Account Based Marketing (ABM)
Is it a buzzword or does it provide real benefits to your sales growth?
The answer lies in whether you have the appetite to really concentrate your sales plays on individuals rather than a wider scatter gun effect…
Marketing departments in B2B, have always been under pressure from their exec boards to generate leads. This causes them to go for campaigns aimed at bigger numbers, which can have a demonstrable reach in contrast to speaking to fewer, highly targeted, people and creating sales plays aimed specifically at their identified pain points.
The upshot of this scatter gun effect is that the sales plays tend to focus on features and benefits rather than how to alleviate the customer’s pain and selling him something he needs.
So, imagine a perfect world.
You know exactly who at Acme Holdings really needs to buy your product or service, as the pain he was suffering doing his job was forcing him to look for a way to solve it. You could then drop him an email telling him exactly how his pain could be taken away. He would read this and say, yes, that’s exactly what I’m looking for; please come and see me to tell me more. The sales team would go in and based on the sales play aimed at his pain (not your features and benefits), would do a deal.
In the real world, it’s not exactly that easy, as there are lots of plot holes in this utopian view of sales plays. One of these is the customer’s need to be courted with lots of expensive comms (step up to the plate Marketo) and you’re in for at least 6 touch points in a typical sales cycle. That said, if you could identify the individual, create a sales play for people like him in a number of other similar companies you now have the basis of creating an ABM style approach.
So, here’s an approach that we help you consider if you were serious about creating very powerful sales plays using ABM.|
Work out who wants what.
We come in and look, strategically, at who to target and why. We do this by looking at business intel, company R&A and any insight the marketing and sales teams have about who you’re targeting. We then match up your value proposition with these targets and that’s a good foundation for what comes next.
So, we know which companies will want your products and services – now what do the individual targets look like?
You can’t underestimate this stage. Building a persona and identifying their pain is all important. If it’s finance that’s driving the decision, what are their drivers? Who do they influence and who influences them? If it’s logistics – it’s likely to be different – but your offering may appeal to both. Therefore, you see why personas are important.
Sort out your sales plays
Having worked out the pain and who is suffering it, we can now think about how we approach the targets. If we take the example in step 2, there will be different content that relates to finance and logistics – but ultimately you can help both. Having a slightly different sales play for each presents the same basic information in a way that’s tailored for each.
Picking the right channels
Again, the personas help to shape where you can best deliver the greatest impact. Understanding the customer is at the heart of ABM. The more you know the better equipped you are to answer the customer pain and give them what they need. Once you’ve got the right approach, in terms of sales plays, you can then use a good automation tool such as Marketo to serve content according to the strategy.
If you haven’t got a tool such as Marketo or Act-on then we’ll be talking to you about how you’ll deliver your comms to each target individual. Remember that we’re targeting their pain with a set of sales plays created at alleviating this, so it would be better to automate the process or you’ll be up to your neck in sending individual emails. It really depends on the size of your target group. We’ve got clients who target 10 large organisations at a time, but there may be 20-30 individuals within each.
Test and learn
It’s easy to keep a tag on what’s working and what’s not, so we always set this out in advance based on your KPIs. What you’ll find is that particular roles in certain industries react to specific channels or approach. It’s essential that we record these interactions from the sales play; as we can use them on future approaches.