Using broad demand generation approaches when selling a niche solution or to a limited prospect base is wasting your marketing budget. Account-based marketing and selling is the way forward.
What exactly does it mean? What kinds of materials or content would you create to support it? Why would you use it, and is the same as inbound marketing? We’ll answer these questions and hopefully more in this blog post.
It’s about quality, not quantity
Some companies out there function and turn over a profit from just a few, high yielding key accounts. These companies do not need to spend a crazy amount of marketing resources to try and appeal to the mass-market because they provide solutions that are relevant to just a few types of business.
The practice of targeting these specific accounts is in essence what account-based marketing is. It is a form of marketing that is highly targeted and personalised to win over specific accounts and decision-makers rather than an entire market.
The goals of account-based marketing are focused on identifying a target account, engaging that account with campaigns personalised to it, and then focussing on building lasting relationships with it.
Is it the same as inbound marketing?
In a word no.
In a few words, inbound marketing and account-based marketing aren’t necessarily incompatible, but they do go about things differently.
Inbound marketing aims to attract many people to your side and then nurture them until you weed out weaker leads and end up with good customers for your company. Account-based marketing begins with identifying those ideal companies, hyperfocusing on them, and building relationships with them.
In many ways, the end of inbound marketing (when you’ve found a great fitting lead) could be the beginning of account-based marketing, should that lead prove to be extremely valuable.
There are a few important details to take note of when classifying the difference between account-based marketing and inbound marketing.
- Account-based marketing is highly targeted
- Account-based marketing focuses on accounts, not markets or industries.
- Account-based marketing targets both prospects and current customers.
- Inbound marketing tries to attract new business, while account based marketing focuses on ‘land and expand’ tactics to up- and cross-sell.
Why would you use account-based marketing?
Account-based marketing comes with many benefits that companies may see should they choose to implement it.
Here are a few:
Promotes sales / marketing alignment
Account-based marketing professionals are focused on researching accounts rather than general markets and individual leads. This makes marketing speak the same language as their sales counterparts, which in turn leads to incredible alignment between sales and marketers.
Sales and marketing effectively become a single unit, each supporting the other’s efforts with new information and resources.
It’s ‘zero-waste’ marketing
Because account-based marketing is hyper-focused on accounts, there’s considerably less engagement with prospects that do not buy or are not a good fit for your company. Every resource and content-piece your marketing team creates is targeted for accounts that are already a good fit, and promotes an amazing customer experience once they convert.
Shorter sales cycle
The ability to generate more qualified leads allows sales to cut back on the time they spend grooming leads that ultimately won’t become customers. This shortens the time between the first phone call and the closed sale, saving resources with a shorter cycle.
It improves your customer relationships
According to Small Business Trends, the average American business loses 15% of its customers each year. Year-on-year, companies lose their customers due to not paying enough attention to their needs. With account-based marketing, paying attention to your customers is the major focus, improving your customer retention.
Is account-based marketing for you?
Generally speaking, a little bit of account-based marketing is good for any business that would like to retain their customers. However, account-based marketing excels for the following kinds of businesses.
- Contract-based business
- Businesses with a lot of up-sell potential
- Premium products with high ROI
- Business with limited sales and marketing teams
- Businesses with a very niche client base
How to implement account-based marketing?
If you would like to begin using account-based marketing for your own business, we’ve prepared a few steps to help you get started.
Identify your target accounts
The most vital piece of information for your account-based marketing is which accounts you want to target. Remember, you’re not targeting their segment, market or industry, you’re targeting a specific organisation made up of individuals with specific objectives.
You should take a look at the following details when considering an account:
- Marketing influence
- Likelihood of repeat business
- Lifetime value
Research the account
Once you have your target account or target accounts, your goal is not to treat those targets as buyer personas in of themselves. In other words, you want to have detailed information on their specific needs, challenges and desires.
It’s advantageous if you are familiar with the elements that make up the company structure such as the critical decision-makers and their own clients. This will help dictate how you approach them and how you convey your own offering.
In order to obtain this kind of information, you’ll need to research the company. Their website is a good place to start, but if you really want to get intimate with your target, LinkedIn is a great resource.
Create your content
Now that you have your sights on the key-players, you want to create some content for them.
The content should not only speak to the specific pain points of these employees, but also to their specific business in general. The content should not be vaguely related to their industry or market, but rather hyper-personalised on their business and role. For this reason, we suggest that the content should focus on the single deals or opportunities you can present to them.
Choose your channel
You can have the best content in the world, but if you don’t have the right channel, you may as well be screaming into the wind. You have to be able to identify which channels are the right fit for the target.
This can be tricky, especially with high value targets such as CEOs. It may be that the best channel is to engage them at a trade-show, while others are reachable through email or social media. Depending on the demographic, certain social media channels are more likely to gain attention than others. You can use resources such as the Pew Research Center Demographics of Social Media Users guide for more information on this.
Run your campaign
So - you have your target, you know who they are and how to reach them. Now it’s time to click send.
Here are a few pointers to take note of when running your campaign.
- Do not have conflicting messages
- Reference your other messages
- Be specific and reference the account directly
- Be prepared to respond immediately and when the moment comes
Up-sell your success
We hope that this has been helpful for those of you who are interested in account-based marketing. Of course, a great marketing strategy involves inbound, outbound, account-based and other forms of marketing too- that’s why partnering with an expert like Demodia is so effective.
Demodia has over a decade of digital marketing experience to help you accomplish your goals, whether it’s customer retention, service or acquisition. Contact Demodia today and get a free marketing consultation for your business.