Why Personalization is Key to Outbound ABM

Landing dream accounts doesn’t happen by chance. It requires an effective strategy built on data, highly aligned marketing and sales teams, the right tools, and creative ways to engage target executives.

With these building blocks, teams can create great outbound personalization strategies in your account-based marketing (ABM) program.

Before diving into ways to make personalization in outbound ABM great, make sure marketing and sales agree upon an ideal customer profile and a list of tiered target accounts.

Personalization is Key to ABM

As a B2B marketing activity, ABM is growing in importance for many businesses. The strategy involves Sales and Marketing pursuing executives or specific roles within target accounts in a highly engaging, individualized way.

Within target accounts are buying committees, often including higher level leaders in the company. Traditional lead-based tactics can often feel like noise to executives and professionals at this level.

That’s why personalization—treating key prospects as the individuals they truly are, not just as personas — is effective. Done correctly, crafting personalized ABM campaigns can increase revenue by 15% and the efficiency of marketing costs by 30%, according to research by McKinsey.

An effective ABM approach considers each individual on a target account buying committee and develops a strategy to communicate, identify their pain points, and provide value to them. Not only should communication be personalized, but it should be multichannel, seamless, and easy for the potential buyers to move down the funnel.

How the Three Different Types of ABM Impact Personalization Tactics

How do you truly get to know target buyers at scale, enough to build meaningful relationships with them? The first step is to accept the reality that not all target accounts are made equally, and with that knowledge, segment target accounts into Tiers 1, 2, and 3.

Three types of ABM
Credit: ITSMA

This brings us to the three different types of ABM:

  1. Strategic ABM (or one-to-one)
  2. ABM Lite (one-to-few)
  3. Programmatic (one-to-many).

Think of ABM types and its recipients on a spectrum: Tier 1 accounts, whom you’re most likely to target with ABM tactics, will receive “white glove” treatment, while Tier 3 accounts will receive basic personalized messaging (i.e. names, roles, and company in an email), but without the same level of personalization or investment that high-value accounts receive.

In this model, only about 10-15 accounts will receive highly unique and expensive personalization offers in outbound marketing. Other accounts will receive personalization, but with fewer resources invested.

For example, Tier 1 accounts may receive marketing materials or offers across many channels, ranging from webinar outreach to personalized direct mail and customized content. Tier 3 accounts may receive only a portion of the same offers, along fewer channels, and only surface level customization.

How to Optimize Personalization at Scale Using Data

Data powers the most successful strategic ABM strategies. ABM teams are powered by researching the sizes of their target accounts, their business operations, the makeup of their tech stacks, and even what target account executives are interested in outside of work. Teams can show buyers that they actually took the time to do their homework, rather than blasting them with another automated, impersonal email.

Data is also an essential requirement to assess target accounts’ pain points and how a vendor can help them solve their problems – sometimes before customers even recognize their own needs.

Types of data typically used in ABM include:

  • Firmographic
  • Intent and behavioral data
  • Current customer data
  • Technographic data
  • Contextual data
  • Business structure and contact data

Data is also used to make their customer journey smoother. Teams can see when target executives have engaged with their website, social presence, or other materials.

With Intricately, you can add cloud product adoption, usage, and spend data to this list of knowledge that shapes your ABM strategy. Learn more about how leading marketers are using intricately for more powerful account based marketing.


See how Intricately data creates higher accuracy for ideal customer profiles, account targeting, go-to-market strategy.

Try Intricately


Common Marketing Tactics In Outbound Personalization

1. Direct mail

Who doesn’t love a free gift basket, bottle of wine, or new pair of headphones sent to their doorstep? Direct mail is great for sending high-value gifts and marketing materials to target accounts – but they have to be personalized to be impactful. Today’s SaaS platforms can help do the work for you – for example, AI-powered gifting platforms like Alyce and Sendoso research prospects and suggest gifts or experiences that will resonate most.

2. Targeted advertising, landing page, and personalized chatbox combinations

Whether your target account list is likely segmented by vertical, company size, or intent behavior, it’s essential to know what your goals are and how you will build trust with these specific segments. The best ABM digital advertising programs are built around ads with targeted messaging per segment, but a consistent look and feel.

Ensure that your calls to action (CTAs) on landing pages line up with your sales enablement plan, so that sales knows what to do once a target account reaches them through a certain landing page.

Some conversational marketing solutions, like Drift, enable marketing teams to set up personalized chatboxes that will automatically place the visitor’s name and company in the chat window and notify you or your sales reps when the target account visits the website. This way teams can be prepared to optimize engagement and get a real conversation started.

3. Virtual or in-person events

Events are unmatched when it comes to fulfilling the personalized connection that enterprise sales rely on. ABM teams can use the entire event from start to post-event follow-ups to create personalized experiences.

Virtual events are on an upward trend now due to the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean they have to be any less personal. Tools like GoToWebinar and Hopin can make a virtual event really engaging with polling, chat tools, and the ability to stream video during the presentation. 

Once the event is over, you can start nurturing new relationships through follow-up activities. Blend the event with other digital channels, like a personalized sales follow up or direct mail thank you gift. Invite executives to post-event Q&As, or to be a guest at a future event, or other format, such as a podcast.

4. Email and email retargeting

The worst thing is to get an email from a salesperson who has obviously not taken the time to understand your role or company. Executives and other personas are frequently inundated with outreach efforts from multiple vendors. Make sure your email campaigns are well researched and personalized.

One way to differentiate via email is to send a personal video, especially if it’s from an executive at their level or higher. This lets the prospect know they’re not just another name on an automated list—they’re unique, recognized, and valued.

5. Customized content

Even the smallest adjustment to marketing content has the potential to make a huge difference in making it more relatable to a potential buyer. Include custom presentations, videos or guides for each executive or professional in the buying committee. Think about their priorities and challenges and address them straight on. Much of the content can be repurposed for top-of-funnel prospects as well.

Include customized content in tandem with other outreach, like personalized emails, direct mail gifts, or personalized post-event follow up.

Using a Blended, Multichannel Approach to Grow Revenue

Just like every business is unique, so are the individuals within each buying committee. It takes time and significant research to see who reads blogs more, who is an avid social media user, or who is the life of the party at events. The more time invested in building real relationships and human connection, the more likely you’ll see your efforts pay off.

ABM isn’t simple, but it is effective. Take time to analyze your goals, target account list, and budget to prioritize which approaches will be most likely to work for your company. Enterprise sales cycles are long and you may not see the reward immediately, but over time ABM is a highly rewarding way to approach B2B marketing.

Power your personalization strategy with an in-depth understanding of how your prospects are consuming cloud products and using digital infrastructure. Learn more about how Intricately’s unique data reveals cloud product adoption, usage, and spend for key prospects.

Don’t miss these too