Generalized promotional marketing is so last year (a few years, actually) with account-based marketing (ABM) taking front and center with savvy B2B CMOs. The approach offers benefits to both those selling and those being sold to, and we’ll explore both. This personalized B2B marketing strategy ranks high on decision-makers’ “how to connect with me” list, and for good reason:
It doesn’t waste their time.
ABM requires a thoughtful approach, with marketers sorting out who their target influencers are within a business and what’s important to those folks – and why. It’s the difference between receiving an email with a clickbait subject line, targeting (and annoying) everyone, versus a personal note written to a specific someone and speaking to an actual challenge that person’s business is most likely facing, along with ideas to help solve it. The first is sound and fury, signifying nothing, and the latter? That’s where solid relationships are formed.
It gets them what they need to be successful.
Having someone reach out with relevant, timely ideas is not only a welcome change, it can be a lifesaver. Too many to dos are the norm for most business leaders – understanding pain points and offering solutions builds the foundation of a trusted advisor relationship, particularly when offering services they have little time to research and act upon. Will your widget solve a recurring staffing concern – one their competitors face as well, and can give them an edge in the market? Getting that message to precisely the right person at the right time creates success.
It’s not ridiculously aggressive.
And that’s because it doesn’t have to be. How many emails do you have right now from that sales rep absolutely hounding you to “lock in this great promotional rate that ends this week!” How many voicemails do you have offering similar, from those who kick it up a notch, after deciding that spamming your inbox isn’t endearing enough? ABM does neither of those things. It’s not a hard sell, it’s an information brag that can’t help but catch your eye, because it’s so beautifully relevant to exactly what you were just talking about in a meeting last week. Maybe you tweeted about it. (Maybe you should right now and see if the ABM fairies abide!)
From the seller standpoint, it offers pretty radical results too:
It breaks silos . . . because it has to.
You won’t find a successful ABM effort at a company where teams are not aligned. Your account managers need to be in close contact with marketing, as does customer service, along with an exceptional CRM tracking leads and taking names, literally! Every bit of info your company collects, and especially that juicy real-time data found on all social sites, needs to be organized and understood to inform campaigns. When working together, the insight a skilled team can extract is nothing short of stunning.
Optimizes marketing dollars.
Marketing has been and always will be a cost center – and typically the first area to get cut when a business cycles and fluctuates. Proving your worth is crucial and coordinating efforts with a personalized B2B marketing strategy can make all the difference. A properly executed campaign will shorten the conversion cycle, as you’ve reached decision-makers with the right info at the right time. Helping them, in turn, offer much needed solutions to their team makes them successful and makes your business an important part of that success, integral even, if you’ve played your hand right.
Makes metrics make sense.
Part of the struggle marketers in face in the race to stay relevant in business is communicating success. KPIs can feel fuzzy and ROI is correspondingly difficult to measure. Did that lead come in thanks to marketing, or because Fred in accounting shared an idea with someone he thinks may work at that target business that just reached out? Having set personas, target lists and campaigns laser focused on specific accounts, businesses can quite clearly map back efforts. Thanks to the amount of planning and strategizing around these campaigns, it would be difficult not to!
And finally, when it comes to client retention, the biggest KPI of all – which forms that lasting bond at the end of the day? A personalized approach and understanding your customers’ businesses or quick sales that came in thanks to a 20% discount special? One offers insight to inform additional sales and create value for the business – the other offers nothing beyond a one-time shot at getting it right and hoping they love you. And with today’s super-charged social advertising and fickle consumers, the best bet is on the long game.