Authored by Guest Blogger, Carrie Majewski
Think of the top three potential clients you hope to close over the next 90 days. Have them in mind? Now ask yourself two important questions:
- What marketing tactics are you currently using to involve them with your brand—email newsletters, your corporate blog, direct mail, invites to corporate events, etc.?
- In addition to these, are you doing anything else that is 100 percent custom to those contacts by way of marketing?
Up until now, your focus has likely been on casting a wide net with your marketing strategy. This involves a single goal of connecting with as many potential clients that fit your target buyer persona as possible—a tactic many refer to as “spray-and-pray-marketing.” The drive towards this marketing strategy has only been amplified by the fact that many executives gauge a marketing leader’s success on his or her ability to generate X amount of MQLs, which always carries an undercurrent of quantity-based marketing.
But many forward-facing marketing leaders are putting their foot down. They are arguing that the job of marketing is more than just attracting prospects to the top of the funnel. Instead, it’s about intentionally reeling in strategic accounts that, if they close, have a greater likelihood of positively impacting the organization.
This approach is referred to as Account-Based Marketing (ABM), the practice of leveraging personalized, custom marketing campaigns designed to court specific potential clients. The boon of ABM is largely thanks to the surge of technology. Thanks to platforms like LinkedIn, HubSpot, Marketo, Terminus (the list is endless) marketers are able to strategically design custom marketing plans for specific prospects, and also meticulously track the effectiveness of those plans.
The stats show that it works when implemented correctly: more than 85% of marketers who measure ROI state that ABM delivers higher returns than any other marketing approach, with half of those marketers citing significantly higher returns.
Interested in jump-starting your ABM efforts? Here’s how:
Choose Three Accounts: Any great ABM rollout begins with the identification of the strategic accounts you wish to delight. Start slow and choose three accounts you wish to move over the finish line. In choosing these accounts, consider the following:
- Which accounts most closely align to your buyer persona? For instance, does this account have the right revenue and employee size? Do they sit in the right industry? Are you well connected with the decision maker?
- How far along are they in the buyer journey? Though you can pick accounts that sit anywhere, to get your feet wet with ABM, start with accounts that are past the Awareness Stage and either in Decision or Consideration (click here for more on that). You will be able to see your efforts realized more quickly.
- How is this account already engaging with your brand? Track how often the account’s contacts are opening and clicking through your company emails, attending company events, interacting with your sales team, etc. The level of engagement will give you greater insight into your likelihood of expediting the close of business.
Pick Your ABM Tactics:
Once you have your accounts selected, start building a custom ABM plan for each. There are a myriad of tactics at your disposal (this blog does a great job outlining proven ABM strategies). A good place to begin is experimenting with the following:
- Personal, Hand-Written Letters: Consider who the account wants to hear from and write a personal, hand-written letter from that individual to send to the contact. In many cases, a warm message from your CEO to the contact goes a long way in building, or accelerating, the relationship.
- Email Sequencing: Try suppressing the account’s contact from receiving any of your regularly scheduled emails. Instead, write custom emails. Consider the sequence over a three-month period and ask: what messages, specific to that contact’s unique pain, industry and job function, are most relevant for that individual to receive. Then, build out all the emails with personalized, impactful content.
- The Hero-Moment Blog: Your blog could be the next great spot to give this contact a hero moment. Consider how you could use your blog to help the contact get out the word about his or her company, while also strengthening your relationship. For example, you may consider launching a Q&A blog series that profiles extraordinary business leaders. Then, choose the account contact as your first to feature. Or, you may ask this contact to provide expert commentary for an upcoming blog entry. By including this contact in your blog, and giving them a spotlight moment, you curry good favor that goes a long way in the courting process.
Measure, Measure, Measure:
ABM only works when you treat your efforts as you would the Stock Market: you have to be religious and fastidious about checking the results daily. Every time you launch an ABM tactic, measure it. Did it have the intended result? Has it helped, hurt or done nothing for your efforts? How much further along is the contact down the buyer journey now?
Create your own scorecard to measure your ABM efforts, tracking engagement, reach, interaction, etc. And remember that because ABM is custom, what works with one account may not necessarily work with the next. Therefore, embrace the art of trial-and-error and keep experimenting, refining and honing until you feel you’ve reached ABM success.
In many ways, ABM is that electrifying chapter in a best-selling book. The book still needs other chapters to make for a solid read; however, ABM is that extra dynamic, riveting, powerful chapter that pushes the story from a nice-to-read to a must-read.
In marketing, you can’t have ABM without your other chapters. Don’t abandon your tried-and-trued marketing efforts to solely invest in ABM. Instead, recognize the power that comes from doing both—your regularly scheduled programming and a selective, intentional ABM strategy. It’s only then that your book has all the necessary elements to win the Pulitzer.
Carrie Majewski is committed to affecting change. As Founder of the Women in Leadership Nexus, Carrie is fueled by a desire to create safe space for female luminaries to convene to redefine the notion of leadership. She has forged a career around strategic writing and storytelling, having led a digital marketing agency for almost three years and today working as Marketing Principal for Trilix Tech. Carrie is a 2017 Rhode Island “40 Under 40” honoree and a 2016 Rhode Island Tech10 Winner. In her spare time you’ll find her trying out a local hip-hop class, exploring parks with her rescue dog Tori, and sipping coffee with other powerhouse women.