ABM
Business
Sep
14

B2B Account-Based Marketing Tactics That Work for Hard-To-Reach B2B Decision Makers

Jaycen Thorgeirson
Founder & Chief Storyteller
Photo by:

If you need to reach high-value decision makers in B2B, it can feel like staring up a mountain face.

However, with the right plan, resources and expert guidance, you can reach that summit and take in the remarkable view from the top! For hard-to-reach B2B decision makers, that plan starts with an account based mindset. 

Last week, we talked about what account based marketing is, and how it can help your marketing efforts in 2021...and beyond. If you’re interested in account based marketing as a strategy, you might be wondering how best to implement it given the overwhelming amount of “thought leaders” spewing various tech and approaches. 

We’re going to make it quite simple and actionable for you. 

Here are some of our favorite account based marketing tactics that have been successful in generating business results and how to make them work for you.

B2B Account-based marketing tactics that work for hard-to-reach B2B decision makers

Account based marketing is effective, but only if you make an impression with your intended audience. I mean, you could be the best performing musician in the world, but does that really matter if no one was able to hear you? This should be a critical focus for your account based mindset. How do I reach my target audience in a way that helps them stop and want to pay attention to my tune? 

Here’s a few different ways. 

B2B Direct Mail

Photo by Trinity Nguyen

It’s become an old cliche to say “direct mail is dead.” For the last decade, digital marketers have insisted that digital is the only way. 

Sure, nobody likes getting spammy, generic offers in the mail. But nobody likes getting spammy emails either, ads, LinkedIn messages, etc. The point isn’t that people dislike physical mail. In fact, there are some amazing stats to consider when it comes to leveraging direct mail. 


  • On average, Americans receive 605 emails and 16.8 pieces of mail every week (special opportunity given COVID restrictions and parents working from home) 
  • For roughly every 36 emails you receive on average, you get 1 piece of mail in your mailbox.
  • The average lifespan of an email is 17 seconds, compared to direct mail’s average lifespan of 17 days.
  • Up to 90% of direct mail gets opened, compared to only 20-30% of emails.
  • Per USPS, 98% of people check their mail daily and Americans spend upwards of 30 minutes with their mail on a single occasion.
  • 68% of marketing respondents said combining digital and direct mail increased website visits.
  • The average advertiser spends $167/per person on Direct Mail with a average return of $2,095/per person
  • 42% read or scan their DM 
  • Response rates are 5-9 times higher than any other channel 
  • Average response rate for houselists is 9% and 4.9% for prospect lists

The point is that people respond to direct mail, especially when it's highly relevant, personal and experiential. In the context of ABM, when you demonstrate the proper value in the quality of the sendable experience, it feels a thousand times more thoughtful than any digital approach could ever be. 

How to build an ABM direct mail campaign that crushes it

An effective ABM direct mail campaign requires three key elements: highly personal, relevant, and a high perceived value equal to the action desired. When strategizing around direct mail, consider the following:

  • Who is the recipient? What do you know about them that makes them unique? What do they like or talk about, professionally and personally? This will support being personal in a real way.
  • What key challenge is the recipient actively seeking to solve? If your solution isn’t part of solving for the challenge currently, what future problem may they be unaware of that you can address? This will ensure relevance around messaging. 
  • How can you make your direct mail experience welcoming, rather than being viewed as an interruption or disturbance? What is the value of getting the recipient to the action you desire? Considering these questions will help you formulate the level of effort and spend required to make a meaningful impact.  

If you make your ABM direct mail truly personal, relevant and of high value you’ll be on your way to bypass gatekeepers and reach the heart of your most valued audience. 

For more guidance on making a remarkable first impression with B2B direct mail, check out this article: How to Deliver a Remarkable Impression Part 1.

Account-Specific Offers

Photo by Vince Fleming 

With account based marketing, every part of the campaign should be crafted to your prospective client and role-based needs. This is true with what you’re offering as a call to action, as well.

Perhaps you have a one-size-fits-all offer of 10% off an initial consultation. But if you want to win high-value clients with account based marketing, you have to show you understand their specific needs through the ask too. 

How to make account-specific offers that work

Rather than offering something vague, make it incredibly specific. 

Identify one problem for each account and role within along with one thing you can offer that will help them solve it. 

For instance, if you know your prospect account is struggling with data clean-up and they are the CIO, offer a free data diagnostic. If they are at the same account, but are the CEO, offer to meet CEO to CEO to talk about how other leaders in their industry are achieving more growth through better data-based insights. 

By offering something incredibly relevant to their role and current problems, you encourage the prospect to take the next natural step. For more insights around making your messaging relevant, check out this article: How to Deliver a Remarkable First Impression Part 2.

Personalized Digital Experiences

Photo by Jon Tyson

It’s often the little things that can make a big difference, right? It's no different in how you show up throughout the journey with your target audience. If you’ve intrigued your prospect enough that they’re ready to check you out online, then you want the destination to be as relevant and personal as possible. 

In some cases, this may mean personalized landing pages for each recipient and account. Other times, segmenting by industry or core challenges may be enough. 

An example of an ABM personalized website experience that worked

DocuSign had over 450 enterprise accounts that they wanted to win over, all in different stages of the buying process. 

First, they created a display ad campaign that showed different messaging depending on the prospect's stage in the buying process. The display ad campaign led to their website, which showed six industry-specific sets of images and copy depending on what was most relevant to the prospect.

To read more about DocuSign’s results, and other effective direct marketing examples, check out this article: 8 B2B Marketing Examples That Drive ROI.

C-level to C-level Outreach

Photo by Cytonn Photography

Often in B2B, it’s the C-suite making the final decisions on who to partner with. That means you are reaching out to and trying to convince C-level executives.

In that case, you need to show expertise, commitment, and cultivate a personal relationship. One of the best ways to do this is to match your target with the same level in your organization.

How to make C-level to C-level outreach work

If you’re trying to reach a CEO, it could be your company’s CEO or equivalent who is making the first touchpoint. This kind of high value attention starts your new relationship off on the right foot with your prospect. 

This doesn’t mean that your CEO needs to spend their time making cold calls. A video introduction is just as personal and often more effective, and it can be sent to multiple accounts at once. Video is especially impactful when combined with a high impact multimedia direct mail send.

For the most effective outreach, match up other members of your organization to their counterparts. Have your Director of Marketing speak with the prospect’s Director. Connect sales reps with sales reps. IT with IT. The more real, human connections you can make, the better.

For more tips on reaching the C-suite, check out this article: How to Get a Direct Marketing Response from C-Suite Level Execs.


Check Back Next Week for the Conclusion to our ABM Series:

Account Based Marketing in the Real World

Now you have some account based marketing tactics proven to work engaging the hardest-to-reach B2B prospects, we can’t wait to see what you create.  

For more inspiration (and proof these tactics work), tune in next week where we’ll share the Top B2B Account Based Marketing success stories.