3 Ways to Conduct Research on Prospects with an ABM Strategy

June 21, 2018

Pick up plenty of clues about your prospects, with these account research tactics.

The fishing novice blindly casts a wide net into the sea, hoping that within his haul, he will find enough to produce a meal for that night.

Elsewhere, the master fisherman has strategically selected his location on the water. Peering through the surface, he spots his target, reaches back, and hurls his sharpened spear downward. Moments later, he pulls out a massive sturgeon, capable of feeding his entire family for days.

This angling example serves as the perfect metaphor for account-based marketing (ABM) as it compares to the all-too-common “spray and pray” methodology for sales prospecting.

ABM identifies a finite group of accounts believed to hold the most significant value to a seller, then seeks to develop relationships with key contacts who carry sway in the purchase process.

This approach emphasizes the quality of sales opportunities over the number of opportunities, with a consultative technique that places the needs of the customer at the heart of the sales discussion.

Account-Based Marketing Refines the Sales Process

Traditional methods have sellers collecting surface-level information on numerous companies before conducting lightly personalized outreach. Under ABM, you’ll invest time digging deeper into the select accounts your team collaboratively identifies as best fits for your solution.

This narrowed focus makes your research more efficient and will allow you to customize messaging, offers, pricing, and arrangements for a superior value proposition.

The commitment you show in servicing the account will pay dividends in terms of a stronger, longer-lasting relationship. 74% of companies using an ABM strategy report a significant improvement in customer relationships, according to a 2017 joint report published by ITSMA and the ABM Leadership Alliance.

Here’s how you can apply ABM tactics to your prospect research strategy:

Company Websites Offer a Wealth of Information

A company website can be a veritable treasure trove for research. Not only does it house details about the business and its employees, but can also give you a clear idea of how leadership wants the brand to be positioned publicly. This should always be one of your first stops.

An “About” page may offer statements about the company history, operating philosophy, and values. You can shape your outreach around these fundamentals. Meanwhile, a “Team” or “Who We Are” page might include biographical tidbits and organizational structure overviews to supplement your account research on LinkedIn.

Company Blogs Tell the Corporate Narrative

Some businesses use their blogs as modified PR platforms, with a mixture of posts covering announcements and major developments, as well as community events the company is involved in. Others take more of a content marketing angle, broadening their scope to draw inbound traffic.

Either way, you can learn a lot from a company’s blog.

Depending on the layout and configuration, you may be able to quantify prioritized topics through a tag cloud or site search. Make a note of frequently mentioned names or keywords, and the context in which they’re used. These are probably worth incorporating into an eventual pitch.

Additionally, keep your eyes peeled for company news. Updates such as mergers, acquisitions, or new funding could signify timing triggers for the savvy sales rep.

LinkedIn Company Pages Reveal Corporate Priorities

This real estate gives businesses a managed presence on the LinkedIn platform, and a way to extend corporate brand identity with marketing and promotional information. In your quest to build a thorough profile of your target account, its Company Page is a highly useful resource.

Content shared on a Company Page — including links to presentations, blog posts, and reports — can provide you with insight into the state of the business you’re studying. This can be pertinent to your prospecting efforts, guiding the questions you might ask your contacts.

Further, Company Pages include a list of people employed by the company. This enables you to surface connections within the ranks you might not have known about. It can also help you map out buying committees, and pinpoint influential stakeholders.

Better Tactics, Better Results

Research and preparation are essential to successfully fulfilling an ABM strategy. Equipped with knowledge and insight, you’ll be able to target the right people, conduct mutually rewarding conversations, and offer solutions tailored to the company’s unique situation.

Company websites, blogs, and LinkedIn Company Pages are three primary resources in your search for actionable info.

Sure, there are plenty of fish in the sea. But reeling in the big ones requires a more sophisticated approach than simply casting your line and hoping for the best.

Read our latest guide, Read Me If You Want to Make the Most of Sales Insights on LinkedIn, for more ways to close deals through advanced research tactics.