Since you’re reading this blog post, we assume you appreciate good content. And since you appreciate good content, we assume you listened to the latest episode of the Corporate Data Show. If you haven’t, stop what you’re doing, even if it’s an “important” meeting with your boss, and go listen to it. We sat down with Jason Yarborough of Terminus, an expert in all things account-based marketing, and discussed the beauty of ABM.
If you absolutely can’t manage to go listen, but need to know more about ABM right now, don’t worry; we’re going to cover it even more in-depth here than we did on air. But, you should go listen to Rick’s silky smooth voice later on anyhow. Until then, read on to learn how ABM can make your life easier and, more importantly, land your company more sales.
Get more sales with fewer contacts
Account-based marketing, on its face, is pretty straight-forward. It’s marketing based on accounts. Okay, article over, thanks for reading! Just kidding of course, but in a way, it really is that easy to understand, especially when you understand the history behind it.
As Terminus points out, the foundations of ABM were laid in the 1990s when B2B and B2C marketers alike began to realize and act upon the value of more personalized marketing approaches. In 1993, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers published The One to One Future, and while the principles they described were implemented by many over the next decade, the term, “account-based marketing” wasn’t officially coined until 2004. Thus began, or continued with a name, a new era of marketing.
Rather than inbound marketing, in which you try to reach potential clients through marketing channels such as blogs, social media, etc., ABM uses an outbound approach. However, it’s unique even in the outbound marketing world, because it is hyper-targeted. So, rather than reaching out to hundreds or thousands of contacts from a dataset using the same messaging every time, you’re reaching out to a handful of potential customers using a strategy developed just for them. This requires your marketing, sales, and customer success teams to collaborate and work as one cohesive unit to develop the best plan of attack.
So, there’s the long walk, and here’s the short drink of water: ABM is an outbound marketing strategy focused on hyper-targeting promising accounts in an attempt to turn them into customers. Simple enough, right? Right.
"Data for the sake of more data is unnecessary." - Jason Yarborough
Okay, but how will this help me?
We’re so glad you asked, unnamed reader! You’re probably thinking, “That’s great, but my single-lead and mass-marketing efforts are working just fine now.” To which we reply: are they? Are they really?
One issue with mass outbound marketing that often goes unnoticed, or at least undiscussed, is that it can lead to sales with the wrong customers. Now we hear you saying to your computer, “But sales are always a good thing, right?” Well, yes, but down the road, sometimes no. If poor targeting in your outbound efforts leads to a sale with an ill-fitting customer, they may end up being dissatisfied with the product or service. In turn, this can lead to poor customer reviews, money wasted on campaigns, etc. This may sound like an obscure scenario, but it happens more than you might think.
In addition to mix ups like this, mass outbound marketing can also give you the wrong idea of how well you’re doing, if you’re not careful. By using the wrong measures for success, you can be led to believe that anything is working. Heck, you could convince someone that a sinking boat is a success if you get them to believe the goal is to see the ocean floor. While we’re not calling your current operation the Titanic, we are saying that if you’re more worried about the amount of emails being sent, or how many contacts are being used, you’re likely not seeing the results you could be.
What really matters is how well you’re using those contacts. Ten new customers from 50 accounts is a much more impressive success rate than 20 from 500 single-lead cold calls. So, to answer the question posed in the title of this article: no, you probably don’t need more contacts. You just need to use the ones you’ve got more wisely.
ABM is built for the modern company
In 2021, or even for the past few decades, it’s very rare to find a company with a single decision-maker who will determine whether or now to make a purchase. It’s much more common for this decision to be made during a conversation between many people within a company, sometimes in the double digits. Because of this, the buying process is a lot more complicated and sales take a lot longer to happen.
So, reaching out to a single lead within that company probably isn’t your best bet. You need to reach all the key decision-makers, which is why it’s much better to develop a well-rounded strategy using ABM and ensure that they all receive your marketing messages loud and clear.
How to simplify and streamline your approach
Now that we’ve established the merits of account-based marketing, let’s talk about the specifics. How are you going to implement an ABM method in your company? There are many methods out there that follow an ABM strategy, but most of them follow a similar pattern. For example, Jason and his colleagues at Terminus have developed the TEAM method, which involves the following:
Pull from multiple datasets and contact lists and identify best-fit accounts to target in your sales efforts. This may feel tedious, but selecting the correct accounts is crucial when it comes time to turn them into customers, which brings us to…
Make your first contact with these accounts in whatever way you and your team decide makes the most sense. Maybe it’s an email, a phone call, a singing telegram from a barbershop quartet, whatever will get their attention.
Now that you have their attention, it’s time to activate your account-specific strategy or campaign. This should be based on learnings from the info you had from datasets and researched further beforehand. You don’t want to be scrambling once you make contact, lest you look like the nerdy kid in a romcom when the popular girl agrees to go to the dance with him, saying “I didn’t think I’d get this far.” Have it ready.
As with any strategy, you need to measure your performance. This will show you where you still need to improve, allowing you to tweak your future campaigns to be more successful.
We think this is a great method, and although it may not seem like it at first, it’s actually pretty similar to ours. Here at EMM, we use the TPS Report (cleverly borrowed from Office Space), meaning:
Every good ABM strategy starts with targeting best-fit accounts. Get used to lots of acronyms starting with “T.”
No, don’t be a pain; identify a pain. The entire reason you offer your product or service is to address a common issue, right? So identify the issue for each of your target accounts, and then offer them a...
Tell them how you can fix it, and when they bite, actually do so. As long as your product actually works, you should have a long-term client waiting to happen.
While it may sound a little different, it really is the same idea as the TEAM method. Both involve targeting, engaging with a client, executing a strategy, and (hopefully) closing the deal. The exact method just varies by organization, as different approaches work better for different teams. Maybe you’ll find success with the TEAM method or the TPS Report, or maybe you’ll develop your own way of doing things. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid of some trial and error in order to land on a repeatable process that will help you get more sales.
So, once again, you probably don’t need more data. This might sound crazy coming from us, since selling data is what we do, but it’s true. And we’d rather see you succeed than buy a ton of data you don’t need, because a success for you is a success for us. Using an ABM approach, you can use smaller amounts of data more effectively and land more sales. If you still need a hand sorting out what ABM approach is best for you, we know a pretty cool guy over at Terminus who’d be happy to help, but there are plenty of reputable agencies out there who can hook you up as well. Or, if you need a solid dataset to even start with, we know a tab in the header above this blog you can click to get your hands on that, too.
We here at EMM are passionate about outbound systems that work, so if you’re buying data from us and have questions about ABM or anything else outbound marketing, we’re more than happy to help. In the meantime, be sure to check out our other blogs, the Corporate Data Show, and our LinkedIn for more hard-hitting tips on how to improve your workflow and make more sales.
The Corporate Data Show is a podcast to helping marketing and data professionals leverage data to generate revenue for their company. To listen to all of our episodes, visit the Every Market Media podcast page or your favorite podcast player.