Account-Based Marketing: What’s the Secret Sauce?
Jun 29, 2016
In a time when we are trying to gain the attention of our customer by being louder and flashier than the competition, a new way of reaching them has emerged: account-based marketing.
Account-based marketing is a method to intelligently reach out to specific leads in a way that both makes sense to them and in which they are more likely to listen. The goal is to speak in a more personalized way to get to the specific needs of a particular account. Instead of leading to just one person, you put in efforts to target the company, connecting with team members in different roles to influence the entire team while continuing outbound efforts to connect with others in various roles.
On a most basic level, sales teams continue running their leads that already exist within the company, while marketing builds content to connect with different influencers within the company.
The basic formula for account-based marketing includes a few key pieces:
- Targets. Start by choosing the accounts that you most want to target in order to get highly specific with your messaging. Don’t get crazy with your list here, there are ways to expand over time, but you really want to narrow down your accounts to be able to customize content for the various influencers within that accounts’ needs. At the heart of this you are getting specific. You aren’t just talking to the industry – you’re talking to a specific group of people within a single company with different points of view on one mission. Did I mention specificity is the name of the game?
- Research. Research, research, research. Account-based marketing only works if you have some very specific information about your targeted account and the leads. Consider the market, current events, historical context of the account. Look at social media to see if leads within the account are weighing in on events and trends. Explore if your team has any relationships or connections to the account that you can leverage. This research should produce insights and key information that personalizes the message and becomes the foundation upon which your content sits.
- Plan. Once you have a specific audience and message set, examine the resources you have for how you’re going to reach out. Consider the channels you have available and how you could get in touch with these leads. Email is one very important part of that puzzle. Direct mail isn’t dead either. Social channels like Twitter and LinkedIn are great platforms to start conversations, and there’s nothing like shaking a hand at a networking event where leads will be, or, even better, inviting prospects to share a meal. Consider what avenues you have at your fingertips and how to get to the right people.
- Reach out. The content you make should have those nuggets of personalization gold that will engage. Follow up on your emails with those other channels. Be tenacious, but don’t forget this is a conversation. You’re not blasting, but trying to figure out what your target account is struggling with now, and what solution you can easily serve. Let the research you’ve done and the content you’ve created do most of the heavy lifting.
- Measure. Success in this case is more about the quality of the interactions with leads than the quantity. Use KPIs that relate to marketing influence rather than marketing generated leads. Are you talking to the right people? Did you use the best research to reach your leads? How did they engage with the content? Did your efforts move sales?
Using good insights into potential customers’ situation, you can create content for outreach consistent with their needs to drive sales. If you think that sounds a lot like content marketing—“consistent adherence to creating and distributing valuable and relevant information to attract, retain and ultimately motivate an audience”—I’d agree with you.
Ultimately, account-based marketing needs good content that is intentional and direct to motivate your audience of one. According to the marketing research company ITSMA’s annual survey, 84% of companies say ABM delivers higher ROI than other kinds of marketing. So it’s the same old story, knowing your audience and making compelling content drives sales.
So, is it worth it? I’d love to hear what you think, tweet me @samanthacibelli with your thoughts.