Are you one of the thousands of companies that’s working on getting your account based marketing (ABM) strategy off to a successful start in 2019. Let’s break down how to do that in a simple five-step process.
The first step is to actually analyze your customer base particularly your best customers. Ultimately what you’re trying to do is find more prospects that look like your best customers. Get with your ops team or with your finance team and get a list of the top 20 or the top 25% of customers in terms of the revenue they bring to your business, for example, the retention rate of their profitability. Once you have that list of top 20% of your customers now the trick is to figure out what is it about those customers that separates them from everybody else. There’s a variety of tools that you could use for this (we’ll update you in a later post); and you’ll need to map characteristics like their revenue base, their industry base, their demographic characteristics, the technologies they have installed, etc. In fact, this is one of the biggest “aha” moments is to discover that your best customers actually have one or two specific technologies that perhaps work really well with your product and that helps indicate who a best customer is so whatever that list of characteristics is that comes out.
Step 2 is to identify more companies that look like those customers who have the same kinds of attributes, the same revenue base, the same employee size, the same technologies installed and that step two is to go identify who those companies are that look like your best customers. However, you not only want to focus on companies, but you should also focus on the stakeholder chain of contacts that exist at those companies. For example, if you sell into the sales team or you sell into the marketing team you want to find out who were the contacts within the sales department or within the marketing department at those companies that look like your best customers. The trick here is you might do that and what you might find out is you have a list of 3,000 companies and 10,000 contacts at those at those companies that look like your best customers and while that’s a great list to start prospecting into it might not be the list you want to do a really comprehensive account based marketing program towards. Instead, you might want to pair down your account based marketing programs (to consider costs/budgets) and do something that’s more personalized more specialized at a sub-segment of that list. A pilot program is always great to start with. Easier to set up and limits the metrics of success to measure.
The next step, Step 3, is to first expand your insights and your understanding of those target accounts and the sub-segments. Gather account intelligence, for example, find out if the company just had a funding event recently that might indicate that they would move up higher in the list. Did the company just have a recent executive move within the department that you sell to, or do they have a new chief sales officer or new chief marketing officer or new CTO. Within the contacts you want to find out things like what’s their responsibility, how do they actually structure the organization, perhaps, an org chart to really start to hone in on who the right contacts at those accounts are. Once you do that and you have intelligence about the account and you have intelligence about all of the context within those accounts now you’re able to go to the next step.
Step 4 is to rank your target accounts and rank your target contacts. You can do this within a variety of tools (we’ll update you in a later post) and determine who is most likely to buy or engage based on all of this information. You might get something like a five-star rating so of all your 3,000 target companies rate them on a scale of 1 to 5 and then within those companies you want to rate your contacts also on a scale of 1 to 5 so that you can start to hone in on who are the 3 to 6 max at the 500 companies that I want to start with first and then I want to expand beyond that. Start with your top targets build out an account based strategy there, test it, and then refine it. As you get bigger and bigger then you’ll be ready to engage.
In Step 5, it is important to make sure that your sales team, marketing team and, customer success team are aligned around those target accounts and around the plays that you’re going to use against those target accounts. It could be plays or tactics like email campaigns, direct mail campaigns, phone call campaigns, and ad retargeting. There’s a variety of different ways to build your account based marketing strategy but the key is that if you haven’t done steps one through four and you have great data to figure out who your best customers are and who your prospects are that look like those best customers and how to rank those prospects and those contacts based on data so that you can go after them effectively, if none of that is in place then it doesn’t matter how great your engagement is your account based marketing strategy is. You will fall short if the steps are not completed. I hope your found this primer helpful to get your account based marketing strategy off show great year.
In the next post, we’ll review the tools most commonly used by companies looking to implement these five steps to begin their ABM strategy or improve and optimize on the account marketing based programs currently running.