How to Create a Scrappy ABM Campaign Plan

Ready to drive new interest from high value accounts?  Upsell/cross-sell valuable customers?  “Get in the door” with valuable prospects?  An ABM campaign plan is a perfect fit!  This post explains how to write a scrappy ABM campaign plan that gets into market quickly and is easy to iterate.

>> Related: How to Plan and Launch a Marketing Campaign <<

My ABM campaign playbook

In a scrappy ABM campaign, a select group of AEs get a dedicated marketing agency.  It’s a special and empowering partnership:

  • Marketing creates air cover with ads, offers, automation, call lists, and project management
  • AEs focus on conversations, both making outbound calls and following-up with folks who convert from the air cover

Here’s a breakdown of a real ABM deal:

Click to expand

You can see that two reps called and connected to multiple stakeholders.  LinkedIn ads and Marketing newsletters helped influence.  And Marketing PMed it all.

Now, here’s how to do it:

1. Determine your ICP 

Start by creating an ideal customer profile (ICP).  Review your best customers and ask:

1. If we could replicate this deal again, what would it look like?

    • Size
    • Industry/Vertical
    • Annual Revenue
    • Geo
    • Who buys? (Roles/titles)
    • Who influences? (Roles/titles)

2. What messaging/offers resonate with this profile?

Sadly, it’s probably not content. 😬 Instead try audits, proofs of concept, assessments, 1:1 Q&As with leadership, work samples, and benchmarks.  The offers should be genuinely exclusive and helpful.

3. What are the best customer stories to use?

If you’re scant on lookalike customer stories, anonymize them!

2. Build a target list

Most of the ABM campaign legwork is creating that list of lookalike/target accounts and the contacts within them.

Sometimes reps have a strong POV.  And sometimes you’re fishing in Crunchbase, LinkedIn, or your database.  Either way:

  1. Pull 20 accounts and discuss them with your pilot AEs.  Try to find commonality, whether that’s a pain point, value prop, vertical, or org size.
  2. Then research the folks who buy and influence (see above).

3. Write a lean multi-channel ABM plan

Now comes the fun stuff. My typical ABM channels include:

  • targeted LinkedIn ads
  • personalized Salesloft/Outreach cadences to help AEs deliver on-message emails, voicemails, and LinkedIn messages
  • personalized chatbot pop-ups and/or scripts for target accounts

4. Execute and optimize

Time to kickoff the marketing air cover.  Where you can, bake in A/B tests so you’re immediately getting objective feedback on the messaging and offers.  Closely watch paid channels and experiment until you’re seeing high engagement, high impressions, low cost per click, and actual conversions.

You’ll also have to relentlessly project manage.  Check in every week with your AE:

  • Are we aligned?
  • Is there feedback from the field?
  • Are we seeing momentum?
  • How should we iterate?
  • Is the lead conversion rate better than our usual campaigns?

5. Report back

Once the campaign is live, make sure you can report in detail on what is/isn’t working.  I like to create Salesforce campaigns for each offer so I can see how each one sources/influences a lifecycle.

I also create a separate campaign that encompasses everyone in the target contact list.  This helps me track them as a cohort.

Here’s a dashboard I just built for a new ABM campaign:

ABM-inspired tactics you should try

If you’re reading this and want to do more, I’ve seen many ABM-inspired tactics that work:

  • Go wide for every MQL – When a new MQL comes through, BDRs spend 10 minutes in LinkedIn and manually add three lookalike contacts from the same company to the same sequence.
  • Track job changes – When contacts in your database change jobs, tools like User Gems, Champify, and LiveData Technology can connect the dots.  Voila, you have an existing relationship at a new account!
  • Get funding alerts – Help reps track in-territory accounts that get a huge surge of funding, like from Crunchbase.
  • Invest in customer marketing – I’m not talking webinars.  Partner with renewal managers, customer success, and ProServe.  How could marketing provide air cover? | Marketing and Revenue Ops

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