Four Basics You Must Understand To Be Successful with Account Based Marketing
“Salespeople rarely talk about how many leads they’ve closed – they talk about accounts they win,” said Brandon Redlinger, Director of Growth at Engagio. I recently caught up with Brandon to discuss one of the hottest concepts in Sales and Marketing today, Account Based Marketing (ABM). This strategy is gaining strong adoption and a ton of buzz in recent months.
Brandon explained this strategy in more detail, “The nature of business-to-business has never really been about individual leads.”
“Instead, B2B must support long, complex sales that involve many stakeholders at each target account. This is a shift away from lead-centric practices. One way to think about the difference is fishing with a net compared to fishing with a spear. Traditional demand generation casts a wide net, attracting many leads in the hopes of catching the best. ABM is like fishing with a spear, focused all efforts on a specific, high-value target.”
Instead of spending Sales and Marketing resources on large amounts of individual leads, ABM focuses efforts instead on deepening engagement with a select group of target accounts most likely to generate the most revenue.
I asked him to give his perspective on the most important components of account based marketing, and what B2B organizations need to achieve success within an account-based world:
- ABM is about “team selling”
B2B deals have many stakeholders involved in a purchasing decision, which add complexity, slows down the decision-making process, and add complexity. It takes a team to close enterprise deals.
Let’s take a quick look at the quintessential type of team – the American football team. It takes a team to navigate all the opposing players and get a football from one end of the field to the other and across the goal line. Think about how they operate and you’ll begin to see that it’s not much different than business.
From coaches who draw up the play to quarterbacks who call the play to players who execute the play, no single person can do it alone.
Team selling a deal might look like this:
- Executive Management provides the vision and contributes at key points to connect with high-level contacts.
- Marketing finds and nurtures the accounts, uncovers insights, and creates tailored content
- Account Development sets the stage and starts conversations
- Pre-Sales and Sales Engineers give a great demo
- Account Executives negotiate and close the business
- Customer Success onboards and trains accounts
Every part of your brand needs to be account-based to achieve maximum results.
- Every interaction should be real, personalized, and relevant
What kinds of outbound works best in ABM?
Certain types of interactions make prospects lower their natural skepticism to cold emails and actually listen to your Sales reps. These types of interactions all add value, and demonstrate an understanding of the prospect’s world.
- Helpful advice about best practices
- New insight into pressing issues
- A look at how similar companies attack the same problems
- Reliable data that throws new light on a challenge
- Expert views on trends and futures
Unfortunately, this is where many organizations fall short, sending generic emails in an attempt to reach individuals at target accounts. These mass, irrelevant sales touches come from a salesperson, but often contain very little actual value. The worst offenders usually contain things like:
- “I’ve been trying all week to get you!”
- “Do you have time to chat?”
- “Following up” or “Checking in”
- Poor personalization such as the wrong name
For the big opportunities, you’ve got to raise your game. It’s so easy to hit the spam button – why would you ever risk your ability to communicate with the most important people from the most important accounts by sending them a generic, irrelevant message?
These touches do not hold a candle to truly personalized outbound efforts based on account-based insight. Sales spam pretends to be personal and relevant while being exactly the opposite.
- Don’t abuse automation
Automated tools now play a major role in Sales and Marketing. These terrible sales emails can now be automated by the thousands, but sales spam is still spam.
As much as sales acceleration technology has given us greater efficiency, it’s also lowered the barrier to entry to sending a high volume of low-quality emails, and the result is obvious: our inboxes are filled with junk.
Rather than automate emails from the Sales team, treat every interaction in a more thoughtful way. To stand out from the barrage of junk, every message sent should be personalized with some insight you have about the account. This could include key trends in the organization’s market, a trigger event such as funding or personnel moves, your relationship to the business, or some other highly relevant piece of information.
Ideally, account based everything delivers content and messaging that is grounded in human interaction. We’re laser-focused on this at Engagio, and work with companies to orchestrate both automated and personal touches.
- Set the right goal: engagement
Engagement is the time a prospect or customer spends with you. Every good salesperson knows that the more time a customer or prospect spends with your organization, the stronger Account Based Marketing, Engagement is the ultimate goal, the output of what we do – it’s the thing that every Sales and Marketing team is trying to achieve.
Many vendors in the ABM realm use the term “engagement” to describe what they sell. But vendors are missing the point. You can’t automate engagement and you can’t create it simply by sending more unwanted sales emails.
Unfortunately, this means engagement has become a buzzword with so many different meanings that it’s lost its original intention, which is to signify a more meaningful relationship.
Business-to-business organizations today are presented with an opportunity to reach, engage, and build sustained relationships with their most critical target accounts. Thanks to recent advancements in technology, this opportunity is well within reach, but only if Sales and Marketing leaders make the effort to move away from sales spam, and instead orchestrate personalized, relevant engagement with their most important accounts: the biggest, hardest-fought deals that make or break companies.