Offer development for Account Based Marketing programs: Next to the list of dream accounts, offers are the most important contributor to success.
Account Based Marketing is an intense effort to engage with your most desirable prospects. These can be accounts you know well, or accounts you’d like to get to know. Often, they bear a close resemblance to your best customers—those you are happiest about—customers for whom you do a great job, customers who are profitable, customers with growth potential.
We’ve talked about the importance of collaboration between sales and marketing teams in structuring your ABM program. That collaboration will once again pay dividends in the development of offers. The first step is to outline the sales cycle for this group—from the time the prospects first learn about you to the time they add you to the consideration set to submit a proposal.
Understand the sales cycle for your ABM prospects.
This is an example of why it’s so important to have your sales team available for input. They can tell you how you won the desirable accounts you already have. They will also help you define the process your dream accounts will go through to reach a decision to engage with you, to understand your products/services, and to consider you seriously. In most B2B businesses, the buying cycle is complex. It can often take 12 to 18 months from start to finish—from the time a need emerges to the time the prospects ask for a proposal or quote.
Things are changing. But that’s not bad for marketers.
The buying process for complex products/services is constantly changing. This was true even before COVID. Now, after a year and a half of COVID-related changes, there is no “normal”. Offers need to reflect what is happening today.
Here is a summary of recent Gartner research on changes in the B2B buying process:
- Rapidly shifting buying dynamics, fueled by digital buying behavior, are reshaping the strategic focus of sales organizations.
- Companies must embrace the digital-first go-to-market.
- Marketers need to develop digital selling models.
- Marketing program should leverage the analytics advantages of a digital-first buying process to engage customers in a far more coordinated fashion through all routes to market.
And here are Gartner’s 6 stages of the buyers’ journey:
- Problem identification. “We need to do something.”
- Solution exploration.“What’s out there to solve our problem?”
- Requirements building. “What exactly do we need the purchase to do?”
- Supplier selection.“Does this do what we want it to do?”
- Validation. “We think we know the right answer, but we need to be sure.”
- Consensus creation.“We need to get everyone on board.”
As a key part of an Account Based Marketing program, marketers need to deliver offers and content that address the first four of these issues (problem identification, solution exploration, requirements building, and supplier selection), so that prospects at any point along the way can get the answers they need to move forward with their purchase evaluation. The sales team should be prepared to address questions at any of these stages, but especially with the last four: requirements building, supplier selection, validation, and consensus creation.
Verdi’s experience with offer development and content creation.
We have found that content offers need to be versioned by the buyers’ journey and by persona—so that the content is relevant to each member of the buying committee. Of course, while the content in the offers you make to your ABM prospects does not have to be specifically created for this target, the offers do need to address their specific needs with respect to their industry and requirements. It is likely that you have already addressed most of these offers with content—content that we could easily repurpose and personalize to appeal to your ABM prospects. The more relevant the offers, the more engagement you can expect.
Verdi has learned that an ABM program will help you identify the buying stages of your dream prospects, and it will allow your sales team to help them as they proceed with their evaluation. These days, buyers will conduct their research without any help from a salesperson. Because it’s important to know which prospects are seriously considering a purchase in your product/service category, you also need to be able to analyze who visits your website and what content they consume, so you can base their next prospecting offer on what they’re most likely to need.
By collaborating with your sales team to identify your dream accounts, developing a list of targeted buying influencers at each account, and gathering an assortment of relevant content to offer every persona at each buying stage, you will be ready to embark on an exciting journey of your own: Account Based Marketing. If you’d like to learn more and see a demonstration of how it has worked with some of Verdi’s success stories, click to book a demo.