Account marketing is one of the most popular topics in business organizations today. And for good reason, because it is a strategic and effective way to engage your most promising prospects.
For content marketers, it can be difficult to understand how your content strategies and tactical processes fit into an ATM management approach.
During their presentation at ContentTECH 2019, Jenny Magic of Springfield and Jennbox Reiff of Springbox presented an intensive course on why this people-centric strategy is worth pursuing, on what It is necessary for this to work and for the role played by the content. successful executions.
Here is a summary of the key details of their presentation, as well as practical tips they shared during a follow-up conversation with our editorial team.
Rethinking the B2B Funnel
The buyer's journey is more like a labyrinth than a linear path. With so many messages, channels, and stakeholders taking into account each purchase process, it can be difficult to reach and imply the right targets, let alone provide relevant content for the right one. moment to influence their buying decisions.
The buyer's journey is more like a labyrinth than a linear path, @joderama explains. Click to tweet
Using content to help sales teams generate demand and drive conversion leads to even more difficult B2B complex and large purchases. One of the reasons is a marketing funnel becoming more and more obsolete.
As Jenny explains, "The traditional funnel of marketing was volume-based, the more semi-skilled prospects possible. We did not know who they were, so we customize, chat, feed and try to log in just to tell us their email address. "
Once this very important contact is entered, it is usually entered into a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system or another system to be noted, filed and forwarded to sales.
"[But] it's an expensive way to play," Jenny points out, "attracting attention costs more and more, and organic channels bring us back less and less."
#ABM is an essential way for B2B to reverse the funnel and focus on a set of roles, @joderama explains. Click to tweet
On the other hand, the ATM is an essential way for B2B companies to reverse the funnel. Instead of working with a large number of low-qualified prospects, ABM focuses on a set of roles within organizations determined to offer interesting perspectives.
Once sales have identified and prioritized their leads corresponding to these roles, they can collaborate with the marketing team to create a knowledgeable profile of ideal customers to target. And this gives marketers the critical elements for developing essential messages and customizing them according to their needs and interests.
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How the ATM works
ABM no longer considers buyers as individuals, but rather individuals within an organization who decide together.
In an ATM model, the sales team leads the charge by identifying the highest priority accounts, determining which teams and which individuals are directly involved in their purchasing processes, and establishing Detailed profiles of the roles that marketing needs to play through strategic messaging campaigns.
From there, marketers develop and deliver personalized content to target these accounts as a unified group, based on their collective information needs as a business unit.
Instead of scoring leads and selling them, ABM helps them start conversations with fewer but more likely prospects. They can send those warmer relationships to sales to close the deal.
Its ability to build and warm high-value customer relationships is perhaps ABM's greatest strength: business marketers can get highly personalized messages in front of the right decision makers at the right time. They focus on content on prospects that represent the most powerful potential to have a positive impact on the bottom line.
# ABM's ability to warm up valuable customer relationships is its greatest power, says @joderama. Click to tweet
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ABM in practice
CMI's annual research in the field of enterprise content marketing indicates that companies are ready to give ABM a chance: 34% of respondents said they use this technique and 21% expected to integrate before the end of 2018.
34% of respondents use #ABM and 21% plan to integrate it by the end of 2018. @cmicontent #research Click to Tweet
Choose your type
The first decision to make is to choose the type of ATM that best suits your needs. ABM is a broad term that covers a lot of concepts, but there are three main levels.
ABM one-to-one: This is usually a sales driven initiative that uses highly personalized content to target a handful of valuable accounts – those that are a top priority for sales.
Jenny shares an example of a customer from the GumGum computer vision company, who was striving to close T-Mobile as a customer. After learning that the company's CEO was a big fan of comics, GumGum worked with custom illustrators to create a comic book called T-Man and Gums, The Girl Wonder. They sent it directly to the Director General's office and published it online. A few hours later, the CEO saw him, congratulated him on Twitter and organized a meeting with GumGum, which eventually led T-Mobile to become a customer.
This type of approach may require a significant investment. but if you have a big fish at stake, it may be worthwhile to offer unparalleled content.
Submit custom content content # if you have a big fish in play, says @JennyLMagic. Click to tweet
ABM One-to-Some: The next level is for customizing content and messaging for groups of accounts that share similar business requirements. The content to be executed according to this approach may include a personalized landing page with information or solution offerings around a specific area.
Jenny shares an example from Influitive: an advocacy engagement platform that helps clients build relationships with advocates and gain more criticism. Influitive sent out copies of positive customer reviews (from sites such as G2 Crowd), as well as a personalized note from the Influitive Sales Representative.
Messages position Influitive as a way to generate new positive reviews online. To attract the attention of the recipients, the messages were delivered in a nice burro backpack. According to Jenny, not only were these "piñata-grams" hard to ignore, but they generated an impressive response rate of 36%.
One-to-many ABM: Finally, the more programmatic approach combines the techniques used in one-to-one targeting and one-to-many targeting multiple account roles. For example, marketers can dynamically create advertising content targeting an account user while leveraging existing content around the needs of a few more stakeholders on that account.
Jenny shared an example of this approach to WP Engine, a WordPress hosting platform for creative agencies. To do this, WP Engine has divided its list of accounts into two groups, broadcasting custom ads to one group and generic creatives to the other. He then contacted both groups via emails, social media and phone calls.
The email rates for the group receiving personalized ads increased by almost 60%, with a 29% increase in response rates and 28% opportunities. "They got really important results by sowing the seed and letting sales and marketing work closely together on these personalized messages," says Jenny.
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Laying the foundations for the success of ATMs
It is clear that ATMs can offer compelling advantages. But that does not mean that companies can simply decide to reorganize their sales and marketing functions around an ATM model and get those benefits overnight.
The planning of the ABM takes into account many elements. For example, successful implementation may require business and marketing departments to adjust work processes to work optimally in their roles and in the way they work with each other. "You need to create a keen sense of alignment between the sales team and the marketing team that can carry out the whole process," explains Jennalee. "Make sure that roles, definitions, performance indicators, performance indicators and incentives are clearly defined and clearly defined with [each department’s]".
Create a strong alignment between #sales & #marketing that can complete the process. @jennaleereiff #ABM Click to Tweet
In addition, each firm must plan three fundamental components for the implementation of an automated teller program:
Individual-centric strategy: Identify the accounts of your ideal clients, compare the value of each and compare the accounts to be targeted. From there, the sales and marketing teams must work together to map the details of these accounts: purchasing process, people involved in decision making, key motivators and challenges that your content will address.
Killer content: To engage the high-value accounts identified by sales, marketers must provide content that reflects their needs and interests on a personal level. Once you have reviewed the existing content to help them solve their problems, determine the new content to be created, its adaptation to each step of the buyer's journey and how to position it so that it meets the expectations of your team.
Integrated Technology Pile: To provide customized content to your target audiences, you need to set up the appropriate data systems and components and have a collaborative management plan of the processes involved. You also need to understand how each component contributes to the consistency of the engagement you want to deliver.
Success #ABM has a people-centric strategy, great content, an integrated technology stack. @JennyLMagic @jennaleereiff Click to Tweet
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Collect useful information and measure actions
Jenny and Jennalee develop some tactical considerations involved in developing an individual-centered strategy during a follow-up conversation.
Both authors rightly point out that marketers can not really create personalized content without an in-depth understanding of the people in the target group and the goals that each audience seeks to achieve at every stage of its process. decision.
Content marketers should be familiar with a process commonly used to reinforce this understanding: buyer's personas. However, with ABM, an additional customer profiling step is to create an ideal customer profile to help sales determine which accounts to prioritize and target.
Although customer profiles and ideal buyer profiles work best in tandem, Jenny explains the distinction between the two profiling techniques:
An IBO is a personal account (describing the geography, income, vertical, etc. of the organization).
A buyer persona is a profile of the individuals (or roles) in that account.
"The best way to find out what your buyers really need is to talk to people who already speak to them – your sales and support team. Or, better yet, ask to speak to them directly, "says Jenny. "Ask them what problems they face, how your business can help solve them, what content meets those needs … Integrate it into your buyer image and you'll have the information you need to create personalized content that you will use to engage them. "
The best way to understand what your buyers really need is to talk to them, says @JennyLMagic. #ABM Click to Tweet
And, of course, the functioning of the ATM also means being able to measure the impact of your content on the buyers you are targeting.
At this point, Jenny and Jennalee shared a framework that ABM-led teams can use to align each other's efforts with the most important goals for their business and to track appropriate indicators to assess and optimize the performance of the organization. content.
As Jenna explains, "v" frame metrics (volume, speed, and value) are examples of easy-to-group metrics to create an initial baseline of your marketing performance. "What you hope to achieve is to go further in the 'e' – efficiency and effectiveness. This is where you will find the best quality prospects, "she says.
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Does the ATM work?
When strategically managed, the ATM can produce multidimensional benefits. On the sales side, this may include a shorter sales cycle, a better pipeline and lower acquisition costs.
And, as marketers begin their process with clear goals and defined customer needs, they can benefit from a more effective marketing reengagement, which can open up new and additional sales opportunities. .
"[Audiences] are more engaged because the messages they receive are more relevant. This ultimately leads to a better customer experience, higher retention rates and, of course, a higher return on investment, "says Jennalee. In fact, 87% of respondents in an ITSMA baseline report say that this technique generates a higher return on investment than any other type of marketing.
ATMs can also be effective in engaging hard-to-reach C-suite employees: administrators typically reject direct mail but are more likely to respond to personalized content based on their needs and circumstances. ;use. According to the #FlipMyFunnel 2018 report on the state of account-based marketing, 27% of marketers by ABM reported a 50% increase in commitment to level C.
ATMs also facilitate the achievement of a goal that any business can take advantage of – a closer alignment between sales and marketing. Encouragingly, a recent custom study conducted by LinkedIn by CMI revealed an association between ABM and better alignment of sales and marketing. "In the end, it's a great way to bring two teams together to collaborate instead of compete," says Jennalee.
Do not let the fear of change hinder the potential of your content
Implementing a new operational approach such as ATM management is never a decision to be made lightly – such transformational changes of this type can certainly require a considerable investment in terms of time and effort of setting up – not to mention a firm commitment from multiple stakeholders throughout the company.
But the benefits that B2B companies can achieve through ATM-driven marketing may be too attractive to overlook. Given the complexity of the current B2B purchasing process, increased marketing costs, and lower returns from highly targeted marketing campaigns, an ABM-based content strategy can provide the best opportunity to create an alignment. and interdisciplinary efficiency and develop strong relationships with the right customers. and get meaningful results for your business.
Here is an excerpt from The account of Jenny and Jennalee:
Ready to learn more to implement an ABM quality program? Attend the Demand Generation Workshop – Marketing on September 3rd as part of Content Marketing World. And stay the whole conference to learn even more. Register today using the code CMIBLOG100 to save $ 100.
Cover image of Joseph Kalinowski / Content Marketing Institute