ABM is more important than ever before in this post-apocalyptic COVID-19 world. Everyone is getting bombarded with overt sales messages and resources are widely constrained, so every single interaction matters.
Teams must be careful about the accounts we’re selling to, the message we lead with, and the way in which we sell (i.e. everything for which ABM stands).
Everyone wants a quick and easy solution, but there is no easy button.
Complex problems require more thoughtful and strategic answers. So, what does that actually look like? How do you pivot something as monumental as the strategy your business hangs on, and do it on a dime? Then, on top of that, adjust the supporting tactics?
First, start by looking at the underlying foundation on which your strategy is built. Put strategy first, then figure out which tools, tactics, and campaigns will best support that strategy.
Remember to choose the right target accounts and look at company size and estimated revenues. Smaller companies are more likely to be cutting budgets and will be affected sooner and harder than large enterprises. So, ensure you focus your ABM resources on the accounts most likely to buy.
Second, remember the following old adage that is more applicable than ever: people love to buy, but hate to be sold. You must lead with empathy and shift your focus to understanding what your buyer is going through.
Remember, their definition of value has changed. And now, you must go beyond merely providing value. You must offer exceptional and unmatched value, be their trusted advisor and promote experiences that support your customer’s journey through their business challenges.
Beyond this, there are three advanced sales tactics you can use to find and engage prospects today.
When you combine third-party intent data with first-party engagement insights, you can accurately measure active demand and prioritize your coordinated sales and marketing plays. This helps you only focus on the lowest-hanging fruit that is in-market right now.
First-party engagement insights are all the interactions you collect, including website visits, email exchanges, marketing automation and CRM data, and any other technology you use that collects identifiable user data.
Third-party intent data is data that you get from offsite destinations that you do not own. Companies like Bombora operate data co-ops, which collect data from tens of thousands of high-value analyst sites like Gartner, review sites like G2Crowd, and publications like Forbes.
Take into consideration an account’s entire research journey from top-of-funnel research and intent signals, all the way down to bottom-of-funnel engagement data, and even through to post-sale opportunities.
Take a long-term approach with accounts showing latent demand and nurture the heck out of them. If you show up with a product pitch while they’re surviving day-to-day, you’ve just destroyed your chances of ever doing business with them.
On the other hand, if you focus on providing value while staying top-of-mind, then when they’re ready to buy, they’ll naturally turn to you.
Orchestration is basically the coordination of activities – some automated and some human – that span the entire customer journey.
This empowers revenue teams to design and automate high-impact account-based plays across channels such as advertising, sales engagement, marketing automation, direct mail, and CRM.
To do this, you need to develop an orchestration plan that defines both the people (or automations) responsible for completing steps in the plan, and when those steps should be completed for a campaign or account.
The plan gives everyone a guide for executing the complex, multi-channel, cross-discipline interactions that occur with an account-based strategy.
I like the advice from TOPO on planning orchestrated programs. Now, this isn’t something one person can (or should) do alone. For best results, work with your team to outline the elements TOPO lists.
This helps you keep customer experience consistent across all your marketing, sales, and customer experience touches. The trick to effectively executing this is keeping all the data clean as you complicate the ways in which you sell. This is the next generation of automation.
It goes far beyond blindly sending mass emails, which lowers both your marketing ROI and your overall IQ. It creates an impersonal, robotic experience for your customer. Again, the power lies in knowing when to use technology to automate things and when to use the human touch.
The channel mix most organizations used to heavily rely on has changed. We all know conferences, field events, and the like are completely off the table. The odds are stacked against telemarketing.
In fact, in a state of emergency, telemarketing is banned. Not to mention, it’s very invasive. Direct mail has also taken a hit, since no one is in the office to receive packages.
The obvious choice is to turn to webinars and email, since they’re both among the biggest drivers of demand. But webinars are quickly becoming oversaturated because everyone and their moms are doing them (seriously, my just mom ran a webinar for the volunteer work she’s doing).
And email has gone through the roof, especially since emailing your list is the most effective way to promote a webinar (we all know that fun social media video that got a lot of likes only drove seven registrations).
The two levers you can pull to avoid having recipients hit the unsubscribe button are 1) being more selective of who you’re emailing and 2) sending more personalized and relevant messages to those people.
Above all, create more immersive and innovative virtual experiences for buyers to get their attention and have a chance of doing business with them now – or in the future.
More than ever before, companies are looking more strategically at priorities and investments for the coming months and into 2021. In this context, shifting resources from broader marketing and sales approaches to more targeted and personalized ABM initiatives is not only important; it’s essential.
Brandon Redlinger is the Director of Growth at Engagio, and is obsessed with anything Account Based Marketing and Sales related. He has been in sales and marketing his entire career, leading teams across the country from NYC to Denver to the San Francisco Bay Area.
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