Are you casting a wide net in your marketing efforts or hunting with a spear?
If you’re selling large B2B accounts, ABM (account-based marketing) is the golden ticket to successful whale hunting and can only be done with one focused shot. Casting a wide net might reel in a promising prospect or two, but most of your catch will be the wrong type for your business.
ABM brings its own unique challenges given the accuracy you need to win the big hunt! It’s different from the usual marketing framework of casting out lots of lines and nets and waiting to see what you catch.
If you’re questioning if ABM marketing is right for you, consider if your company’s growth goals include doing business with a set number of companies specific by name/brand, size, or a focused industry.
If you answered yes to any of these, keep reading!
I’m going to dive into top tips and strategies you can implement pretty rapidly without a lot of overhauls to your existing efforts.
It’s one thing to generally know who you’re after. It’s another to understand at a deeper level how they interface, interact, and engage within their organization.
Marketing experts talk about understanding your audience and doing market research. But we miss out on an important under-the-surface factor with ABM. For example, your market research may have determined your prospect to be a 35–65-year-old male/female CTO who lives XYZ lifestyle, consumes XYZ information, and cares about XYZ.
Boom. Now you have your focused target, and all your efforts — from direct outreach efforts to inbound attraction — are driven toward them, often with blinders on.
What’s missing? If you are targeting a large account, say a fortune 50 company — that isn’t your only persona target. There are anywhere from 5-15 key decision makers and influencers that report to that persona, or your persona reports to. They typically meet and discuss problems and solutions with one another “over the water cooler.”
Even within our small company at Active Blogs, if someone on our team comes across a useful product/service offering or a valuable piece of information, we share that with one another and may end up adopting the
solution for ourselves. I may buy a marketing software from a solution our web developer had placed in front of him.
Realize, no matter which channel you’re leveraging, you are targeting your ideal buyer persona, but you need to expand your output to reflect the pains, gains, and claims amidst the entire group of buyers and influencers within the account.
Before I make recommendations on what you could potentially add to your ABM efforts, take inventory of what you are already doing. Chances are, you could start culling more out of your marketing mix than you will eventually add. Take inventory of what is currently “working,” if not in exactly the right ways.
The other day, I met with a prospect who informed me they were pumping thousands of dollars a month into SEO — and getting tons of leads — but no sales. Their target market is fortune 100 financial institutions, but none of those SEO leads were in their ideal account list.
Is this kind of thing happening to you? Your focus and attention should be directed toward more fruitful avenues.
Salespeople = Marketing people
If your sales team is reaching out directly to your target accounts, they leave a marketing impression with every voicemail, email, DM, you name it.
Does the messaging they use match their social media profile messaging, your website’s message, as well as content? Messaging equals meaning to the people you’re trying to reach. Consistency is important through every step of your prospects’ discovery journey.
Messaging needs to be specific instead of broad in speaking to their unique pains, potential gains, and the claims you’re making. Use your company brand ambassadors’ — including salespeople, company leaders, and your marketing team — personal brands as your strongest delivery asset for ABM.
Land and expand
When implementing ABM, the closest proximity to landing new accounts are the ones you already have. Are you making the most of your existing accounts?
On LinkedIn, all the key players on your team should be connected, not only with your existing clients, but with other influencers in their organization as well.
You can leverage those existing client connections as a reference point to new LinkedIn leads by using their names to connect with prospects. Keep in mind what I discussed in the “Identify” section. Don’t just connect with direct decision makers; engage their surrounding influencers and influences.
Retarget those connections with video testimonials of your existing clients and resources your whole team is engaging with. Slowly create the “omnipresent effect.” In the eyes of your target accounts, it will appear as though your company occupies all social media places at all times.
Content is currency
The content you deploy to your targets through your key channels is a digital currency. The more valuable your currency — and the more frequently add to it — the more return you will get from it.
The best ways to create specific content for target accounts include:
- Calling out account pains by specific name/industry
- Using client testimonials and case-studies often
- Asking your sales team for the top questions they receive in the sales cycle prior to purchase
- Doing interviews with influencers from prospect accounts to create podcasts, videos, guest articles, etc. (i.e., collaboration marketing)
- Researching top resources your prospects already consume and sourcing those materials to create your own content
Quit worrying about views and vanity metrics on your content. Quality over quantity. Better to deploy your content through hyper-focused channels like your own email list, social followings, trade publications, you name it. Anywhere you’ve identified as a space your targets already spend time. Hit them with a focused spear rather than casting a wider net.
Content is one of the most difficult marketing activities your marketing team will have to keep up with. Use a custom B2B service like Active Blogs to create all your videos, articles, newsletters, and social media content, so you can save tons of time and focus on the bigger picture of your ABM efforts.
Make sure to share this article with anyone else on your team who needs to receive these insights. Now go sharpen your marketing spear, and hit your targets dead on!
To your success!