Account-based marketing (ABM) is part of a modern approach to B2B law firm marketing. We’ve seen law firms experience very real results from account-based marketing, as opposed to traditional, less targeted marketing efforts. On the other hand, proper ABM engages several systems and processes in order to involve the correct stakeholders within an account, and some legal marketers have wondered if it’s worth the effort. What separates winning ABM strategies from those that end up being a waste of time? Here are 4 mistakes that law firms tend to make when taking an ABM approach.
Incorrect Account Selection Methods
Account (or company) selection is arguably the most important aspect of ABM, yet many firms get this part wrong. Often, it’s because they are in a hurry to get an ABM program running. Business development and marketing must be in agreement on the criteria for account selection, and those decisions begin with goal alignment. Identifying prospective companies that can most benefit from your services, as well as which companies are in your current verticals is a smart place to begin. It’s also important to focus on accounts that will yield the highest ROI.
Depending on how mature your marketing team is, you should have a balance of new account acquisition, pipeline acceleration, and current client expansion (cross-sells and upsells).
Insufficient Contact Within Accounts
While account selection is crucial to ABM success, law firms must also be able to identify and connect with key contacts at the target accounts. For more complex decision-making processes, such as hiring your firm, you can expect to work with several stakeholders. In fact, according to this study by Gartner, “the typical buying group for a complex B2B solution involves 6-10 decision makers, each armed with four or five pieces of information they’ve gathered independently and must deconflict with the group.” That means you must properly understand the key individuals within the organization – who they are and how to reach them.
B2B data providers, such as Bombora, can help law firm marketers obtain more robust prospecting information. Along with baseline segmentation, market intelligence companies provide prospecting information on an individual basis, including professional certifications, academic and employment history, mentions in the news, and more. With this data, you can garner a robust understanding of your prospects and tailor your approach to speak exactly to their pain points.
Spending on Inadequate Technology
Technology can either help or hinder your ABM efforts. You need to ensure that your technology providers are aligned with both the strategic goals and tactical efforts of your ABM program. The basics for a comprehensive ABM strategy are a CRM system for tracking and reporting, marketing and sales automation tools that can drive personalized outreach, and a market intelligence solution (data provider) to identify and connect with prospects. Even with all of that technology, your business development and marketing people are most likely the most reliable source of information. Make sure that you’re not spending needlessly on technology that doesn’t assist in your overall efforts.
Related: Five Useful CRM Tools for Law Firms
Overly Broad Messaging
The success of ABM depends on personalized messaging to the right people. However, we know that in today’s world people are inundated with messaging, which means your tactics might get lost in the clutter. And, the more you scale, the harder it is to personalize effectively. Since it’s impossible to personalize at a granular level within larger segments, your goal should be adding value and speaking to specific pain points. You might apply a tiered approach to outreach, such as:
- Providing the tier three (or lowest priority group) with a more generic description of your services
- Providing the second tier segment with messaging related to their specific challenges and needs – here you will focus on industry and pain points
- Providing the highest priority group with information on your services and how they apply to organization-level needs, with messaging tailored to accounts or individuals
if you are positioning yourself as a strategic partner for an account, and they perceive that they are getting the same messages as everyone else, it will in fact damage the quality of the relationship.
ABM can look very different from firm to firm, but successful strategies all share a common foundation. Taking the time to create a strong account list, along with collecting accurate data and personalizing efficiently, are all critical steps that can aid in your success. So by avoiding these mistakes, you’ll be setting yourself up for success.
If you are curious how other law firms have already started running account based marketing campaigns or if you’d like help getting started with your own campaigns, contact us today for help.