As seasoned marketers, we know employing a shotgun approach to reaching our prospects probably isn’t the best way to garner results. All the rage has been 1 to 1 personalized marketing. Not the hokey mail merge – “Dear [insert name here], companies like [insert company name here]…” – but true segmented, relevant communications that get to the heart of what pain point is keeping prospects awake at night. If we combine a shotgun approach with true 1 to 1, that is where we’ll find the sweet spot. Let me explain.
Traditionally, we harvest our list of prospects – many organizations that meet our criteria and go after the decision-maker based on title (CEO, director of marketing, COO, etc.) within the organization. So, our target list may look a little like 1,500 organizations all targeting the 1,500 directors of marketing or like titles. Sound familiar? If we take a step back, we can see with clarity how this approach is flawed. Take a look inside your own organization. Does one person or one department make decisions in isolation? No. There are multiple influencers and decision-makers across organization departments.
To break through, it is time to start implementing account-based marketing (ABM) strategies. This is not new, but technology allows us to execute with much more scale and success. Account-based marketing is a structured approach to developing and implementing highly customized sales and marketing campaigns for single accounts. It names your accounts or companies as the one lead versus many leads at the one account. You could say we are shotgunning the company with precision – hitting multiple stakeholders with very targeted and relevant messages and channels.
You may be nodding your head or even saying under your breath, “Yep, we do this.” And, if that is you, give yourself a pat on the back. Now, consider your strategy and execution. Do you have the insight into those accounts to build a targeted value proposition? What is their specific need or problem (organization and person), and how will you help solve it for them? And, are you considering the personas and roles each of those contacts play in the chain? To be effective, the messaging must strike a chord, be in the right channel and at the right time (so don’t be too shy to send your messages multiple times and within multiple channels).
But what about filling the sales pipeline? You may need to reconsider your key performance indicators. Traditional lead-based metrics focus on lead volume. With ABM, the top of your lead funnel (accounts) may be smaller, but the relationship goes broad and deep. With this strategy, it becomes so important for sales to be aligned with marketing in a team approach. Engagement metrics may provide a better indication of conversion and you can start to lean more on lead scoring models and create the roadmap of communications.
The first steps to consider as you move to employing ABM strategies:
- Structure and clean your B2B prospect list. Assign a sales or account executive to the company. Align all employees under that company with contact information, title, function and persona identification.
- Assign an opportunity level to the account. What is the lifetime potential of acquiring this account for your company?
- Create personas for your target audiences. Who are they, what do they care about, where do they find information and more.
- Develop a message matrix. What are the key messages to deliver for each audience?
- Start outlining the communications plan to align with your business objectives.