We all want warm leads - and lots of them.
While it may often seem a good idea to case your net far and wide as you can, it can also make great sense to incorporate the Moby Dick approach: going specifically for certain key, whale-sized accounts you’d love to have on board, swapping your fishing net for a well-sharpened harpoon.
This strategy is known as Account Based Marketing (ABM, for short). WARNING: this is the first of many acronyms I will be throwing at you.
ABM is all about targeting specific companies and personalizing their customer experience to warm them up and secure that all important sale. Also known as KAM (key account marketing), ABM uses ABA and ABS, to create an amazing ABX!
To untangle these acronyms, let’s first have a look at at ABM:
Traditional marketing uses the strategy of going at a whole sector or field of companies and then attempting to nurture them until the prospects present themselves to you.
Account Based Marketing, however, identifies target companies first, then engages in personalized campaigns in order to build a lasting relationship.
So the main differences between traditional marketing and account based marketing:
- ABM targets individual companies, while traditional marketing concentrates on a whole sector or industry
- ABM creates personalized campaigns, while the traditional technique is to use the same campaign for all companies
- ABM researches the most compatible companies to spend their time on, while traditional marketing can often involve sending campaigns to companies who aren’t the best of fits
If you’re thinking about implementing Account Based Marketing into your sales strategy, there are four key activities you’ll need to:
1) Deep Research
To secure the personal element of your campaigns you need to know the targeted company inside out. This includes:
The people: who works there, how long for and who are the key decision makers you’re going after?
Company challenges: you’ll need to consider new government legislation affecting them, changes in technology, competitors and upcoming trends in their specific sector.
To help and persuade the company you are targeting, you have to convince them you know their industry better than they do themselves.
Account based marketing does not presume every company in one industry faces the same challenges but instead concentrates on the miniscule details particular for each company. I would argue it’s this attention to detail that will get their attention.
2) Targeted content creation
Following on from doing some deep research into your target accounts, you can now create content which specifically discusses solutions to their biggest problems.
If you can get this bit right, you'll go a long way to building rapport with the accounts you most want on board before you even speak to them directly.
Positioning yourselves as thought leaders way before you even pick up the phone is a great way to get ahead of the competition and warm up a relationship.
The content you create, however, should have no sales pitch in it whatsoever. It should just allude to the fact that you have a fix, rather than specifically outlining your offering.
That said, case studies are a great way to show your successes in solving specific challenges without being too boastful, so that's one way you could grab the prospect's attention without putting them off.
3) InMail Campaigns
LinkedIn’s sponsored InMail allows companies to connect through a messaging service, which has a more personalized element than your everyday email.
As well as messaging prospective customers, you can also send invites to webinars, events, or promotions. InMail campaigns follow the ABM theme of personalized marketing, allowing you to get in contact with multiple members of one company and find out even more about them.
4) Postal Campaigns
Mail has truly gone full circle. Everyone now receives hundreds of email every day, but less people than ever are sending postal campaigns.
This tactic provides a direct way of getting in contact with the prospective client which, done correctly, can go a long way to building trust.
In Account Based Marketing, the use of postal campaigns tends to be done on a smaller basis to continue the personalisation of contact between you and the company.
Account Based Marketing to some people is a waste of time. But if used correctly, ABM can create a long lasting bond between you and potential clients.
With the use of ABM, prospective companies are more likely to trust you, thanks to the time spent on research, together with individualised campaigns. Some people view time as money, believing the more people you contact in an hour the more sales you will receive. I disagree.
Time is money - if you put in the time and concentration on a particular company, you are much more likely to reap the rewards.
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