It’s the classic approach: Bring enough people into the sales funnel, and you’ll sell a lot of products. In the B2B environment, however, marketers are increasingly moving to a different approach, account-based marketing (ABM). Account-based marketing refers to targeting an account (a company) rather than an individual. Let’s look at how it works.
1. Pick the right accounts. Account selection is the foundation of any ABM program. If you select companies outside your market or have little chance of winning, you’ll have low-percentage results. That’s why successful ABM starts with getting the right accounts into your funnel to begin with. How do you do that? Analyze your customer base, competitors, employees, revenues, and geography. Find your highest and lowest performing accounts, then score prospective accounts based on what you learn.
2. Identify the right people within those accounts. Get to the right people within your target accounts. Yes, we said, “people.” Most B2B accounts have more than one decision-maker, and you often have to find all of those decision-makers and bring them over the finish line as a team.
3. Keep dripping information. B2B sales often require a continuous educational effort that occurs over time. Use a steady stream of communications to bring awareness to your products or services, communicate their value, and answer questions. It takes time, but if you do it right, this can open doors to a phone call or in-person meeting.
4. Use all of your tools. Use all of your marketing tools—direct mail, email, events, webinars, social media, and all forms of advertising—to keep those leads warm (and getting warmer) until your audience is ready to buy.
5. Give ‘em swag. Although promotional items often get the proverbial eye roll, they work. First, 3D objects grab attention. Second, when you give people something for free, buyers tend to feel an obligation to respond. It’s called “reciprocity.” You may find that you’ve been hitting an account for months with no response, then you send a promotional item, and the next time, they pick up the phone. Try it!
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