This is no shock to anyone with sales experience, but turning leads into customers is incredibly difficult, even with the very best marketing automation software and other sales and marketing tools. Depending on what industry you’re in, as well as other factors, fewer than 1 percent of all your leads actually become customers. As a marketer, you know how difficult it is just to get a qualified lead. Knowing that getting a lead is the easiest part, well, that’s tough.
Account-based marketing, often shortened to ABM, is a B2B marketing strategy that encourages collaboration between sales and marketing teams by shifting the focus on building individual client relationships. Like a similar concept, Smarketing, ABM bursts through the lines typically drawn between sales and marketing and takes a more collaborative approach.
Some experts express it in fishing terms. Traditional marketing (marketing produces the leads, then tosses those to sales to close the deals) is like a fisherman tossing out a net. ABM is more like spear fishing. It’s very targeted, very precise, and very focused on the individual instead of “throwing it all out there to see what sticks”.
What should your sales and marketing teams know to make ABM a success? First, you need to begin sharing tools. For example, your marketing automation software isn’t just for the marketing team, and sales needs to share access to and the data from the CRM solution.
1. You’ve Got to Get to Know Those Prospects
When a fisherman tosses a net beside his boat, he has no control over whether he catches bass or catfish or bream or crappie. A spear fisherman, however, carefully targets his prey. He knows where they hang out. What they eat. Where they try to hide.
Similarly, ABM requires that your account representatives get to know a prospect. Be sure you’re contacting the right person: either the decision maker or the influencer. Make sure they’re in the right phase of the marketing funnel so you know what information you need to be armed with in case they have questions. Use your marketing automation software to track them through the marketing funnel so you know exactly when and how to approach your prospects. Understand which of your competitors they may be looking at, and what their pain points are. Also, know precisely how your products alleviate those particular pain points.
2. Use Social Media
Not only does social media deliver the kinds of targeted information you need to be successful with ABM, it also helps you develop relationships with your prospects. In the traditional sales and marketing scheme, relationship building is most often done with converted customers. In ABM, it begins as soon as the prospect becomes a qualified lead. Social media data is a rich repository of potential prospects, a valuable source of information on those prospects, and a powerful tool for building that all-important relationship. Marketing automation software offers features to make it much easier to track and collect the data you need from social networks and platforms.
3. Get Sales and Marketing Aligned
You’ve probably guessed as much from reading the other tips on this list, but in order for ABM to work, you absolutely have to have a solid relationship between your sales and marketing teams. This isn’t just a handoff of leads from marketing to sales, it’s collaboration to identify potential prospects, plus a lot of strategy building to put your company’s best foot forward. You’ll have to work on building a relationship between your sales and marketing teams before you can utilize the principles of ABM to build and nurture relationships with your prospects.
Once you collect the information you need for ABM with your marketing automation software, you’ll need to cleanse the data and prepare it for analytics. That’s where ReachForce comes in. ReachForce helps marketers increase revenue contribution by solving some of their toughest data management problems. We understand the challenges of results-driven marketers and provide solutions to make initiatives like marketing automation, personalization and predictive marketing better. Whether you have an acute pain to solve today or prefer to grow your capabilities over time, ReachForce can unify, clean and enrich prospect and customer lifecycle data in your business, and do it at your own pace.