The original version of this article, authored by Craig Rosenberg, was published by TOPO, now Gartner.
Business-to-business (B2B) vendors, bloggers and market research firms are fueling a resurgence in account-based marketing’s popularity.
The core idea is to create a completely aligned sales and marketing process that builds relationships with a very specific and very targeted set of accounts. There are many fundamentals to consider such as account planning and mapping, sales and marketing alignment, offers and metrics.
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There are 11 effective tactics to use with your account-based marketing strategy.
No. 1: Develop prospect-specific offers
One key to account-based marketing is relevance and personalization. There are often a small number of target accounts in a typical account-based marketing program, so campaigns and offers need to deliver high conversion rates.
One idea is to personalize content marketing efforts by creating offers that are built specifically for a particular target account. Most potential buyers feel compelled to open that personalized report because it’s so valuable.
No. 2: Develop offers designed to get meetings
A full 99.9% of marketers create offers designed to generate leads from webinars and white papers. These help sales get prospects to agree to a meeting. For example, a social analytics company could offer an hour-long live research report analyzing a business’ social media efforts versus their competitors. Other examples include free technology assessments or security audits designed.
No. 3: Use retargeting to keep your brand in front of accounts
Retargeting is a great way to repeatedly engage a specific account as its employees consume online content. Some retargeting innovations are directly applicable to account-based marketing programs.
Demandbase, for example. has an account-based insight and targeting offering that uses IP addresses to identify a vendor’s target accounts as they search the internet. When these accounts visit a site in the network of properties that host Demandbase advertisements, they are served the vendor’s advertisement. Other B2B retargeting companies include Bizo and Retargeter.
No. 4: Personalize the account’s experience on your website
Given the targeted nature of account-based marketing, it’s critical that programs deliver high conversion rates. Personalizing landing pages is one effective tactic for doing this. Marketers can create account-specific landing pages that display custom copy, images, offers and forms depending on the person or account that is visiting the landing page.
Personalization tactics can include displaying the name of the visitor on the landing page — but be careful, as some prospects may find this overly intrusive.
No. 5: Create sales territories designed to convert
In the past, sales territories were often assigned based on fairness or equality, but what if you could assign salespeople to a specific territory based on their likelihood to close a deal? Social proximity territory planning is a practice where an organization assigns its reps to specific accounts based on the quality and quantity of their social connections. Other territory planning options can be based on previous selling relationships or past sales history.
No. 6: Test direct mail with executives
As digital marketing rose in popularity, direct mail was left for dead. However, direct mail is still an effective option to reach targeted groups of executives. Why? Because many executives don’t register for webinars or white papers, respond to unsolicited emails, or follow companies and salespeople on Twitter. For example, in advance of a big conference, one company sent empty iPad boxes to top executives with a note to come by the event booth to receive the iPad. It worked — many recipients came by to interact with the business.
No. 7: Use social intelligence to understand what matters to prospects
A core tenet of account-based marketing is personalizing communications according to an account’s current initiatives and challenges. Companies evolve quickly so smart vendors monitor changes and trigger events at their target accounts.
One method is to subscribe to public information service like Google Alerts to understand what is happening at a company level. Another tactic is to monitor social activity.
Unlike PR-driven articles and press releases, social data is invaluable to the account-based marketing model. When creating the program, organizations should be agile and redirect or revise messages when new information is discovered. Sales applications for enterprise class social intelligence include InsideView or LinkedIn.
No. 8: Build a list of legitimate role-based contacts
There are vendors that can create lists based on role or responsibility and will guarantee that the contact is still active. This type of list build allows account-based models to seed the database with the right contacts. Titles often don’t tell people enough but with a role-based list, a company can request “the person in charge of IT infrastructure.” Companies such as Reachforce or Televerde can help build these types of lists.
No. 9: Purchase white paper and webinar leads for target accounts
In the past, when a buyer purchased leads from a media company, they were only allowed to filter by selects such as company size, title or geographic location. Recently, more online lead generation organizations allow companies to filter their lead purchases by company name. The cost-per-lead will be higher but it’s certainly worth the price for supporting account-based marketing efforts.
No. 10: Create a one-to-one C-level campaign
Organizations can assign employees the responsibility for cultivating relationships with specific buyer personas at their target accounts. C-level to C-level outreach is an effective tactic for this. The campaign can start with an email or direct mail from this person and follow up with a phone call.
The outreach should be personal and real, and mention the business reason these executives should connect. The organization should support all aspects of this campaign including writing the message. An inside salesperson can follow up with a phone call to the executive’s admin to set up a meeting.
After assigning the C-level executives, organizations can then assign VPs, inside sales reps and marketing to prospects at target accounts. The goal is to match relevant employees with the prospect’s relevant employees.
No. 11: Discover target account connections via non-sales employees
We often overlook the relationships other employees in the organization might have into target accounts. LinkedIn Sales Navigator, for example, has a feature called TeamLink that provides visibility into the connections other employees in your company have with contacts at your target account. Often, there may be a potential connection to leverage.