segmenting your ABM strategy.
Ask yourself: will ABM segmentation provide more value to the buyer? Segment only when the answer is a resounding yes.
Ware explains how we do it here: “For UserGems, we focus on only segmenting when it can provide additional value.
“With our main ABM motion, we are showcasing our job change tracking by segmenting down to 1:1 in order to serve a job change to the target company — providing value in the form of a ‘free lead’.
“In our 1:many approach, we are again making sure we provide value. For instance, we target companies that share the same investor, sister companies. We want to share something that is working for a company similar to them.”
2. Use account-based scoring to create segments
Account-based scoring, or predictive lead scoring, is an AI-generated score that powerful CRMs allot to accounts based on the following factors:
- How well the account aligns with your ICP
- How the account is interacting with your marketing campaigns (to determine their buying intent)
- How accounts similar to the target account have converted in the past
After analyzing your accounts, the CRM gives a score to each one based on how likely they are to convert. “Use account-based scoring to rate and rank your target accounts,” recommends Yang from Instrumentl. “This will help you to prioritize your efforts and focus on the accounts that are most likely to close. This will also help you to keep track of your progress and performance over time.”
Put another way, account-based scoring will help you create segments by identifying accounts you need to nurture, target with personalized content, and add to your priority accounts segment.
3. Map out organizational structures for target and priority accounts
Work on mapping out accounts’ structure so that reps can start building relationships within the company.
This is crucial for sales multithreading — nurturing different people from the same account so you have various contacts at a single company. This is super helpful in cases where a single point of contact leaves the company.
Multithreading is also valuable because decisions are no longer democratized. Often, various team members have a say in which software to invest in. When all of them or, at least, the majority, speak in your tool’s favor, it’s an effective way to close more deals.
Mapping out account structures is also helpful for identifying ex-customers who have used your tool (and, hopefully, loved it) in their previous job so you can reconnect with them to find warm paths into a new account.
If you’re using UserGems for tracking customer job changes though, you can automatically get the names of ex-customers in your inbox. Then, you can target them right away to get into a new account without having to track job changes manually.
4. Focus on making it actionable for the buyer
Your ABM segmentation strategy will deliver the best possible ROI when you don’t stop at segmenting alone. Instead, go on to use different marketing tactics to attract, engage, and convert each segment.
For instance, build awareness within your total accounts list and create actionable content for the marketing channels these accounts use to get in front of them.
Similarly, for nurturing target market accounts segment, create content such as webinars and playbooks that address their specific pain points. Other marketing tactics to use here include paid social ads, paid advertising, and hosting in-person events.
For engaging the next segment (target accounts), which is made up of the accounts that are ready to buy, use personalized marketing tactics. For instance, personalized ads, targeted emails, and offering discounts to events such as product-based webinars.
As for the last segment, (priority accounts), take your personalization level up a notch by creating customized content like personalized product demo videos and making 1:1 marketing support available.
While sales reps should focus on building strong relationships with both target accounts and priority accounts, you’ll typically want to spend more time on priority accounts because they’re more likely to convert.
5. Use the right tools to speed up results
While account-based marketing segmentation delivers amazing results, it also requires more effort than other sales strategies. Thankfully, using tools to automate tasks related to ABM segmentation saves time and resources — all while allowing you to reap the rewards of segmenting your accounts.
Here are some of the tools you should consider:
- A powerful CRM with predictive lead scoring. Not only will this software help you create more focused account segments, but it’ll also improve coordination between sales and marketing teams.
- Sales prospecting tools like ZoomInfo. ZoomInfo helps you identify accounts that are a good fit for your product. Along with similar sales intelligence tools, it tracks accounts at the beginning of their buyer’s journey so you can reach out before competitors do. As an added bonus, ZoomInfo also assists in mapping out accounts’ org structures.
- Account tracking tools like UserGems. UserGems helps with pipeline generation by giving you a list of warm accounts to target. It identifies any previous users in new accounts, which is a great way to generate warm leads who are likely to convert.
Make ABM segmentation work for you
Account-based marketing segmentation helps you create hyper-personalized marketing campaigns that deeply resonate with target accounts. And, it allows you to determine how many resources to dedicate to each segment, reducing resource waste and increasing ROI.
However, ABM segmentation only works if you’re focused on providing value for prospective buyers and building relationships with them.
Luckily, using the right account-based marketing tools can help create a well-defined, ROI-driving ABM segmentation strategy. It’ll also give you a chance to target accounts through warm introductions. For example, by reaching new accounts through previous users who can vouch for you.