By Zack Brown, Head of Sales, Write Label
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is the hottest marketing trend out there right now, and for good reason – ROI. ABM marketers are evangelists and true believers that multiple targeted touchpoints with relevant, personalized messaging result in more client engagement and sales. The idea is to pick your key targets and speak to them directly. The goal is to raise marketing’s success rate from .02% to 5% (if not higher). An old boss I admired would create a client-specific video, for example, and buy space on their LinkedIn profile. He claimed success 4 out of 5 times. ROI in the millions!
ABM just makes sense, right? Ideally, you’d have a landing page, a video, Facebook and LinkedIn messages for each key prospect. You would A/B test and fine-tune until you understood the value prop that resonates with your client.
Here is my reality. Marketing asks for a list. A really big list. They tell you ABM doesn’t work for 5,000 prospects. They need 30,000 names and email address … just for testing. That means our success drops from 80% in my old boss’s case to spray and pray for the rest of us.
Unfortunately, once the CRO/CMO rolls this out to the sales and marketing team, it isn’t quite the same. It’s tough to scale. When we do ABM for the bulk of our clients let’s admit we aren’t tailoring our voice and value prop enough to be effective. If your product’s average order value (AOV) is not $50,000 or your client’s lifetime value (LTV) is not $250,000 you cannot do all the customization required to show your client how well you know them. ABM is not real for most of us.
How to set up for success:
- Build a multi-disciplinary team. That includes an executive sponsor, in addition to the account management, sales and marketing departments.
- Do the upfront work. Know your value proposition. Why do customers buy from you instead of the competition? Identify the companies you want to partner with by vertical. Then map decision-makers and influencers and find an internal champion at each company. Vertical designation depends on the opportunity and your business.
- Keep a constant feedback loop. The team has to work closely to be effective. Each team should give detailed updates on where they are seeing traction. What messages are working with C-Suite, upper management, middle management and users? Which job titles are most receptive. Everyone on the team is not going to agree. A/B test to show whether there is validity to the feedback you are hearing. If you aren’t hearing feedback, lookout. You have to listen to all team members or some of them will lose interest and momentum will decline.
- Feed the beast of insights. Great partners know your business and add value with each interaction. Provide useful tips and other content that show your prospective clients that you will be a great partner.
- Celebrate your wins! They may come slowly at first. Salespeople are optimists and thrive on positive affirmation.
ABM is here to stay. It’s a growing part of the landscape. Like all new marketing techniques, you must figure out how it fits into your overall strategy. Start with your top prospects and invest in doing it well for them. Once you find efficiencies and identify the touchpoints that are most effective, you can push down into your mid-value prospects and one day you may be using it for SMB.
Our current COVID-19 environment has created a unique landscape. We are exploring and open to more genuine virtual relationships. Without the fast connection, we made with in-person meetings we especially need the “take it slow, multitouch, get to know our approach” of ABM. Your ABM can be a digital hug that shows your client you get them, you care.