The Marketing Strategist:

Account Based Marketing Course Helps Reach Key Accounts

August 14, 2012

ITSMA research, as well as other research, has long shown that the more specifically you segment and target your audience, the more relevant your messages can be. And relevant messages resonate better with your audience. This means your customers and prospects are more likely to respond to you because they understand the value you can bring to them. Targeting your audience is the goal behind Account Based Marketing, a strategic approach that helps companies bring greater business value to their key accounts. Since 2004, ITSMA has been working with members and clients, through workshops, consulting projects, and research, to help them develop the know-how to treat each account as a market of one. Through this approach, companies are able to broaden and strengthen their account relationships, increase awareness and demand for their services and solutions, and—frankly—sell more. Whether through value propositions or programs and campaigns, B2B marketers need to appropriately target the correct audiences inside their strategic accounts. They should be able to answer these questions:
  • What are the target account’s key issues?
  • What can we do to help them with those issues?
  • Who are we specifically targeting in the account?
  • Why should prospects and customers listen to us, as opposed to our competition?
Companies are now asking, “How can our marketers be more effective and more efficient? How can they produce better results?”

The ITSMA ABM Certification Program

In response, ITSMA has developed a comprehensive Account Based Marketing Certification Program to bring ABM into organizations more effectively. The program consists of:
  • The kickoff. This two-day, in-person session, which ideally will include representatives from sales, the request for proposal (RFP) department, and regional marketing, covers the details about how to design, build, and implement your ABM program. Using a profile of an actual company, we delve into the different components of ABM. Through exercises and breakout sessions, each participant gains a better understanding of the purpose and results of each phase of the program.
  • The course project.To reinforce the concepts learned, each participant is asked to work on a target account and apply what was learned. This is the meat of the program. Every two or three weeks, ITSMA assigns coursework and delivers a webcast to explain the work to be completed for that particular phase of the ABM project. The coursework covers:
    • Researching key accounts and their markets and identifying key issues and business imperatives.
    • Mapping the issues to key actions or responses to the issues and the people responsible for those actions.
    • Determining your responses or offers, how the company will benefit, and what differentiates you from the competition.
    • Developing a set of targeted value propositions and creating a targeted campaign plan.
    • Developing an integrated ABM account plan.
    As participants work on their projects, they have weekly mentoring calls with an ITSMA consultant, in addition to receiving ongoing online mentoring.
  • The deeper dive. During the program, we conduct highly interactive webcasts to take an in-depth look at four ABM concepts:
    • Understanding the example account’s finances from a business and marketing perspective: What do the numbers tell us about the account’s strategies moving forward? How do we apply these to our campaigns and programs?
    • Applying ABM to upsell and cross-sell models.
    • Applying the principles of ABM during the RFP process.
    • A custom topic of the organization’s choice.
  • The big finish. This is an on-site, interactive workshop with the entire team. It generally takes one to two days, and participants have 30-45 minutes each to present a case study to highlight what they have learned and demonstrate readiness for certification.
Recent participants are already seeing the value of ABM Certification. One said, “Since my participation in the ABM Certification program, my relationship with the Client Account Exec and the client team has improved greatly. I am now considered part of the team and am involved in all aspects of planning.” Another said, “My account sales director feels I know so much about the account that I have been asked to participate in many customer meetings with her.” Read: Account Based Marketing: Four Steps to Successful Implementation and Full Adoption, Four Stages to Full ABM Adoption, Industry Insight Is Making Account Based Marketing More Relevant, Seven Rules for Scaling Account Based Marketing Programs, and The Four Stages of Account Based Marketing Adoption. For more information on the Account Based Management Certification, contact Jeff Sands at jsands@itsma.com.

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