24 October 2019
Our step-by-step guide looks at how to target and engage new prospects using an Account-Based Marketing approach.
It can be a long and winding road to achieve success in B2B sales. But wherever the route may take you, the start of your journey begins with the need to understand your target market and be clear about who may want to buy your products or services.
Establishing who you can sell to and how best to communicate lies at the heart of sales prospecting
We live in a digital world that is ruled by data and advances in technology have brought about significant changes to the way in which prospect lists are compiled. This is especially true for ABM (account-based marketing) where strategic campaigns focus on key business accounts. Companies are marketed to directly, on a one-to-one basis, rather than the typical one-to-many approach and marketing strategies take a centred approach. Key stakeholders within each company are identified and targeted through different channels, in an effort to appeal to their specific needs and interests.
So what is the main objective of ABM when seeking to generate leads online?
To get prospects to visit your website so you can start to build a relationship that moves them along your sales pipeline, ideally to become a paying customer.
To help manage your lead generation, it may be worth considering an inbound marketing & sales platform, such as Hubspot or Communigator which converts your traffic into leads and helps to nurture leads to customers.
What steps should you take to start your ABM journey?
#1 Define your ideal customer
The starting point will be the need to create a highly targeted list of prospects. ABM is about marketing to a whole organization, so at this stage it’s not about defining individual buyer personas, but on determining the right types of company to market to.
Analyse your existing customer base to identify those accounts yielding the highest long-term profits. Focus on industry, company size, location, annual revenue, upsell opportunity & profit margin for those companies. These are the accounts you want to go after as they offer the greatest potential market opportunities.
#2 Research…phase 1!
Once you clearly understand the demographics of your target accounts, you need to identify organisations that match. At this point, using a reliable and accurate business data provider, such as Kompass will undoubtedly be a real time & money saver.
Kompass has locally sourced UK and international B2B data for 53m companies & 48m executive contacts across more than 70 countries. Searches can focus on specific sectors, using the uniquely detailed 55k product & service classification system, along with more than 60 different search criteria. You can manage the searches yourself in-house or if you need to save time you can source a bespoke data list.
#3 Research….phase 2!
With ABM, knowledge is power, so once you have identified those target organisations, the next stage is to determine who the key decision makers might be, what might influence them and how best to target them.
Sales are not made to the company but to the people who work there
Start with your CRM, which hopefully contains historically accurate company & contact information for any pre-existing or lapsed accounts you may wish to re-engage with. Gather information from employees working on the front line with prospects and customers – they know your leads and customers better than anyone. Referrals from within your existing network can also prove invaluable.
Social selling which uses social networks to find, connect & nurture prospects is also an important approach, although the wealth of information available can be both time-consuming and challenging for any business to manage. Lead generation tools, whilst very valuable are focused on incoming leads generated from your website, so you are already on their radar.
What about the prospects you are not connected with?
To be successful you need to go several steps further, not just to find the right contacts but understand how best to connect with them. Having access to lots of data is just the start…. to be truly effective you need to understand how to turn this information and insight into actions. To be able to recognise influential or compromising factors that might affect potential deals.
B2B sales intelligence tools such as ByPath are the ideal solution to manage this process and will help you find, monitor, prioritise and engage with potential prospects across whole organisations.
#4 Getting connected
Once you know who the right decision makers are, you will need to reach out to them and this will take effort on your part to see which method works most effectively. Keep it light and engaging….certainly with social media, the aim is to see what’s happening in their world and start building relationships, this environment is not necessarily the right place to go into full blown sales mode!
Consider how best to start a conversation with these prospects. The purpose of reaching out to cold contacts is to get them to visit your website and success will depend on the kind of messages you are putting out and the content you are conveying. It is important to step into their world and consider how you can help them.
Connecting with relevant prospects can also be where a truly effective sales intelligence tool can take you a step further. Through data analysis and by building a picture of you and your prospects world, a tool like ByPath can alert you to social media events, such as twitter posts or job changes or relevant news such as mergers, new contracts or funding. Giving you “who, why & when” suggested actions and contact timelines.
#5 Keep it relevant
At the heart of effective ABM is the aim of creating interesting personalised content & messaging. You need to understand your prospects pain points, appeal to their needs and demonstrate how you can solve them, with the right messaging and visually engaging imagery. The key benefit of ABM being personalised to these organisations, is that your content will speak specifically to them.
Content shouldn’t only be about promoting your products or services, you could make it relevant to the prospects industry or demonstrate how a similar company to theirs successfully addressed a problem they too are facing.
Creating effective content is challenging, so you could take a look at this useful guide Seriously Comprehensive Guide to B2B Content Marketing which gives some great insights into best practice content marketing.
Think about which are the right channels to use. Your hard earned research and content will be ineffective if you are not promoting your campaigns and creatives in the right places. It is helpful to understand where your prospects spend their time online, their state of mind and the social platforms they might use, such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
#6 Roll out and measure
With the tough preparation work done, it’s time to roll out your campaigns but make sure you don’t bombard your prospects with repeated messages across multiple channels…you could alienate them. Remember too that you are targeting an organisation and the key contacts within it, not just an individual, so try to strike the right balance of contacting enough prospects, but not too many times, no-one likes to be pressured.
Online marketing results are measurable, so you can always see where you need to evolve and improve. So once you are up and running, it’s important that you measure how effective your ABM efforts have been, by asking questions such as:
· Have you generated any revenue from these campaigns?
· Was the personalised content found to be engaging?
· Have your targeted accounts become more engaged with your brand?
· Were any of these accounts moved further round the buying cycle?
· What elements could improve? Better research, more refined content, different channels?
According to ITSMA, about 85% of marketers who measure ROI describe ABM as delivering higher returns than any other marketing approach. So whilst ABM is undoubtedly a challenge and may not always fit your business model, the results can be significant, so it’s certainly worth considering.
Kompass Business Data: Locally sourced B2B company data profiles across 70 countries
Bypath: Big data B2B sales intelligence solution with access to more than 200m contacts
Kompass Lead Generation Package: Our flexible solution to help you find, connect & engage with new prospects
Disclaimer: Please note that this blog only contains general information and insights about legal matters. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. Kompass.com