Account-based marketing (ABM) is an increasingly effective strategy for B2B law firms. As a refresher, ABM is a strategic approach to marketing that leverages highly targeted and personalized communications to gain new business from a particular company (or account). Rather than developing a broad marketing campaign that attracts huge numbers (for only a few to eventually be qualified), ABM targets high-priority companies and key decision-makers with the goal of building relationships and creating new opportunities.
Four Underlying Principles of Account-Based Marketing for Law Firms
Law firms that implement account-based marketing find doing so hugely beneficial. That’s because these programs are based on four underlying principles:
- Client focus and insight – With ABM, the attention is on actually solving the client’s problems rather than leading with your services. To do that, you need to have a thorough understanding of your targets and their needs, which leads to in-depth insights that can help deepen relationships.
- Collaboration between a law firm’s business development and marketing teams – For ABM to work, a law firm’s business development and marketing need to work hand in hand. Business development and marketing teams need to be on equal footing and cooperate on an account list, goals, tactics, and progress.
- Reputation and relationships in addition to revenue – The earnings that come from ABM efforts are just one piece of the puzzle. ABM goals focus on stronger, long-term relationships and lifetime value of clients.
- Highly tailored campaigns – Client insights and knowledge of both the general market and decision-makers are critical for ABM. Using these insights, you can create personalized content to drive interest and engagement.
4 Approaches to Successful Account-Based Marketing
Account-based marketing offers plenty of benefits for law firms, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Consider your unique target lists, goals, and the processes in place at your firm as you plan a program. There are essentially four ways to accomplish impactful account based marketing.
1. Individual ABM
This is sometimes called “named account strategy” and it’s basically a 1:1 effort. Here, the firm’s marketing team focuses on a handful of carefully selected, high-value accounts (typically no more than 10). The best approach is a multi-channel one that encompasses digital outreach, personalized content, events, etc. ABM does scale, so this smaller and more personal approach is just one option.
2. One-to-few ABM
According to ITSMA, this method is termed “ABM Lite”. Using this process, a small number of accounts that share similar challenges, needs, and demographics are targeted. This list of accounts has a large enough opportunity size to justify more spend and time than a typical deal, but not large enough to warrant a 1:1 approach. The marketing communications should focus on shared pain points complemented by strategic personalization. It’s often a smart idea to try this form of ABM before scaling to individual ABM programs.
3. Programmatic ABM
This is a highly scalable approach to ABM marketing, but it requires having the right technology in place. In programmatic ABM, lists of 100 to 1,000 accounts are targeted based on shared challenges or traits. Marketing technology allows users to reach a larger group of targets using digital channels. If you’re trying this approach for the first time, it’s best to start with a list of 100 or so, and no more than 250.
4. “Bolt-On” ABM
Though ABM marketing focuses on only one or two individuals, it’s unlikely that they are the only ones responsible for decision-making within their company. This form of ABM enables law firm marketers to focus on the rest of the team who makes decisions within their key accounts. When a lead comes in and is qualified and starts being nurtured, the ABM strategy uses technology to trigger actions that engage other people from that particular organization. There are tools available that can help to automate the tactics required for this form of account-based marketing campaign.
Account-based marketing is highly effective and can lead to more trust and increased business between you and your clients. It’s also a highly cost-efficient method of marketing as you’re only spending money to reach highly qualified prospects. If you aren’t already using these methods, consider calling a meeting between your business development team and marketers to determine which accounts might benefit from a higher-touch approach.
If you’re not sure where to start, we can help you to strategize and run ABM campaigns that result in new business.