Apr 17, 2023 Fawn Hudgens

1:Few ABM - ABM Lite(ish)

We’re back for part two of our three-part series on the different types of ABM approaches. One-to-Few ABM is next on our agenda for b2b marketers. If reading about One-to-One ABM scared you (totally acceptable reaction), never fear: this strategy is a more scalable approach for target accounts that are high-value accounts but don’t warrant top-tier investment. 

This style is used equally for new business and for expanding existing accounts. It can be used in tandem with 1:1, particularly if you feel an account needs some extra personalised love to get over the line. 

Instead of completely bespoke GTM marketing, 1:Few account-based marketing focuses on micro-segments of accounts with similar characteristics and business imperatives. This can be as straightforward as industry or involve accounts with the same pain points, budgets, etc. These are called clusters. Companies apply deep research to the cluster and modest levels of personalisation to each account.

Since these accounts are often smaller, mapping out individual buying centres may not be as challenging. But you still want to spend time making sure you have quality data at the account level and for each person and key persona in the organisation - and you’ll want a process to keep those insights fresh, at least annually.

(Because here’s the thing: ABM isn’t just a marketing strategy. It fundamentally shifts the way an organisation drives revenue.)

This approach may be right for you if:

  • You need to reach a larger group/number of accounts efficiently
  • You need to get the attention of several decision-makers within each account

1:Few should be reserved for 20 accounts max per vertical or ABM campaign. 

I will say up front: 1:Few is still heavy on your pre-launch workload. There are efficiencies of scale, yes, but it still requires extensive resources depending on the number of clusters and chosen accounts. You will still need a dedicated ABM lead, graphic designer and content writer, at minimum, to consider your available ABM strategies. 

The most common tactics used in 1:Few include one-on-one meetings, executive engagement, email marketing, marketing automation, custom thought leadership, personalised content, and in-person or virtual roadshows/events. 

Where to start with 1:few ABM?

As with 1:1, you need to have the following:

  • Created your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
  • Built your ICP list
  • Tiered your prospecting accounts (1-3, with 1 being the highest)
  • Created an account selection process

You should also research how technology can help you win in ABM. Programmatic platforms like RollWorks, 6sense or Demandbase help run personalised ads and content at the specific members of the buying committee at certain times when you know them to be most active or at the right stage of your funnel. Their real value: they can see the dark funnel and allow you to act on it. This is an insight you can’t get anywhere else. 

More details on all the above points can be found in the BIAS ABM 101 Ebook.

Step by Step

Once you’ve identified your accounts and which technology may be right to augment your reach, it’s time to conduct your research and build your assets. 

Map it out

  • What do the individual accounts in your clusters look like? Do you have a current footprint?
  • Agree on objectives for each cluster
  • What research and insight do you need for each cluster? E.g. industry analysis and trends, etc.
  • What does success look like?

Kick-off with an alignment session between involved teams and team members. Assign tasks and deadlines - this should be done in week one. 

Note: Your Sales team should not lead the research and analysis piece but corroborate findings from Marketing.

Account Intel

Weeks 2-4 are critical weeks for research. Get ready to put heads down and collaborate closely.

  • You will need to understand the sector profile:
    • Who are the major players?
    • What are the industry drivers and pain points?
    • What does the competitive and regulatory landscape look like?
    • Mini-account profiles to be completed
    • Key stakeholders identified
    • Relationship mapping

Strategy and planning

Week 5 should involve another cross-functional workshop to align on insights and strategy:

  • Replay account insights - does it ring true?
  • Map opportunities and focus areas for target audiences
  • Prioritise opportunities into a sector-based plan for each
  • Agree strategy by cluster

Account messaging and GTM

Your team will need to develop a specific value proposition for each cluster and supporting messages. Remember, this isn’t about how great your company/product/service is - this is the time to think about a particular group’s challenges, and fears and how you can solve/ease them. They are the hero in their story, and you are their trusted helpmate. 

From there:

  • Develop detailed GTM plans - how are you planning on catching their attention across channels in a variety of ways?
  • Create key content assets, customised content, landing pages, marketing automation etc.

Executing campaigns

From around week seven onward, you’ll be building and rolling out your key account campaigns. You’ll be developing personalised content assets and executing against your plans. This is the exciting bit, where you see your team’s hard work come to life!

A tip on content: For both 1:1 and 1:Many ABM require, a lot of content must be written. I think this feels very daunting for companies that worry about the workload but also seem to believe no one but they can possibly write content about their business or industry. Rest assured, if you’re working with an agency on ABM - this is what they do. Don’t be afraid to hand over the reins whilst retaining sign-off control to ensure your standard is maintained. 

Note: Don’t try to do all your clusters at once. Roll them out one at a time, giving you time to learn and tweak for the next one.

Measuring and ROI

By three months in, you should have your campaigns in play - which means that you should be tracking the success of the various elements in your campaigns. 

Make sure you:

  • Review every activity and how it landed - is there something you can change? What are your learnings?
  • Implement a quarterly account review of your plan across your RevOps team. This is vital to keep momentum, share learnings and review the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

I hope this gives you a clear overview of how to tackle ABM 1:Few to maximise your revenue opportunities. As always, if you have any questions, please get in touch with our team.

Published by Fawn Hudgens April 17, 2023