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ABM Playbook for Manufacturing Industries: How to Drive More Sales
Reading Time: 7 minutes
Account based marketing (ABM) is the marketing strategy of choice for manufacturing businesses. But the big question is, how do you successfully create and run an ABM campaign? Luckily for you, we created this all-inclusive ABM playbook to help manufacturing businesses like you learn about and adopt the best ABM strategies so you can bring in more sales!
In this ABM playbook, you will learn:
- Why ABM works so well for manufacturing businesses
- The big marketing problem manufacturers face today
- How you can benefit from ABM
- 5 pivotal steps to create a strong ABM strategy
But first, let’s define account based marketing.
What is an ABM Strategy?
Account based marketing is a type of marketing strategy that pursues very specific high-value customer accounts.
Unlike other marketing strategies like lead generation, which casts a wide net to capture as many leads as possible, ABM creates tailored campaigns that address the individual needs of each customer account.
In other words, it’s a much more pinpointed effort. A lot of energy is spent on identifying the target enterprises and creating content that best suits the needs of those accounts.
So, Why Should Manufacturing Businesses Adopt an ABM Playbook?
To answer this question, we need to take a look at a big problem that B2B industries face when it comes to marketing.
THE BIG PROBLEM
Oftentimes, manufacturing products and services demand a lot of time to acquire and onboard new accounts. This is because their offerings can be very technical in nature.
Furthermore, they usually require the buyer to invest a lot of capital. This is a massive decision for accounts to make and it can take a long time for companies to get approval to make these big financial choices.
If you don’t have the right marketing message to support these pain points and answer these objections, you will waste a lot of time and money on failed campaigns.
THE PERFECT SOLUTION
When it comes to marketing for most manufacturing businesses, you need to build a strong relationship and trust with very specific mid-to-large accounts that fit your ideal customer profile BEFORE you try to make the sale.
For starters, you need to put a lot of time and energy into proper communication with each account so they can understand the ins and outs of your product or service and eventually trust that your solution will solve their pain points. Then, and ONLY then, will they be able to make an informed decision to strike a deal with you.
So, how are you going to accomplish this? With account-based marketing, of course!
Top 3 Benefits of ABM for Manufacturing Industries
As of 2021, the largest manufacturing subsectors in the U.S. include computer and electronics, chemical manufacturing, food and beverage products, and machinery. Due to the technicality of these industries, all of them would greatly benefit from account-based marketing.
Here’s to name just a few of the benefits you can expect to see when you adopt an ABM playbook.
1. You Won’t Waste Time on “Small Fish”
Rule #1 in the ABM playbook: Target and pursue big fish!
Typical inbound marketing strategies, like lead generation, might not work out very well for manufacturing companies because they attempt to attract a broad range of customers rather than targeting and pursuing the best accounts that makes them the most profit. This works well usually for low-cost products and easy-to-integrate services, but not so much for expensive and potentially complicated offerings.
Instead, ABM helps you be in-front of high-value accounts and their respective decision makers.
We call these “big fish.”
If you can catch one big prize fish, you will bring in a lot of money. You need to focus your time on catching these types of fish!
2. You Will Create Stronger B2B Relationships
Next, account-based marketing strives to build and maintain a lasting relationship between you and the enterprise accounts you pursue.
More times than not, each account you target and acquire will become extremely loyal to your brand. If you take the time it takes to create a strong relationship from the get-go, these accounts will stick with you for years to come. Account-based marketing is the cornerstone of a strong relationship.
3. You Will Convert High-Value Accounts
Let’s face it: You have a very tight niche market. Unlike other industries, your manufacturing business might only serve a small fraction of the population.
Luckily, the mid to large size accounts you want to work with are high-value customers. You only need to convert a few to see a massive increase in revenue!
Your ABM Playbook: 5 Steps to Develop a Strong ABM Strategy
Keep reading to learn how to develop the perfect ABM techniques for your business.
1. Choose the Right ABM Playbook
Account-based marketing can be broken down into 3 playbooks:
- Programmatic ABM: Create marketing campaigns at scale (one-to-many accounts)
- Lite ABM: Tailor lightly-customized campaigns for 5-10 target accounts (one-to-few accounts)
- Strategic ABM: Build strong, highly customized campaigns for only the most-valued accounts (one-to-one accounts)
The ABM playbook you choose depends widely on the type of manufacturing sector you work in, the products and services you offer, and the size of your niche market. Furthermore, you can choose more than one playbook to form your overall strategy.
For example, if you offer a highly technical service that requires your customers to contribute a lofty time commitment and monetary investment, then you might want to opt for the Lite ABM and Strategic ABM playbooks.
That way, you can really narrow down the most valuable accounts that you want to target. Then you can foster very personal relationships with each account through highly-tailored content campaigns.
2. Align Your Resources
Next, you should evaluate your company’s overall ABM capabilities. In this step, you will want to make sure you have the right team / staff and additional resources in place to ensure your ABM strategy is successful.
For instance, what is your budget? Are you willing to invest in software to help you gather information about your key customer accounts and measure the performance of each campaign?
Additionally, account-based marketing often requires your sales and marketing departments to align goals. Are your departments willing to work together to achieve a common goal?
These are all considerations you need to take into account if you want your strategy to be successful!
3. Identify Key Customer Accounts
This next step is absolutely critical to master! You must identify your ideal customer profile (ICP). Your ICP is a detailed analysis of an enterprise that you think will be the perfect candidate for your products or services.
To help you establish the right ICPs, take a look at the characteristics of the current loyal customers you serve. What do they all have in common? What are their pain points and how does your brand solve these pains?
Oftentimes, your ideal customer profiles will all have similar characteristics, including:
- Geographic restrictions and needs
- Industry style
- Size and scope of business (ex. number of employees)
- Revenue and budget
- Customer base
Once you have narrowed down your ICPs and identified the right customer accounts to pursue, it’s time to engage them.
4. Engage with Key Stakeholders
In this step, you’ll want to really hone in on the stakeholders of the enterprises you’re targeting.
- What are their names?
- What are their roles?
- How much influence do they have in making decisions for the company?
- How likely are they to change their mind during pivotal moments in the decision-making process?
Once you have thoroughly evaluated your stakeholders, you can begin the content creation process. Be sure to develop customized content and offers that target the direct needs of each account profile. The marketing content or sales copy that you will send to a CEO will be very different to what you will send to a CMO, CFO, or CIO.
Also one important note, you will also want to make sure your website is up-to-date and user-friendly so your stakeholders can easily learn about your brand.
Remember: Account-based marketing is all about building strong relationships with your target accounts! You want to foster trust with each stakeholder you reach out to.
5. Advocate for Your Target Accounts
Finally, you’ll want to create prospect-specific offers that really solve the problems of your ideal customers. More times than not, these offers will be highly customized to fit the individual needs of each account.
At this step in your ABM playbook, you will likely spend a lot of time communicating the ins and outs of your products and services with key decision-makers in each account. Make sure you focus on the customers themselves and put extra emphasis on how your business will solve their problems!
If you can effectively communicate how a long-lasting partnership between your business and theirs will help them rise to new heights, then you will see much success with your ABM strategy.
At the end of the day, your ABM playbook should be hand-tailored to your target customer accounts. If you are able to pinpoint the needs of each desired account and create a strong B2B relationship with them, you will see HUGE success with your overall ABM campaign.
If you need to help to put together the perfect ABM solution or playbook for your manufacturing business, give us a call for a free ABM strategy session.
Our team of strategists will create the perfect ABM playbook that will drive your sales and scale your business.
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