How to Find the Right Account-Based Marketing Agency

By: Jack Reamer |
 July 28, 2021 |

Hiring the wrong account-based marketing agency can wreak havoc on your business. 

Not only could you waste time finding the right kind of target accounts, but you could also end up flushing a lot of money down the toilet. 

Lead generation is an art, and unfortunately, some ABM companies lack the experience to bring in qualified leads. 

This guide will help you consider some vital information before jumping into bed with a B2B marketer that you might regret in time. 

Note: 

This information is based on running account-based marketing campaigns since 2014.  Over the years, we have distilled what does and what doesn’t work. Keep reading find out. 

 

1. There is no secret to generating leads.

Transparency is key. If you ask an ABM agency about their process, and they refuse to let you in on their marketing strategy…. RUN

An account-based marketing strategy is generally pretty straightforward. 

It’s a focused approach to B2B marketing in which sales teams work together to find and target the best-fit accounts for their clients.

This marketing effort will, in turn, bring in higher response rates that will hopefully turn into sales because these prospects are so ultra-targeted.  

Example:

If you are selling  SaaS specifically for realtors, you won’t target those in the food industry. This is why that extra bit of research goes a long way in having qualified prospects and not just targeting anyone. 

Because this is what some marketing services do, they take a list of over 1000 people, who are not ultra-targeted, and send out cold emails, hoping for a reply. 

This might be an easy way to send out hundreds of emails to look busy, but the truth is that if your list is not targeted, you will not get much response, meaning very few new leads (If any)… 

BUT this wastes time and money. And even worse, you could be viewed as a spammer. 

This is why it’s essential to ask the ABM agency what their process is… 

If they tell you that they send thousands of email templates out with the use of automation tools, then this should also set alarm bells off in your mind, as this approach will not bring in great metrics

And if they don’t want to tell you about their ABM strategy, keep on looking for a company that will. 

This is our process at Salesbread in short: 

Have a look at our more in-depth article on the Salesbread process:  How This Linkedin Lead GenerationService Gets 1 Lead a Day.

Step 1: Find the right target accounts 

We find the right prospects for your business with extensive research. List building takes time, and we refine this list until it is perfect. 

We have also identified 34 various filters to find the best target accounts. Some examples are listed below:

Of course, we can’t start the list-building process until we can analyze current customers. 

Therefore, we always ask our clients during the onboarding process who has purchased their services within the past six months? 

This gives us an indication of where to start and who to target. Once we find patterns, it makes it easier to find the ideal target audience for your product or service. 

Step 2: Connect with the right leads through personalized invites via Multi-channel campaigns. (Linkedin/Email marketing.) 

Once we have found the perfect target audience, we will connect with them through personalized invites. We use a multi-channel approach, which includes both Linkedin and direct mail.

We prospect a list of carefully selected professionals/ B2B companies that need what you have to sell, based on data.

Then we further narrow that list down to people in your 2nd network. And that’s the group we begin reaching out to with personalized connection requests. 

 Because our list is so refined and our messages are so personalized, we often have really good response rates. 

 Have a look at this one case study

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Verified Prospects

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Open Rate

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Reply Rate

We received a 48% reply rate for this specific email sequence. Have a look below:

As you can see, there is no secret when it comes to account-based marketing programs, and if a company doesnt want to let you in on their process, be wary. 

Step 3: Secure a meeting.

The last step in our ABM campaigns is to set up meetings for you. All that our client has to do is show up and close the deal. 🙂  

 How do we get this step right? 

 Well, once we have made contact with your new leads, we will then secure a meeting with them. We do this by ultra-personalized messaging

Our sales team shows an interest in the potential customers by being genuinely interested in what they are working on; they will also include enough background, so the prospect knows why it’s in their best interest to meet or set an appointment. 

2. Find out if the account-based marketing agency uses different channels for their ABM program.

Something quite important in any outreach campaign is that various channels are being used.

As mentioned above, we use Linkedin and cold email outreach to contact potential prospects. 

If an account-based marketing agency only uses one channel for reaching out to prospects, be wary.

Why?

Because, imagine this company had to run into email deliverability problems or max out their Linkedin messages for the week, the whole campaign shuts down. 

This means that you lose out on new leads, time, and money because they only used one outreach channel. 

3. Discuss costs and expectations

Before you choose to work with any demand generation agency, always talk about your expectations and costs beforehand.

Example:

Perhaps you expect x number of leads within two weeks, which could lead the ABM agency to email thousands of people to match your expectations, but there are still no conversion rates. 

Quality is more important than quantity. So if you are reaching out to only 100 prospects who are super targeted and refined, with high quality, personalized emails, the chances of you getting qualified leads that turn into sales will be higher. 

Pro tip: Run some outreach campaigns on your own beforehand to figure out what a realistic expectation would be. If you can understand how lead generation works, this will help you know what to expect from a hired marketing team

You could also ask when you can expect your first lead. 

For example, at Sales Bread, 92% of clients get their first lead within 24 hours of our launch date

These factors depend on whether or not you have the right buying persona, but if you do, then the ABM agency of your choice should bring in leads within the first week. 

But also, it’s important to note that the first week is usually the slowest when it comes to bringing in leads, but by week 8, you should have quite a few in your sales pipeline. 

What about costs?

Every account-based marketing agency has its own fees, but these fees are very similar most of the time. 

Some might offer different pricing modules, others might charge per lead (which is not advised), and still, others might charge per campaign. 

But you should be comfortable spending between $2000-$5000 per month for an experienced agency that will bring in qualified leads.

Be wary of companies that charge very little for their services. They could be cutting corners during their campaigns, such as not using personalization and using marketing automation tools to send out the same cold email template to everyone on your list. 

It might seem impressive to have 2000 emails sent, but if only one person responds to the email, then the 2000 emails were not actually worthwhile. 

It would be better to send out 100 targeted, personalized emails and receive a 90% reply rate. Wouldn’t you agree?

Also, make sure that there are no hidden costs., By understanding the exact payment structure, you can ensure not running into nasty bills at the end of your campaign.

4. Ask if they use personalization. 

Before hiring an account-based marketing agency, find out if they use personalization in their marketing plan for their messages. If they do great! 

If not…Run

You could even take it one step further and find out if they have a solely dedicated person to doing just that; personalization and research. If they do, this is a great sign that you are choosing an excellent company to work with. 

Why?

Because personalization works, it’s that simple. 

There is an ample amount of research showing that it does. 

Read some of the following stats on personalization by Hubspot.      

  • More than 20% of marketers say personalization can improve email engagement. (HubSpot)

  • 99% of marketers say personalization helps advance customer relationships, with 78% claiming it has a“strong” or “extremely strong” impact. (Evergage)

  • 67% of consumers think it’s important for brands to automatically adjust content based on current context. When brands don’t adjust accordingly, 42% of consumers will “get annoyed” that content isn’t personalized. (Adobe)

  • Three out of four consumers say a business has never communicated with them online in a way that felt too personalized or invasive. (Accenture)

At Salesbread, we use a personalization and research expert who writes personalized copy for each prospect. 

This is one of the primary reasons for our success and why we can bring in 1 lead a day for our clients. 

Here are some examples of what personalized messages should look like:

  •  “Hey (Name), Came across your profile and saw you work in real estate. I’m reaching out to connect with other like-minded people. Would be happy to make your acquaintance. Have a good day!”
  • “Listening to you now & subscribed! Just stumbled upon your podcast and wanted to say thank you for sharing your insights using them to help land a lead gen job. Thank you!”

  • “Great to meet a fellow podcast host. I am the host of (podcast name) and looking forward to having you as a guest on the show. Blessings”

 Notice that we found some interesting facts about the potential decision-maker.

For example, if they were on a podcast, we mentioned it in the connection request message; Or they were in real estate, we added that into the message. 

 This humanizes the outreach, and people are more likely to reply if they see that an actual person is reaching out to them, not just a robot.

5. Have a look at their contract (If there is one.)

Be very cautious of companies that would like to lock you into a contract, whether it be three months, six months, or even a year. If they promise a certain amount of leads, then there shouldn’t be a reason to have you sign a contract.

They should be able to produce leads within the first week, and the problem is that if you sign a contract with them, you are bound to it whether they produce leads or not. 

At SalesBread, we don’t lock our clients into legal contracts because it’s our results that will get the client to stay. 

There are reasons to stick around for three months; things do ramp up after the second month, as it does take time to get those follow-ups going.

BUT you should be happy within the first two weeks. Successful cold email campaigns should see results within the first two weeks. If not, then you should be wary. 

6. Ask for a list of client testimonials.

The right account-based marketing agency should have a long list of RECENT positive client testimonials.

You could always ask to have a look at them, and if it means calling a previous client to make sure that they were happy, the agency could provide you with their phone number, if it means whether or not you choose to work with them.

Often times some companies don’t like to give out clients phone numbers due to confidentiality, but if it means “deal” or “no deal,” they can figure out a way to get you on a call with their old client to put your mind at ease.  

The Takeaway

Finding the right account-based marketing agency can take some time and research. Still, by asking the above questions, the chances of choosing the right lead generation agency for your business will be favorable.

Salesbread is an account-based marketing agency that was established in 2014. With years of experience behind our name, we can take your company to the next level, ensuring one qualified lead per day. 

Contact us today for a free 15 min consultation, and let’s find you those leads. 

 

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