Account Based Marketing: Land And Expand
Results, results, results. That’s what champions of Account Based Marketing (ABM) promise. By targeting customers you would like to get – in industries you already know and have a successful track record in – you will be concentrating on very specific leads. As we discussed in a previous article, Account Based Marketing: The New Strategic Approach for Success, you’re considering a strategic decision to try a new approach. Instead of casting a wide net and hoping to catch a lot of fish – only some of which are desirable – you are casting a very narrow net, knowing that the fish you catch are exactly the fish you want.
You’ve assembled your team – alignment of sales, marketing, engineering, production and management, is crucial to make this outreach to new customers succeed. You’ve held an initial brainstorm to develop a list of target accounts. You have an Initial Plan of Action where you have developed not only your list of target accounts, but identified the key decision-makers with whom you wish to connect, with key profile data about those people. Most importantly, you’ve aligned internally and have support for an initial rollout of the team’s effort.
Set Goals. Take Baseline Measurements.Industrial Account Based Marketing goals need to be realistic. Don’t make your target list too big or have your marketing support be too small. This is about building momentum in order to keep driving results. Now is the time to assess what has been working so far, specifically related to those key profiles. Which marketing efforts and sales efforts have yielded new customers or new orders that matched that profile? Was the last Email blast effective? Did your ad campaign succeed in generating awareness? Was the downloadable white paper on your website actually downloaded? Knowing what hasn’t worked can be as important as knowing what has. Having data is important here. We realize that sometimes the data can’t be pulled from a complex CRM system (though that data is nice to have). Sometimes it requires the sales team sitting and discussing these key profiles – sharing what they know from their one-on-one connections. Take a hard look at the metrics and make some hard decisions about marketing methodologies – ask yourselves which are more likely to reach the targets on your list. Segmenting your target list may help you determine which tactics are more effective. Do engineers download white papers while product managers tend to want information that “cuts to the chase”? Segmenting can help you identify the right tactic to use for each target group. Segmenting can also help you to identify which targets are the highest priority and deserve the most effort, or what your budget can support. Digital marketing can be a great asset here – taking audience segmentation to the next level by factoring in demographics, online behavior and content affinities (which information and content a user is most likely to engage with). Using data tracking platforms, backed by existing website & CRM data, ABM teams can make decisions that identify who are the best targets and the best ways to try find more of those targets. Again, goals must be set collectively. Maybe one identified profile is more likely to convert to a sale, but another profile is better aligned with long-term revenue growth and product development. Learn as much as you can about what you have done and what you already know, before you embark on something new. Keep in mind, many advanced digital marketing segmentation techniques allow businesses to exclude audiences that are not relevant to their business goals. With this approach, ABM teams can maximize their digital marketing investment, focusing spend on only qualified key targets. This can be a good time to consider polling. If the core group working on your ABM plan has teams they work with – ask for input. Send out questionnaires to internal staff about their experiences. Consider polling customers that match your target. Find out what they like, what they considered important, what is driving their decisions today. Surveys can be a relatively easy way to quickly start to assemble some valuable data and require a smaller investment.
ABM Marketing PlanStarting with your highest priority target and the most effective tactics developed so far, analyze what else can be implemented or supplemented to attract this potential key customer. Do they need technical articles to help keep current and well-informed (and also make your brand look like a knowledge expert)? Perhaps adding cost-reduction strategies, along with calculators, to your website can encourage engagement. As you are building engagement plans, starting with your highest priority targets, and be sure to also keep track, in real-time, of what seems to be working. Are invitations to field events (like Lunch & Learns) getting RSVPs? Are trade show efforts working? Remember the goal is deep not wide. Efforts that build a real relationship and establish a dialogue with a target turn a lead into a new business partner.
We know who our key profile is, now what? We must get that person’s attention and drive them through a pre-planned experience. We need a plan about when, where, what and how we are going to give that person the information that they need. From the previous article we know about that key profile target. Now we build a strategic plan to get them into our net… and into our boat. We need to create “touchpoint sales funnels.” From start to finish, what will be the methodology to attract and serve this new key in our target company.Strategic digital marketing can be affective in many of these efforts. In addition to demographic, interest and profile data, ABM teams can utilize geo-fencing or geo-targeting to reach key targets. With geo-fencing, marketers specify a tight radius – for example, a tradeshow event – and serve their message through digital placements. Geo-targeting is honing on the key segment based located within a broader radius, for example, in a zip code or in a location. With advance attribute targeting leveraging trusted third-party data, ABM teams can reach their key targets anytime they are engaging with digital content.
It’s important to understand the investment that ABM requires. There is a lot of time that goes into the thinking, the planning, the development of materials that help you continually prove your relevancy and the value in this new relationship. While this article reviews the aspects of each step at a top level, there is a lot at work, and a lot of thought, that goes into effective ABM. If one of the tools you need in your arsenal is additional marketing support, make sure you have what you need to succeed before you start. Nothing is more detrimental to business development than to entice your key target and then have your follow-through be weak or non-existent. Make sure you have the resources you need to then offer the resources the target needs. This is a first impression, and your only chance at it.
Land. Then Expand.
You’ve got a new business prospect on board. Great. Now is the time to strike while the iron is hot. ABM isn’t just about getting into new companies – it’s about expanding your reach inside those new companies. Your new business prospect can be your “Power Connection” or “Champion” within the organization. You’ve successfully connected with your prospect by demonstrating and delivering key information. Now you’re ready to expand your network within the target company.
Who else can this key person introduce you to and how can your “Champion” grow your business from inside their business? Perhaps they can help you cross-sell to other divisions, or to similar people in that organization (these are often other important Decision Makers who match your target profile). In other words, what can you do now that you have the inside track, to push your way up, and out, the ladder of decision-makers?
Demonstrated Knowledge Through Marketing.
Just as the marketing assets that we developed to target our key profiles have helped foster that first relationship – showing expertise, understanding, and responding to the concerns of our first contact – we can leverage those assets to expand to like-minded targets in the same company. You’ve invested into the development of white papers, technical articles, videos, support documentation, emails, etc. – all of which show how you can help solve a challenge or understand the target’s needs. Not only can we re-purpose much of this material – but based on feedback from our first key connection, we can refine or develop new, more-focused materials, to expand our reach.
Help proactively make your prospects’ lives easier, and position yourself as the go-to resource and knowledge leader. Make these high priority targets feel special once you’ve landed them. Would a webinar created for their industry – or addressing the latest technology they can utilize – help them educate their employees? Is there an article on top ways to reduce prototyping cost, ideally an approach specially designed with their industry’s processes in mind, that will help with cost containment?
These are more than marketing efforts. These are tools that your targets can use to educate and engage their employees. These are also the tools that are there to promote you as a knowledge leader and increase the likelihood that your key contact will champion your brand. It’s important to remember that being the person to recommend a vendor switch is a risky position – and not one people are willing to take on lightly. A good suite of focused materials, developed by marketing (likely in conjunction with sales and engineering), becomes your arsenal. Your champion inside that company is able to showcase their knowledge – sharing your highly-relevant information with others (“check out this interesting article I just read”) – without suggesting a vendor switch. It will become apparent, in no time, who is offering greater value. Grow your message through controlled commentary and specifically-created, focused positioning, and allow your “Champion” to leverage your tools.
Immediate ABM Expertise for Manufacturers & Industrial Companies
Account based marketing takes time and consideration – and our team has the experience to help with almost two decades of B2B marketing expertise. With so many companies running “lean and mean” these days, an effective outside marketing team can augment your efforts and boost your prowess.
Want to learn more on industrial Account Based Marketing techniques? This article is just one of three. Check out these related articles by our team:
Part 1: Account Based Marketing: The New Strategic Approach for B2B Marketing Success. (5 minute read)
Part 3: Account Based Marketing: Serve. Don’t Sell. (4 minute read)
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