In today’s B2B market, if you are finding traditional sales and marketing methods are not effective as they used to be, what can you do? It’s more important than ever before to focus on being customer centric and to work on aligning and integrating your sales and marketing activities instead of operating in silos.
Are you finding it harder to get your prospective customer’s attention and and taking longer to convert leads to customers?
Do you wonder why your generic ‘one size fits all’ digital marketing content or collateral is not getting much engagement from your prospective customers?
Whether you are a large or small business in a competitive B2B market vying for customer’s attention, you need to keep ensuring you optimise your sales effectiveness from aligning customer centric activities with integrating both your sales and marketing plans.
Account Based Marketing (ABM) implemented the right way as part of an integrated customer acquisition or retention sales strategy (not just a separate marketing function) will help you focus on delivering your value to your prospective customers.
To deliver effective new customer acquisition revenue or customer retention value for your B2B accounts requires targeted joint account based sales and marketing planning. The integration of your digital marketing plan with sales team engagement will help differentiate your customer value proposition and provide better effectiveness flow.
If you are adopting Pareto’s 80/20 rule of 80% of revenue coming from 20% of your client base, this can be very risky to rely on this without diversification into new market segments or actively growing your new customer base in case external market conditions impact your current revenue streams.
Simply using the traditional funnel approach and evangelising the ad hoc volume numbers game might not be working for you or appropriate now, so a different approach which is a ‘flipped funnel’ to an Account Based Funnel approach may be much more effective if implemented properly. Your front of mind should be the importance of customer success and engagement first from your sales, marketing and customer teams.
Account Based Marketing (ABM) is not a new concept, or just a marketing based software tool as part of your overall marketing automation strategy. It’s a methodology but also delivered by the right process to help you connect more effectively with your customer accounts in a strategic and insightful way.
Our view is that ABM is a logical flow of customer centric and buyer journey engagement which creates depth and meaningful delivery of a relevant content plan to the right targeted audience organically.
- Lead generation for sales teams
- Customer market insights from marketing
- Integrating sales & marketing teams process for customer centric engagement
The 2018 HubSpot State of Inbound report showed that 40% of sales organisations are finding it more challenging nowadays to get a response from prospects. 69% of sales organisations also stated that the prioritised process of converting contacts/leads to customers means the ‘bottom of funnel’ content is more crucial than ever before.
Source: HubSpot – State of Inbound 2018
I wanted to highlight in this blog why you simply can’t ignore the application of Account Based Marketing for driving more sales, especially if you are trying to engage CxO level decision makers or influencers. It isn’t an option to not implement some ABM approach as part of your marketing strategy, whether you are engaging at enterprise level or smaller business with key accounts.
Enterprise Account Based Marketing (ABM)
Targeted Account Selling (TAS) linked with an ABM strategy helps chart and logically flow multiple streams of content designed or provided for each decision maker and influencer. This is really effective to pull and align the marketing and sales teams together to provide common measurable and accountable KPI’s.
If your strategy is to penetrate engagement into an industry vertical sector at enterprise level or geographic segments, for say 10 to 12 accounts, the traditional methodologies such as TAS or SPIN can be still used.
With the shift to digital channels, the role marketing plays is to deliver the ABM plan to support demand generation, brand awareness and digital content engagement from each of the key account contacts over time. The marketing analytics from marketing automation tools provide the visibility of how the account stakeholders and influencers are willing to engage, and when and what type of content resonates. For any demand generation campaign, this is fundamental in how to increase conversion rates with your campaigns.
Light Account Based Marketing (ABM)
In terms of the ‘light’ version of ABM, we believe that strategic high touch and value accounts for both retention and acquisition targets need to flow through a ABM process in today’s market.
Simply hiring salespeople or expecting them to make cold calls isn’t an effective use of their time. You need to work smarter and differentiate from the competition in the role of a salesperson, as well as leverage off your marketing teams to integrate your customer centric engagement.
What does the buyer’s journey look like and what digital content assets do you have?
Simply taking an ad hoc approach to digital inbound/outbound marketing is ineffective and doesn’t generate ROI or invest value into the relationship.
The key link between marketing and sales lies in your Inside Sales or Sales Development team as the cross-skilled resource for driving inbound and outbound activities.
As a cluster team (sales, marketing and inside sales), you should all be involved in the account based planning and tactics/activities involved across:
- Targeted Account Selling methods.
- Account based content delivery and tracking
- Account based market research and relevant insights to share
- Leveraging your marketing automation and CRM platforms for customer focused data analytics
Think of it in terms of playing chess; you need to pre-empt the moves of your competitor a few steps ahead to determine the outcome of your next move/s to achieve a checkmate situation and minimise the attrition of your team.
Here is an example of a ABM light campaign approach which yielded a 25% lead generation conversion rate in just one month with provided cold lead data for an IBM Business Partner campaign.
Account Based Marketing engagement strategies
Consider whether your activities are LOW impact or HIGH impact and are you spending your valuable and limited time on the right marketing activities that appeal to your target audience.
The taken to strategise and review will help form the basis of your digital strategy investment for maximising your ROI.
If you are allocating already limited resources to blog and website updates, these may not directly help generate impact and engagement. However, if you contrast this with targeted events and industry based events, or targeted paid LinkedIn advertising this represents a far greater impacting ROI and your time.
Often it is perceived that account based marketing strategies can only apply to large long sales cycle enterprise or MNC global account plans. I don’t think is the case as a structure account engagement can be utilised with achieving shorter sales cycle opportunities in the right type of accounts.
However, in this current shift with buyer’s journey and preferences to engage through omni-channel options, further strategic thinking and alignment between marketing and sales is required. It is risky to assume that an account is safe when you take over a new territory and are trying to build new relationships.
Without a GPS set, how do you know who you need to talk to and navigate towards? No longer is the traditional decision maker only the CFO or CIO, these days you need to consider that any number of organisation executives could be different decision makers.
How can marketing managers justify more marketing campaign spend or budget without the right ROI or connection to sales driven results or qualified lead outcomes?
Example of an inbound/outbound account based marketing light driven campaign
The outcomes from this one month campaign were both sales and marketing effectiveness from the approach of taking ABM light process using three to four pieces of content planned around the targeted buyer’s persona preferences.
There was a CxO survey, whitepaper and also a case study for multiple touchpoints used with the customer centric landing page and messaging.
Finding the right strategy to work together with customers is becoming more challenging for Marketing Managers, Sales Managers or Customer Success Managers alike.
To determine the right ABM strategies and how to implement this for your business, fill in this form to obtain a FREE Digital Readiness Assessment and we will provide you an initial high level recommendations to take your first step.