The optimal enterprise-focused sales strategy means increasing your deal size and decreasing your sales life cycles. While this may sound like the perfect idea on paper, it takes much more effort to craft. Using current customer’s buying patterns and engagement metrics, you can begin your way to understanding how an account-based marketing strategy will help you acquire new sales.
Account-based marketing takes a holistic sales approach, both internally and externally. Within your business, you are closely integrating your sales and marketing teams with aligned goals and tasks to achieve the optimal customer experience. Externally, you’re nurturing the team of decision makers with personalized material, advertising, and brand recognition. In turn, you’re creating a closer relationship prior to the sales point of contact. Account-based marketing means you’re targeting a group of people, which means consistent messaging is more important than ever. The collective decision making process in enterprise companies is worth the fight. While it’s not one individual making the decision but a group of individuals – you can acquire each of them with unique ad copy, marketing content, and engagement strategies that make up the whole sales deal. The benefit of this is that you can resonate with each individual so if they leave their job, hop to a different company or perhaps they move to a different department within the business, you can follow up with them in their new account. While each account has their own budget and opportunities to find their working tools, they’re more likely to trust a brand or company that already is working with one of their colleague’s previous departments.
Not quite picking up what we’re putting down?
Imagine you try to go to a grocery store to pick up makings for a sandwich. You have to go to a few different departments for your makings – bakery for the bread, butcher for the cheese and meats, produce stand for your toppings, etc. These different departments (or accounts) operate in their own unique way, but together make up the larger store. So, say you are trying to sell them on your products or services. You could have branded content geared toward the grocery industry at hand but simply cater it to each departments uniqueness. This can hold true for enterprise businesses. Their departments are run independently like mini businesses in itself. There’s a team of VP’s, Manager/Supervisors and the sales reps in each department, but together they’re all built under the overall umbrella of the company.
With the correct positioning, you’re focusing on each account independently of the company they work for. It’s a great way for businesses to get their food (urm, our minds are still on the sandwiches) foot* in the door and letting the remaining accounts become an ‘easy upsell’ opportunity.
Businesses who use this sales and marketing tactic also excel on personalized offers. It’s how they can even out the expenses of their tool being used across various accounts – if they know the ‘bakery’ account is using more bandwidth than ‘produce’, they’ll still offer them the same deal they originally crafted but knowing one will use more than the other won’t actually cost them much more than it would on their own.
According to IDG Enterprises, generating high-quality leads is the number-one challenge for B2B marketers. So why aren’t all businesses using this marketing tactic right now? The reason is simple – it takes a lot of marketing resources to nurture just one account, and the more resources the bigger the burden on your budget. The good news is that with the right strategy in place, marketing teams can have engaging and interactive content at hand for every sales deal. Simply turn to your current customers. Understanding how they buy, interact and engage with the marketing content and sales follow-ups you already have in place can create a knowledgeable basis for targeting similar accounts. You can expand your sales by looking at customer insights you already have – talk about valuable data.
To start your account-based marketing strategy, define and discover your current high value accounts. Much like creating your audience, you’re analyzing the customers that give you the highest return. Once you have these accounts picked out, you need to put their insights into a digestible format – whether it be presenting a slide deck, getting out into the field, or synthesizing it with industry data, get to know these accounts inside and out. Now you have the data-backed tools to get your foot in the door. Map out the internal individuals that make up the larger decision making teams in the organization you’re acquiring. How do they interact with marketing materials and what needs to be done for them to make a decision? Many public entities have reports, PR articles and nowadays – blog posts! Understand their channels and how they’re engaging with 1) their customers and 2) other companies. Then… slowly wean your way in.
Essentially, you can get high value accounts while tightening your sales processes at the same time by better understanding the customer journey.
How to Excel…
Once you’re on their radar, be sure to keep the messaging and campaigns consistent across your own team members and the channels you’re displaying them on. We’ve put together a few content strategy tips for your help:
- Leverage dynamic content: triggered emails, action-based advertising or offers
- Don’t be dull: yes, they wear black suits to work every day on the same route, after doing the same routine. So brighten their day, make your content engaging and interactive.
- Don’t sell yourself short: just because you’re trying to win their account anyway possible, does not mean selling yourself short in the meantime. Discounts don’t always equate to a long-term relationship – keep that in mind!
- Provide value… but not too much: be helpful but enticing, they’ll appreciate the tidbits and comeback for more.
This is sounding a lot like ‘Best Practices for Dating 101’. Well, it kind of is. You’re warming up the relationship before you go all Glengarry Glen Ross on them.
Never stop analyzing. To make your process and strategy more successful for future accounts, collect the account data, analyze and optimize. It could be the type of content you’re serving up. Or you could have got the internal players all wrong. Whatever it be, make note for the next time.
Targeting the right people at the right time and at the right companies boosts deal size and increases win rates. Selling on an account basis means you know your total addressable market based on today’s trends and tomorrows customers (accounts). Take if from Domino Data Lab’s head of marketing (Daniel Chalef), “to implement ABM, we’ve focused on data quality, personalization, and analytics tools to understand baseline account-level management.”