3 ABM Plays to Ignite Your Imagination

Filed in Account Based Marketing on March 10, 2017 by

Account Based Marketing Plays to InspireAccount Based Marketing is sweeping the B2B world like a wildfire. It’s…wait…wildfire? No, not really. It’s popular. Everyone wants to “do some ABM this year” but there aren’t many tactical playbooks out there. We want to fix that, so here are some ABM plays we’ve been using over the years that have worked for us.

How well did they work? Our clients are seeing a 28% improvement in response rate once they worked with us to orchestrate high-impact tangible marketing with traditional digital channels. We have always believed in the power of using real, tactile marketing to drive engagements. Layering those ideas into an ABM campaign, you learn (often the hard way) how to orchestrate tactile marketing to scale. Here are three of our favorite plays, each combines tangible and digital marketing.

Use Tangible Marketing to Warm Contacts

Knee-deep in heavy SDR/BDR outreach? This play will get your contacts to pick up the phone. Scale this up and distribute it across teams within the target account. It will help build interest and foreshadow your calls. Be compelling, be alluring and most of all… be memorable.

“There’s nothing better than calling a prospect after PFL’s “Secret Weapon” was delivered to learn that they were just about to pick up the phone to call YOU back. How many times in your sales career have you had a Fortune 500 VP level prospect, that you’ve never spoken to, pick up a phone to call you back?” – Suzanne Davis, Account Executive, PFL

Multi-Channel Warm Up

ABM depends on multi-channel success, and that calls for meticulous multi-channel orchestration. Warm up your contacts up with tangible marketing that they can hold, open and pass around. Marketing they can touch.

Conversations start and then you’ll start to see how tangible engagement drives digital responses. In fact, email response rates rise to 7.9% (MarketingSherpa) when combined with tangible marketing. Real stuff warms your prospects to future touches.

Follow Up with a Call

Following a physical send with a call completely changes the dynamic of the call. You aren’t calling to make a sales call, but to check up on a package you delivered. Use the package as a reason to get on the phone.


Launch Digital Outreach

After the call connects, start hitting your account with digital marketing. Use personalized retargeting ads, a tailored email campaign and personalized landing pages for the account. Always balance resources with opportunity, but get as nuanced as possible. If you have the ability to craft an email stream for each group within the account, you should. The point is: don’t let warm contacts cool off. The more personalized you are in your communication, the more effective it will be to keep the conversation alive.

Control the Cadence

Cadence is important in this play, and it varies from account to account. Here’s a table to you map out your cadence:

Physical Send SDR/BDR Call Email Outreach
Day 1 (low cost) Day 1 Day 5 (if call lands)
Day 7 Day 9
Day 11 (medium cost) Day 11 Day 13
Day 17 Day 19
Day 21 (medium cost) Day 21 Day 24
Day 27 Day 30

Cadence: Structured, the important thing is to follow up with a phone call

Contacts: Typically influencers with some light outreach to decision makers

Channel Weight: Physical ✓✓✓ | Digital ✓✓ | BDR outreach ✓✓✓✓✓

Land Larger Group of Smaller Accounts

Smaller accounts require less attention, yet you must cast a wider net. This play is perfect if you’re trying to establish name and credibility in a market before you snag a huge brand.

Industries as Accounts

You tailor your tactics for an industry vertical, rather than a specific account. In that sense, think of your verticals as your accounts. Every account in the vertical will use the same jargon, have similar pain points and want similar value. Start your research here:

  • Scrub company sites, blogs and follow thought-leaders to learn their language.
  • Attend webinars or, if possible, go to an industry conference.
  • Got some money to spend? Hire a consultant within the industry, otherwise, find one you like and follow them on social media.

Be Broad and Be Bold

It’s not important to be specific in this account based marketing play, but it’s certainly important to stand out.

When you’re planning a tangible send, don’t be afraid to send something that’s fun. If it begs to be held, touched, and used that’s even better. We’ve literally sent toys: remote controlled cars, drones, Star Wars droids, Nerf guns and Legos. Your overworked contacts will appreciate the break, and most importantly–they will remember you.


Be bold and catchy with your language even if it’s hyper-personalized. The point is: don’t let them forget you. The other thing to keep in mind is price. You’re casting a wide net, that means you need to use cheaper bait.

High dependency on digital channels means sending tangible marketing first so your digital channels are ignited.

Get the Team Together

You will drive a high volume of leads with this play, so it’s imperative that you align your sales and marketing teams. How do you get everyone on the same page? Here are a few tips:

  • Process, process, process. Build a sales and marketing process for outbound and inbound leads, qualifications, follow-up and communication.
  • Over-communicate. Everyone should know where an account is in the sales pipeline at any given time. Your CRM is, of course, critical, but don’t stop there. Have stand-up meetings, call each other and get face-time as much as possible to keep your teams aligned.
  • Get buy-in from the start. Don’t make a grand marketing and sales plan that leaves sales out in the cold. They’ll just toss your plan in the trash. Get their buy-in from the beginning.

Cadence: Use a slow build, but scale cadence to match your budget

Contacts: Influencers

Channel Weight: Physical ✓✓✓| Digital ✓✓✓✓| BDR outreach ✓✓✓

Land and Expand Play with Account Based Marketing

Once you’ve landed a division within a large account it is time to expand. This play helps you do that, using account based marketing tactics to grow influence throughout the account.

Make Customer Experience A Priority

Focus on delivering high quality to the areas you’ve landed. Nothing you can do to drive the needle will work as well as old-fashioned word of mouth. But make sure you advertise your great experience.

Send out updates to your installed user base, maybe highlight power users of your product or underscore areas where you’ve really helped with a project. Use your customers’ success to amplify your brand.

  • Try a rewards program for your users.
  • Make sure there’s plenty of great educational content that’s easy to use.
  • Listen to feedback and be transparent with your service – give them a VIP experience.


Reach Out to Internal Champions

You’ve already got an internal champion, leverage them to get further with your account. Here are some tips to entice your champion and get them to help you out.

  • Ask your champions for intros to other potential champions in the account. Make it easy on your current champion and give them a profile of who, exactly, you’d like to meet and how you’d like to help them.
  • Once you get a tip on a new team, send them all some cool, branded swag to get their attention. Follow it up with relevant, useful content and don’t be afraid to reference your existing champion – it will help your credibility.

Cadence: Aggressive

Contacts: Champions, Potential Champions

Channel Weight: Physical ✓✓✓| Digital ✓✓✓| BDR outreach ✓✓✓


Want more ABM tips, tactics and plays? Check out our guide to Account Based Mail and get inspired to add a physical touch to your digital campaign.

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