Finding and targeting prospects at your dream accounts: How ABM really works.
Account Based Marketing is a highly focused program that depends on collaboration for its success. Because this is a program to deliver the accounts that your sales team really wants, the list development begins there, with input from sales. The first account names on your list will come from sales, with help from marketing. The collaboration begins with a discovery conversation.
MARKETING DIRECTOR: Which accounts have you had the most success with during the past year?
SALES DIRECTOR: We’ve done well with Partsco.
MD: Tell me why you’re excited about working with Partsco.
SD: Partsco is a Tier I auto manufacturer who gave us just under $1 million last year; they are not our largest client, but they are among the largest. And they take advantage of our strongest capabilities. They have purchased multiple product lines, and while they are informed shoppers, they appreciate our quality, and they are willing to pay for value. They are a successful company, and we expect their purchases from us will grow as they grow. We have an excellent relationship with Partsco. They see us as more of a partner than as a vendor.
MD: As I listen to you talk about Partsco, I’m starting to think about the possible targets for our dream ABM program. Would you say we should be looking for:
- Accounts capable of giving us $500,000+ per year in revenue
- Customers who could be interested in more than one product area of our portfolio
- Successful, growing companies
- Companies that are not looking for the cheapest solution, but are willing to pay for quality
- Companies that will see us as a partner, rather than purely as a vendor
SD: Yes, that’s a good start. I can give you a list of a half-dozen companies like that where we have tried to get our foot in the door without much success.
MD: You mentioned that Partsco is a Tier I auto manufacturer. When you give us the names you mentioned, would you like us to explore similar companies in the auto industry? Or would you like us to investigate similar companies in other industries as well? I will tell you that if we pilot this ABM program with auto, we can always roll it out to other industries if it’s successful.
SD: Yes, let’s start with the auto industry.
MD: Tell me how we began our relationship with Partsco. Who was the first person there you talked to, and with whom are we dealing today?
SD: We had a web visit from a purchasing agent at Partsco and I followed up with a phone call. She wasn’t immediately interested in working with us, but she wanted to know more about our capabilities for a possible future project they were considering. That’s how it started. I set up a call with a couple of our engineers, and she invited her boss to join the call. I followed up with some marketing materials, and since then we have talked to her plant manager, some of her IT people, her QA folks—all before finally being asked to come to the plant for a discovery session to submit a proposal. The rest is history.
MD: I’m going to talk to the agency to see what list sources we have at companies like the ones you’re talking about, and next week we’ll come back to you with some list suggestions. I also hear what you’re saying about the different job titles who can be helpful in beginning the relationship with these large companies. The point of entry could be at the purchasing level, but could also involve engineering, quality assurance, even senior management. We’ll want to be targeting multiple contacts at each of the firms we’re targeting.
That’s the beginning of the process of identifying accounts for the dream ABM program. The process can take several weeks, as it is critical to the success of the program that the sales team agree with the dream quality of the names on the list. Once we have a list of potential dream Account Based Marketing targets, we’ll talk about developing offers that will entice them to engage with the program. But that will be Part III of this Verdi series. If you’d like to learn more about Account Based Marketing programs, and you’d like to see a demonstration of how it has worked with Verdi’s clients, call or email Mary Bonaccio.