Everything in Account-Based Marketing revolves around a prioritized set of accounts. Finding a marketer’s best opportunity to win and enable sales is the name of the game. But it’s important to not forget the audience. We might target accounts, but it’s people within those accounts that have needs and are looking for solutions.
People make up the buying committee - the end-user, the decision-maker, or the deal blocker. They are also more than just targetable personas. Let’s focus on their needs, help them buy, and not sell them features and functions.
With an audience-first approach to ABM, marketers will be better able to validate and enrich their data, identify their ICP’s intent triggers, and prioritize their TAL by buyer stage and need. An audience-first approach to ABM is about empathy and personalizing/optimizing the buyer’s journey.
ABM Changes the Game
Account-Based Marketing changes the way most marketing and salespeople think about their efforts. ABM doesn’t completely throw out the traditional marketing tactics, but it drastically changes the ways we use them. And that means marketing and sales professionals have to change the way they think about their efforts.
For example, traditionally nurturing is viewed as a post-conversion effort and a function of marketing automation and email. But with ABM, nurturing is about personalization and should begin much further up the funnel.
Try to think of it this way, ABM is more than just targeting accounts. It’s pinpointing a brand’s opportunity to win and advancing pipeline progression by mapping and orchestrating everything around audience needs and the buying experience. Proper ABM activation requires an expanded view of what lead/opportunity nurturing is all about. Start early. Incentivize audiences to deanonymize. Have the right content for the right audience and leverage the context of the placement to maximize impact.
Audience-First ABM Pro-Tips from BOL
1. Don't lead with a demo.
A demo is great… when your target asks for one. Offering up a demo too early feels like all you care about is selling. ABM is about building a personal relationship. You should be in tune with each lead’s needs, so much so that you are giving them exactly what they need when they need it. And that is rarely, if ever, a demo right away.
2. Position on value, TCO (total cost of ownership), and use cases.
Your leads are coming to you looking for a solution that solves a problem they have. Don’t try to sell them your solution by telling them how great your solution is overall. Focus on what matters to them. Show them the value of your solution. Give real use cases and examples of how your solution has actually solved the problem they are dealing with. Give them the nitty-gritty and answer all of the questions they have right away. This builds trust and makes their decision a lot easier. It also helps to decrease time in the sales cycle.
3. Back into feature and function MOFU (Middle of the Funnel) content.
Help your future customers buy. Don't sell them. It is highly unlikely that a prospect is going to want a demo before they are confident that you can solve their challenges. It is also common that the person you are targeting may make the decision that a potential partner will work, but it may be up to someone else who will actually use the solution from day-to-day, to go through the demo or test the solution to determine if it will work in the real world.
MOFU content needs to check the boxes that the solution can do XYZ. But TOFU (Top of the Funnel) content addressing or aligning with a prospect’s needs makes this content more valuable.
4. Tier your KPIs to track opportunity progression.
Not every goal or KPI that we optimize to is a conversion. Conversion is typically defined as a form fill or event registration. This can be any de-anonymizing event with a gated asset. But sub10% of targeted traffic converts here at the BOFU (Bottom of the Funnel). Even if the CTA is strong.
So, we need to also optimize against measures or KPIs that progress the experience, lead to final conversion, and move prospects through the pipeline. Leading indicator metrics could be time on site, pages viewed post-click, and/or social shares, etc. This can be a great way to gauge the probability to buy. These indicators can be used as part of a robust effort to pinpoint intent.
5. Involve sales throughout the entire process.
Sales and marketing are no longer siloed entities. In the modern B2B world, sales and marketing are joining forces and finding significant success in doing so. Why? Because who better than the sales team to give valuable insight into what leads are in need of and what ultimately makes a customer choose your organization as the solution to their problem(s)?
Personalize For The Account AND The Audience
With ABM, personalization is everything. Our gut reaction is to target accounts by industry or area of interest. But the vertical or account approach is dead. It's about prioritization, orchestration, and personalization to build trust and develop empathy. That is what any relationship is built on.
Take personalization beyond just vertical or account-specific messaging. Consider what the differences are in buyers’ roles. Is one more interested in the cost/benefit, while another cares more about preventing risk? This is especially important when nurturing leads you already have info about, so the content should reflect that.
Show your leads that they matter to you and you will start to matter to them.
Measuring Your ABM Program’s Impact on Audience
Account penetration is great, but what about persona penetration? Is all your engagement focused on one piece of the buying committee? Or are you engaging all individuals with the messaging and resources they need?
Tools like Demandbase and 6sense have persona maps so you can see not only if you are reaching the right accounts, but also, the right individuals in those accounts.
Remember The Audience In Your Account-Based Marketing
What makes Account-Based Marketing so effective is how personal it is. When you start targeting the right accounts the right way, it is almost impossible not to make a good impression. When you recognize and personalize the audience within those accounts, you are able to make an even stronger connection.
If you want to learn more about ABM and a better approach to reaching your high-value targets, download our guide - Everything You Need To Know About Account-Based Marketing!