How to Employ Account Based Marketing to Close More B2B Deals
The Pareto Principle is an interesting theory that is applicable to just about any situation involving circumstance, action, and results. The principle originally conceived by the Italian philosopher, Vilfredo Pareto when he was picking peas from his backyard vegetable garden, simply states that 80% of the results are achieved from 20% of the action.
Pareto stumbled on this when he observed that 80% of the peas came from 20% of his plants. The same effect can be observed in national wealth distribution, software testing, social behavior, and just about anything that involves an analysis of quantifiable results and the actions that led to them.
Account Based Marketing or ABM is a proven strategy that is loosely based on Pareto’s “peapod” concept. In 2018, ABM is basically growing into a ‘rule of thumb’ when it comes to B2B marketing.
Account Based Marketing is a refined and evolved marketing approach that entails focusing on a handful of key clients or accounts with a personalized approach. The result is a very cost-effective and result-oriented marketing technique that ensures you deliver customized services and products for your clients giving them a richer experience and, for you, a stronger portfolio that draws in even more clients.
While conventional marketing techniques employ a generic and widespread “net” to pull in “big numbers,” ABM is about a highly-targeted and calculated technique that, on execution, provides amazingly effective results.
1. Growing Into An Account Based Marketing Culture
ABM is more of a mindset and less of a strategy. This calls for a complete change in your priorities and so, rather than thinking about the results head-on, it’s imperative to focus on creating that ABM buzz before you launching the campaign.
i. Choose Your Relationships
Remember we discussed Pareto’s 80/20 concept earlier? The first thing you need to decide on is the 20% for whom you’re going to put in your 80%. A typical ABM strategy is based on a small number of customized, hyper-targeted campaigns for your chosen clients.
Of course, this is not always the easiest thing to do, and the success of the campaign would largely depend on your industry niche. So study your market and if you conclude that a highly customized campaign for each and every one of your clients is not a practical idea, try focusing on a particular segment of the industry. You can always build your campaign around a specific business genre.
ii. Bringing Everybody On The Same Page
Just like you would remodel a home or restaurant, the internal dynamics between your sales and marketing teams need to be remodeled as well. There is a complete shift in mindset that needs to be achieved when you’re trying to implement an account based marketing campaign successfully.
Unlike conventional marketing, filling up your file cabinet with a long list of contacts is not the aim of the game. You’re building relationships instead of contacts, so it’s important that you have a CRM in place that facilitates the management of these relationships.
In effect, every interaction or “experience” that you share with a prospect needs to be monitored and analyzed as to how it makes a positive impact on the relationship. For an ABM to yield positive results, it’s critical to have both your sales and marketing teams on the same page all the way.
iii. Keeping It Personal
Say goodbye to the boring generic emails that you send to your client representatives! Remember the operative phrase here is personalized attention. For an account based marketing campaign to kick in, the undertone of any interaction needs to be personal.
Any email, phone call, or meeting needs to build on to the foundation of your relationship. It could even be something in reference to something you discussed in a previous interaction. It’s imperative that any content that you deliver is specific, helpful, and relevant.
iv. Reinforcing the Contact Base
This is crucial. Most conventional marketing strategies focus on building a network of contacts within the organization AFTER you zero in on the target. It’s easy to take any of the contacts you build for granted once the numbers are in.
Account based marketing recognizes each contact within the organization as a crucial asset towards closing a deal. Rather than focusing on individual contacts which is the usual way, ABM campaigns targets the entire workforce as an entity and researches their specific requirements to prepare a proposal.
v. Keep the Pitch Secondary
Establishing a relationship is key to a successful ABM campaign. You need to keep in mind that relationships are always built personally. There needs to be a keen understanding of a prospective client’s immediate and long term goals and the means to achieve those goals.
Do not even think about pitching your services before you establish a comfortable talking space. There is a wide range of subjects you can build your talking points on. Do your research on the company. You’re bound to find something unique about it. Check out whether you have any mutual connections on social platforms such as LinkedIn. These are great points that you can use to your advantage to build a good rapport.
Also, make sure that you have a recorded “conversation timeline.” Keep a record of what you say during each interaction and study it before you make contact each time. The conversation needs to be built on what you were discussing previously, so that your relationship has an organic quality.
vi. Build Your Visibility
When a potential customer looks you up online, it’s necessary to have a credible image. The internet opens so many tools that you can work to your advantage. Update your website regularly with relevant content.
Blogs, newsletters, white papers are all assets that can build you a respectable name in the industry. Share content that will be useful for your prospective clients. Somebody from your target range should be able to feel that they have gained useful information by using these resources that you provide them. This in turn will pitch you up as a reliable resource to help a business grow.
2. What are the Benefits of Implementing an ABM Campaign?
An increasing number of companies are adopting Account Based Marketing as their primary B2B marketing strategy. It’s not just about making a change or adopting a trend. The strategy has proven results to show
i. The Power Of Personalization
There’s this neat subtle party trick to hold somebody’s attention even in the most distracting environments – you just call whoever you’re talking to by name while you’re talking. You will have the full attention of your intended audience. Your mind is naturally networked to respond positively to something that seems to be exclusively packaged for you. This is a proven fact.
Take your e-mail for instance. You’re most likely to skip over conversations titled, “An Amazing Opportunity Awaits” or “Fantastic Discounts.” You WILL take five seconds to read through something that has YOUR NAME on it.
Account based marketing takes this concept to a whole new level. You want to generate content that somebody who has key decision-making powers actually wants. Now to get this content made, you may need to pay due diligence in research, and this is going to be recognized.
Conventional marketing is about blasting away on all cylinders and throwing whatever you have at hand. It can click or it can fail – you never really know what the actual contributing factors towards a campaign’s success or failure is.
ABM makes it much easier to keep track on what factors actually feature in winning somebody over or losing a potential client for that matter. With advanced software that’s available today, you can easily make changes in real time to your ABM strategy as you move on. Keeping a track of these metrics will play a crucial role in cutting down on costs and the time spent to develop a campaign.
iii. Optimal Resource Utilization
Marketing can be a messy process. It can get all over the place. What ABM does is give structure to your marketing campaign and the resources you developed for a key account to drive your revenue forward.
When your efforts are narrowly focused, it’s a given that your ABM strategy enables you to make the most of your precious resources – manpower and finance. In this aspect, it’s imperative that your marketing and sales teams work together to create highly customized content for your key accounts. This, in effect, helps open clear communication channels between sales and marketing to ensure your B2B marketing resources are utilized in the most optimal fashion.
All said and done, the rise of account based marketing as a primary strategy for B2B companies reflects a paradigm shift in how society operates. Although it wouldn’t be fair to assume that every business model can achieve consistent success by adopting ABM as their primary marketing strategy, there is no doubt that higher effectiveness is guaranteed and much more profits will be rolling in with a lesser amount of effort than usual.