Account-based marketing (ABM) was one of the hottest B2B marketing trends of 2020, and the trend is projected to continue throughout 2021 according to the 2020 State of ABM Report. And it’s not hard to see why – 87% of B2B marketers surveyed by ITSMA reported their ABM initiatives outperformed their other marketing investments in terms of ROI.
ABM enables B2B tech content marketing to deliver sales enablement and support crossselling in a slightly different way. It’s a method through which tech marketers can move away from mass broadcast mode to a more customised approach, engaging key prospects with relevant, personalised content. When done right, ABM demonstrates value and a deep understanding of prospects needs, helping to develop a relationship with the prospect and paving the way for progression and further in-depth conversations to take place.
Isoline’s top tips
One golden rule to remember is that ABM should not be done via an anonymous ‘corporate’ account: it needs to come from an individual to work effectively. Remember, personalisation is at the very core of ABM. However, getting sales team members or senior management to commit to marketing is notoriously challenging. So, we’ve included some pragmatic tips for content marketers looking to take their first steps into ABM:
1. Find those champions:
Identify those members within your sales organisation who will serve as early adopters and embrace the principles of ABM. Your champions are usually the ones more receptive and open to new ideas, sales techniques, and social media channels. Think about deploying a pilot project with them, starting with around five to ten key prospects and work upwards from there. Make sure you track the results of the pilot so you can finetune the process as you go and then inspire the next wave of users based on those initial learnings.
2. Be prepared for extensive hand-holding:
Frontline employees are often daunted by the idea of reaching out directly to a high-stakes prospect and engaging with him or her. So, be prepared to work very closely with your champions: follow their key targets, suggest responses and even draft content they can easily share with prospects. The more you support them in the early stages, the earlier the principles are grasped – they will be capable of doing it single-handedly in no time.
3. Target people, not companies:
ABM is simply marketing, with a segment size of just one, so make sure you’re targeting the right ‘one’. Do your research and find the right individuals to target in your campaign, rather than a corporate email or LinkedIn account. If you find the wrong person, see if you can get them to point you in the right direction. Work your sales database, observe at trade shows or simply ask around to discover the people you want to escalate a relationship with.
4. Listen before you speak:
Once you have identified your prospects, it’s tempting to bombard them with a barrage of marketing and sales talk in order to push them into the sales funnel – this is not advisable and you’re only going to rub prospects up the wrong way in doing so. Listen before you engage. Familiarise yourself with the prospect’s preferred topics, which influencers they like, what they post and more. The more you know about them, the better you can tailor you’re the communications with them. If you’re engaging on a social networking platform: connect, like, comment on and react to posts before you get started with providing relevant content. This also helps the prospect to become more familiar with you, so you don’t come across as a ‘cold caller’ when you do pick your moment to reach out directly to them.
5. Create a bank of content available to share:
Reduce the time and effort spent creating new content. Repurpose content into conveniently ‘sharable’ form factors that your team can use. There are inumeral apps that can be installed on smartphones that allow this content to be personalised and shared easily across platforms with just the click of a button, like Hootsuite and Buffer. However, a new smarter generation of platforms is on the rise, offering greater functionality than ever before. This blog looks at some of the top social media tools that promise to save you hours on a weekly basis. But remember, blasting out generic pre-packaged content is counterproductive: make sure the content you’re sending out is highly relevant and speaks to the target’s pain points and of course, addresses them too.
Remember – patience is a virtue
ABM is a slow burner and will only work if you’ve already proved your value, addressed specific pain points and demonstrated insightful thought leadership, as the prelude to further engagement.
If you’re looking to implement ABM into your content marketing strategy, then get in touch at: [email protected] and we can catch up over coffee to discuss how Isoline can help you better achieve your sales goals.