Is It Time for You to Cast a Narrower Net?

April 24, 2019

Editor’s Note: This guest post was contributed by Julie Thomas, CEO of ValueSelling Associates.

So much of lead generation traditionally focuses on sales and marketing teams casting the widest nets possible in hopes of snagging a few qualified prospects. One problem with that approach is the time it takes to sift and remove all the debris that is also collected — time that could be better spent focused on the true targets of the ‘fishing expedition’, or in other words, the qualified leads.

One way to reduce that resource waste is through Account-Based Marketing (ABM), a concept that has existed for several years and been practiced for far longer. ABM aligns B2B sales with marketing teams in order to plan and execute highly personalized campaigns around select targeted accounts.

With ABM, there are fewer prospects in the working pipeline, so you are now devoting resources to prospects who have been identified as more likely qualified – bigger fish if you will – and those that have a greater potential to close.

Even with this expectation of higher conversion rates, many organizations struggle to reframe the pipeline mindset to focus on quality over quantity and are reluctant to try ABM. A recent SiriusDecisions survey, however, found 91% of respondents using ABM saw their average deals increase anywhere from 10% to 200% and beyond. Almost a third reported 20% to 50% larger deal size. Those are significant successes.

Finding the right targets—together

Depending on a company’s corporate structure, the first step toward building ABM campaigns may be bringing sales and marketing teams together and providing each with an equal voice in identifying target accounts. Typically, those selections are culled from account lists and the feedback provided by sales.  And then together with marketing, the quality leads to include in an ABM campaign are selected.

Technology can provide a great assist in both finding ideal ABM candidates and creating highly targeted campaigns. Tool such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator can help in this process. So can our cloud-based  eValuePrompter®, which integrates with popular customer relationship management (CRM) software to better manage opportunities and cross-accounts. By using sales automation technology to capture accurate information and glean insights on specific companies, sales and marketing teams can develop strong credibility statements and get through more quickly to the right buyers.

Taking individual profiles into account

Effective ABM campaigns are executed with customized messaging for specific individuals within targeted organizations. This requires sales and marketing teams to collaborate and develop personas so that the outreach, regardless of the medium, remains relevant to recipients. Marketers understand how to define specific personas that sales can then further develop by aligning known business issues these individuals likely face.

Creating campaigns that spark conversations

ABM is dedicated to developing a strong marketing plan and sales cadence to improve the likelihood of capturing someone’s attention and encourage a call to action.  Sales and marketing teams working together ensure that the value in these outbound campaigns comes from addressing a specific problem that an executive or director currently faces. This intel requires keeping up with current events and understanding industry shifts, which is usually sales’ forte. Engagement is the goal and ABM might incorporate an event or custom content—such as a white paper, eBook, or webinar—to create the interest to return a call, request more information and ultimately, to further the conversation with a meeting.

Determining what ‘success’ looks like

By focusing on very specific accounts, it is easier to access early results and make messaging adjustments as needed. Sales and marketing camps must regularly compare and collectively interpret open and click-through rates, and other key performance indicators in order to determine next steps.

Regardless of a chosen account-based marketing strategy, success ultimately relies on sales and marketing teams unifying behind a new line of thinking. By working in tandem to deploy smaller-scale, targeted tactics, like spearfishing in an overstocked stream instead of dragging the net in open waters – the ultimate outcome is higher conversation rates and larger deal sizes. Win-Win! 

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