[ a ] More than pre-COVID?
[ b ] Same as before?
[ c ] Didn’t need it then, don’t need it now. Pah!
Account-Based Marketing (ABM), is a disciplined approach to selling into the accounts you really want. This assumes…
1. You know which accounts you really want.
2. The accounts you want are valuable—worth spending extra resources to get.
3. Your sales team will accept/beg for/appreciate help from marketing to get them. So far, COVID hasn’t changed any of the above. The accounts you want most may have changed, your sales team may need more help than they did before the pandemic, but those are details.
What’s important is, your answer is most likely either [a], or [b], More, or Same as before. (If your answer is, “Pah,” you can stop reading now and go back to polishing the chrome on your GTO. The finer points of 21 st Century marketing may not be for you!)
If your sales team is at least as eager for help now than before the pandemic, this is Marketing’s chance to set up an ABM program structured for success.
Planning ABM for success.
The great thing about developing the plan is that you are in position to define success. In many ABM programs, because the prospects are so desirable (by definition), winning just one of these plums can be more than enough to pay for the program. The downside is that (in B2B) the larger the account, the longer it can take to close—often up to 24 months. Clearly you can’t wait 24 months to learn if the program you’ve gone to bat for is working. So you need some interim metrics, and that’s difficult because they aren’t real goals. They’re program-related, but not necessarily sales related. This is where your agency (Verdi!) can help in the planning—to help you understand what the interim goals should be—so senior management will continue to support the program.
Interim milestones towards success.
Start with a list of the accounts you and your sales team want. It’s the most important part of your program, so when you’re confident it’s close, it’s a milestone. Take a bow.
Build out the decision makers and influencers.
But identifying the target accounts is only the first step in the ABM process, and there are many more milestones to achieve. For example, you can ask yourself, “how many members of the buying/influencing committee of my ABM prospects have I been able to identify?”
Theoretically, every large account has one decision maker, one or more influencers, one or more users, a purchasing contact, and a finance signoff. Usually, you’ll start with one. When the numbers start going up, you’re doing something right. Give yourself some success points. (It’s your plan, you get to decide how many!)
ABM content milestones.
When you begin your ABM outreach, you’ll want to design enticing offers for each of your prospects, according to their needs. Here again, your agency (Verdi!) can help. And to take full credit for driving your buying committee members to consume the content created for them, you’ll need marketing automation tags on the content. (Verdi can help with this also—if you don’t have a Marketing Automation platform, we’re a SharpSpring Silver Partner, and we can set you up within a couple of weeks. SharpSpring is a robust platform like Marketo or HubSpot priced more reasonably. If you already have a MA platform, no worries, Verdi can help you use it effectively for ABM.) You’ll build in goals for success in driving prospects to consume the content designed for them.
As salespeople begin to work these ABM prospects, Marketing needs to understand what they are learning about the accounts and the individuals to whom they are speaking. Marketing has access to other tools to qualify prospects according to intent, and part of the deal between Marketing and Sales is the agreement to share information. What happens on the website as the ABM prospects begin consuming content is part of the information exchange that allows sales to speak knowledgeably to the prospects about what the prospects have learned.
Direct mail can provide impact that email cannot.
High-impact direct mail, designed appropriately, is memorable, and can often make a prospecting call from your sales team many times more productive. Your agency (Verdi!) can suggest the best timing to supplement your email outreach with direct mail that makes prospects anticipate your sales team’s call and be willing to talk.
Provide regular updates for your team management.
In the plan, detail what management should expect and when. Your quarterly reports should confirm what milestones you are shooting for, and what’s coming soon. Once the program is under way, you will have plenty of interest to management, because of the detail marketing automation tracking will tell you about these key accounts you are targeting. Management will feel part of the exciting plan to target, track, and land these desirable prospects. Your agency (Verdi!) will be happy to attend these meetings to help convey the excitement of this state-of-the-art ABM program.
Get started with Account-Based Marketing (ABM) (or take the next step. Call at 585.381.4275 ex 201 or email Mary Bonaccio, Verdi’s VP/Director of Client Services. Or just visit our website, and watch what happens when you do!