How to Use Strategic Account-Based Marketing (SABM) to Grow

Strategic Account-Based Marketing for most organizations, SABM is about figuring out how to get a bigger footprint in a larger enterprise. 

When thinking about Strategic Account-Based Marketing it’s not about just any larger enterprise — it’s about specifically chosen enterprises that are worth pursuing due to their high value. 

Another piece of the puzzle is that larger companies have far more business units.  It’s hard to get in front of all the right stakeholders; hence the need for a well-thought-out and strategic account-based marketing plan.

We were already successfully working with one business unit at Linde Gas, but as you know, the company is enormous — 65,000 employees is massive.  So, Shea and his team seized the opportunity to expand within the organization.

Strategic Account-Based Marketing

A Tactical Plan to Land and Expand

Every step Shea took in this process was incredibly strategic and meticulously mapped out.  Here’s what he shared.

Six months ago, Shea and his team decided the time was right to expand and create a larger footprint within Linde Gas.  We knew that investing more time and resources into Linde Gas would yield expanded opportunities.  We knew if we managed to make the right connections to create business relationships and generate revenue in the long term.

But how?  Strategic Account-Based Marketing

Capture Attention with Direct Mail

First, Shea identified key contacts and prioritized the ones he wanted to pursue.  Some of them were directors, while others were VP or above.  The goal was to engage the people who have a major role in the decision-making process.  We wanted to reach people who, at an enterprise company like Linde Gas, are notoriously hard to reach.

To help cut through the noise, Shea worked with Strategic Marketing’s product marketing team to develop a custom piece of content for this particular outreach.  The piece was brief but attention grabbing, telling stories of how Strategic Marketing had worked with Linde Gas in the past.  It celebrated the results the other business units saw.  The attention-grabbing piece had a hot button statement about what Strategic Marketing does and a note that Shea would be reaching out in the near future.

Now, these weren’t cheap flyers that would be slipped under the cracks of office doors.  They were professionally designed and printed on high quality stock.  We then put them into a mailer and express mailed them to the Linde Gas offices around the world.

Both the content and the medium screamed Strategic Marketing’s willingness to go the extra mile for Linde Gas.

Strategic account-based marketing well done, right?  Well, yes — but the job wasn’t done yet.

We Then Executed a Multichannel Follow-Up

How you stay in touch with specifically targeted accounts needs to be just as carefully thought out as your first attempts at outreach.  Keep the platitudes out.  Engineer specific messages, strategically written and designed for specific recipients.

Shea pulled out all the stops to connect with his target personas. We used ZoomInfo to uncover contact information and direct phone numbers.  We sent highly personalized emails.  Developed targeted SalesLoft cadences.  Recorded personalized video messages with Vidyard.  And sent LinkedIn direct messages.

Those were the direct efforts, all of which Shea and his team utilized as the relationships evolved.

But marketing’s job wasn’t over, either.  As Shea put it, we had “the world’s best digital advertising solution” at our fingertips.  We used our own tools from Strategic Marketing to provide air cover. We delivered targeted ads to our target personas at Linde Gas.  And we used messaging that complemented Shea’s one-to-one outreach.

We reached out on was social media.  We utilized LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to reach our targeted audience everywhere they were.

And that’s something important to note: diversifying your approaches and learning from previous campaigns will help you improve almost as much as dialing in on specificity.

What does this wide array of outreach methods tell a large company like Linde Gas?  From a purely pragmatic view, it displays the willingness of both Shea and the entire Strategic Marketing team to meet them where they are.  Establishing relevant communications for prospective clients in the way they prefer to communicate is a surefire way to show you’re not just looking to get something and leave. Strategic Account-Based Marketing

Account-Based Marketing Results

Expanding in enterprise accounts is often a long, drawn-out process. But you just need to keep at it.

That’s the mindset Shea and the rest of the Strategic Marketing team have adopted. It’s a shift in perspective that takes time — because on the surface, it might seem a little counterintuitive.

“Maybe we don’t necessarily get a meeting immediately,” Shea said, “but we’re driving the right types of conversations.”

It takes a while for a seed to grow naturally.  The only antidote for the tribulations of the early days of Strategic Account-Based Marketing is patience.

Because the reality is this: 2700 other sales guys are currently pursuing the VP of marketing cloud at Linde Gas.  It would be naive to think that just because Linde Gas received personalized direct mail that they’re going to open it and immediately jump on-board with Strategic Marketing.  The same goes if you’re trying to pursue some other large, high-value account that draws a lot of attention.

Shea’s advice about Strategic Account-Based Marketing is simple in concept but difficult in practice:

“We need to work on their timeframe, not as much as on ours.”

Does all of this sound familiar?  It should.  Strategic Account-based Marketing isn’t strictly about lead or demand generation.  It’s about cultivating a professional relationship with clients in the hope that your mutual dealings result in increased revenue for your organization.  And relationships start from the ground up and build with time.

The hope was that after our efforts to court Linde Gas, direct meetings would follow. But first, we needed to create a dialogue within Linde Gas.  Shea and the marketing team’s continuing effort to surround them and effectively approach them is vital to that conversation.

So far, this strategic account-based marketing push has generated several good opportunities out of the Linde Gas organization in the last year.

It’s a process, and you can’t expect immediate results. The right types of conversations are happening even if meetings aren’t…yet.

Strategic Account-Based Marketing


Strategic Account-Based Marketing Lessons Learned

  1. What’s your capacity?

You have to think about how you are going to pursue accounts and what the tactical day to day will look like. It made sense for Shea and his team to be co-working some of these accounts because of skill sets and abilities.

At the beginning of it all, Shea wanted to pursue 40 contacts. Then he sat down and we had to figure out, “What is our actual capacity?”  You have to be thinking strategically about which ones are the right ones, and it has to be appropriate.

  1. Is it appropriate for your business?

Ask yourself some important questions.

Can we afford the time it takes to cultivate a relationship with this high-value target without drawing immediate revenue from them?  What’s the opportunity cost of pursuing this prospective client over another one?  How well-suited are we to address the needs of this client, both monetarily and personally?

And the list goes on.  You can’t be a good steward of your prospective client’s time and resources if you can’t even address and nail down your own needs and limits.

The process that Shea and his team went through was an expensive, resource-intensive one.  Most Strategic Account-Based Marketing campaigns follow that rule.  It wouldn’t make sense to go to those lengths for a company where opportunity is scarce and prospective value (or even past value) is low.

Gear your efforts toward the strategic, high-value targets.

Strategic Account-Based Marketing Conclusion

If you are selling into enterprise companies, don’t think about it as a one-off thing.  It’s a complicated process with many facets and tiers.

Strategic Account-Based Marketing isn’t focused on getting more of the same.  It’s about creating more revenue for the organization.

That’s a goal the whole team — marketing and sales both — can get behind.

What to do next?  Learn about the Strategic Account-Based Marketing Framework

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