A new way to attract customers…actually it's an old way but re-branded, better refined with cooler technology tools to compliment your marketing strategy and fuel your growth.
As consumers of news we are bombarded daily with the next new cool strategy to develop your pipeline. Any success advice written by someone who has a title of somethingpreneur is hard to resist. There might just be something in it for you so its impossible not to consume more information, sign up to daily news feeds, videos, blogs, webinars…you get the picture. To boil down successful strategies to a simple formula might seem too simple an approach to improve lead generation and growth of your business but it could be a good starting point.
When refreshing your plans to what it is you are actually trying to achieve when setting objectives for your business, starting with 2 basic strategies will get you on your way.
Lets focus on a second model, account-based marketing (ABM) and why its growing in popularity with B2B marketers. Gartner reported that due to the of the demand of businesses to get more bang for their marketing buck, 57% of businesses expected an increase to marketing budgets in 2017. The increase in spend takes into account the rise in the number of tools available to support ABM.
Not convinced that an increase in budgets will improve results? Well research completed by ITSMA showed that 85% of marketers who measure ROI describe account-based marketing as delivering higher returns than any other marketing approach, with half of those marketers citing significantly higher returns.
Whilst, it seems like account-based marketing is a fairly new concept to many people, its actually based on common sense. A big part of the hype around ABM has to do with a lagging alignment between customer experience, marketing and sales within many businesses.
The success of ABM is established in the alignment between these business areas. Better customer experience retains existing customers and attracts new opportunities making sales and marketing more effective with evidence based promotion in. And as you'll see, it's highly useable, if you know where to begin. That's why we're here to help.
What Is Account-Based Marketing?
ABM is a form of strategic business marketing in its essence. An individual customer is treated like they are their very own market by a business. A ‘market of one’ may sound like an over complication or a time drain but by managing the targeted prospect in that way delivers better results for B2B engagement and is frequently used by enterprise level sales organisations.
Why is that? Well, ABM is a particularly useful for organisations with multiple buyers or stakeholders. Part of its goal, says HubSpot's Corporate Marketing Manager Sam Balter, "is to address the needs of organization by connecting with all of the stakeholders within it. That's one reason why it works so well in B2B - oftentimes you have to work with five or more stakeholders in a given sale."
However it can be split into six essential parts, which we will explain how it ties back into inbound marketing and the overall marketing strategy. Just because traditional inbound and ABM are different in concept, it doesn't meant that they shouldn'tcomplement each other.
The meeting of ABM & Traditional Marketing
In theory traditional inbound marketing and ABM are different:
- Inbound marketing where the primary focus is on creating great content to bring prospects to a business.
- ABM places the emphasis and focus on individual prospects and existing customers.
However they unquestionably complement each other. A successful example has been used with our client Juniper Bridge. Their sales team uses both ABM and inbound with a targeted account list and grow their their pipeline with inbound marketing leads.
ABM incorporate pieces of inbound marketing principles which is apath to build better relationships with target accounts.
There is a constant bombardment of information into customers who feel like they are constantly being sold to. To stand out the used of ABM should be used to provide value and doesn't push products and services to the wrong type of customer. There should be a distinction in ensuring that prospects who are unfamiliar with your brand receive a personalised introduction.
The Useful Guide to Account-Based Marketing:
6 Stages to get you started
Establishing your target audience is a fundamental piece of successful marketing. At this stage its all about the company not the person. Ensuring that you know the people or persona comes later.
Collaboration between sales and operational areas is required when identifying your target accounts. If you are unable to corectly support the services you are selling this will be a knock out blow before you get stated. Quantative analysis is the staring point to discover which ‘pots’ or ‘lists’ target customers fall into – compay size, industry sector, location, revenue etc.. Market research is time consuming but makes for better execution of a strategy. The people within a business can also contribute from their experience and intuition. The human touch has a valid place when identifying your target audience.
2) Research your database.
With your targets now identified in terms of types of business you can begin to split them into pots. Much like a customer persona the targeted clients will have a common type of trait that you can build a plan for each list with detailed information.
By understanding these common traits, especially how to recognise the key decision makers within the company structure, will dictate how you build you message and communicate your products/services. You may already have this information within your database and to ensure the data is ‘clean’ don't discount applying additional time to check the details are up to date and conduct a more detailed piece of research, you’ll be thankful later!
For tips on completing a mini audit check out Fiona McLaren’s article on conducting a mini audit
LinkedIn might be the easiest resource location to start your search as it has some really useful and simple search tools. If you have access to the premium search filers in the LinkedIn Recruiter or Sales Navigator there are enhanced features to speed up the research.
3) Content creation
With your lists in place, companies and contacts identified its time to create new content for them. Using business pain points and explaining how your products and services provide a solution needs to speak to both the individual and the company needs.
The use of a ABM strategy to provide targeted messages for specific companies and employees will also produce content that can be used for more general use for inbound. Don't be afraid to sharpen up your website content following your research and content creation.
High quality, clear and compelling content is key. Ask yourself if you would take the time to consume the message and try it out on the people within your peer group.
4) Choose your channels.
At this point you worked hard to construct your targeted lists and created engaging content. Now its time to get your message out there and put the content to work. Choosing the right channels to promote it effectively will allow you to select individual or multiple channels –email. Social media, outbound activity. Base your decision on what will be the most effective medium for your targeted companies and people.
Here’s where it might be helpful to know where the specific people within each target “live” online. The Pew Research Center Demographics of Social Media Users does an excellent job of profiling the users of five major social media platforms -- Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. That should shed some light on which channels the people within each account are mostly likely using, and how they consume the content you’re custom-creating for each of them.
Handy guide to social media channels here.
5) Kick off your campaign.
Ready, steady….hang on just a moment. Before you execute your campaign be sure to check that your messaging has been coordinated to avoid clashes. Getting the right message to the right contacts without duplication or mixed messaging, if you have decided on a range of communications, will improve chances of success.
With a limited number of potential targets it's a common mistake to hit them with repetitive or conflicting messaging. So double check the data then get it out there.
6) Measure your results.
Even the very largest brands with what seems like a limitless marketing budget need to measure success of campaigns. There are a million ways with conflicting metrics out there but the one that's most important is how each of your campaigns performs against the last one. Be realistic and pragmatic when looking at the results and don't be afraid to tweak the messaging if its not delivering the results first expected, they seldom do. However, do stick with the plan and remain consistent with the core messaging and frequency of communications.
When measuring an ABM campaign high level questions to measure success might include:
· Are we growing our list of known individuals within the target account? And is the data accurate?
· Have there been any change to the way these accounts are engaging with our company and content? – Check web analytics and inbound platforms such as Hubspot and Lead Forensics to measure inbound visits.
· How much revenue was generated from these target accounts?
Ready to Get Account-Based?
Any approach to driving leads and opportunity when split into manageable chunks if far more practical way of delivering results. Account based marketing for B2B fits into a fully formed strategy that includes inbound. ABM feels more pro-active, will engage your employees whatever their role in the sales process and gives your business the best opportunity to fuel your growth.
Of course you don't have to do this alone, we are on hand to provide further insight, advice and will work with you to develop your marketing strategy. We’d love to hear from you firstname.lastname@example.org