Account-based marketing isn’t new anymore. It’s time to stop winging it and to start doing it the right way.
ABM allows you to craft efficient solutions to some of the biggest issues plaguing sales today.
At Belkin, ABM helps us process a huge volume of data. We use it to explore over 50 data fields each day, research up to 20,000 leads every week, and constantly make content for email-outreach campaigns and customer communication.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
How do you get results like that?
You need specific, account-based marketing tactics, and I’m going to let you in on 5 tactics that we use at Belkin that you can use to boost your sales.
Let’s get started, shall we?
ABM Is Here to Stay
In the world of sales development, nothing stays a novelty for long. Once considered innovative, account-based marketing (ABM) has become standard practice, a natural part of the B2B sales culture.
It’s not going anywhere any time soon.
There are three reasons for this.
1. Cold outreach doesn’t work like it used to. As IDC research has shown, 90% of your prospective buyers are more likely to add your number to the no-call list than call you back.
Generic sales emails are just as bad. 24% of sales messages are never opened by their intended recipients.
2. The expectation of personalization is changing the way we communicate. There are new communication and cooperation standards.
Your prospects expect you to address their needs directly and stay with them as they continue their buyer’s journey.
Your prospects also expect you to stand out. If they can’t tell you apart from your competitors, they see little value in a B2B relationship with you.
3. More people take part in a buying decision. Nowadays, you’re more likely to present your unique value proposition to a five-person team than just one leader.
These issues are not likely to change any time soon, and right now account-based selling is one of the best tools to combat them.
At Belkin, we use ABM with an account-based selling (ABSD) framework to do everything from database research to appointment setting. We use it to provide comprehensive services that cover lead-generation and sales development
However, as efficient and productive as this approach is, it’s not a magic wand. It requires fine-tuning just like any sales development technique.
It’s not invulnerable.
The way you manage your sales process and your sales plans affect the results you get from ABM.
The Tactics and Tech You Need to Transform Your Sales
Account-based marketing tactics revolves around personalization and communication, but every meaningful B2B relationship is only as good as the technology behind it.
The digitization of our work has made it possible for us to reach across the globe and dedicate more time to injecting humanity and understanding into our B2B conversations.
Having the right tech stack, like having targeting tools and platforms for analyzing data, are the bedrock for your campaigns.
In general, your tech stack should include:
- Analytical platforms
- Outreach tools
- Email management platforms
We won’t take responsibility for telling you which software is a must-have, because software is something you need to choose for yourself. Pick vendors that know your industry and your pain points the best.
Streak was exactly what we needed.
Now that you have the tech to implement it, let’s get into the ABM tactics.
Assign tiers to your accounts
Using the data that we filter using the tech above, we compile a list of companies that match our Ideal Customer Profile.
But, since our resources are finite, we need to make sure we’re using the right resources for the right jobs.
To save our Sales teams the stress of handling several accounts at once, we break them down into tiers. This tactic allow us to:
- Define high-value prospects, and hand them over for nurturing immediately
- Balance the resources (both people and time) necessary for working with each account
- Explore the potential of the B2B field
What criteria should you use for tiering your accounts?
It depends on your business goals.
- What are your priorities?
- Are you looking for long-term partnerships?
- Do you need quick, one-time deals?
- Do you target startups or Fortune 500 companies?
We tier our accounts by how well they comply with our personal, Individual Customer Profile (ICP).
Our tiers break down like this:
A-Tier: These accounts are the perfect ICP match and have great value as long-time customers.
B-Tier: These accounts are generally a good fit, but their data profile is slightly different from our ICP. They also offer fewer opportunities for long-term cooperation.
C-Tier: These accounts don’t tick all of the ICP boxes. The possible benefits of pursuing them should be explored further.
The type of data you use to identify your potential buyers should be your navigator.
If you’re new to account tiering, we recommend that you don’t involve too many sales reps in creating your first tier list. Even if you’re a medium-sized business, it’s better to start small. Pick up to three of your best sales reps to work with a selected batch of accounts.
Select just one account for each tier, and then create email campaigns, educational content, and a schedule for your high-value accounts.
Watch and document results closely. Then, if you like what you see and your KPIs are good, gradually create more accounts.
Prioritize your conversions
In order to close the month productively, sales teams often try to generate new leads instead of nurturing existing ones.
However, account-based marketing owes its success to focusing on nurtured leads, and then optimizing them to deliver more lucrative long-term relationships.
One of the best ways to make the most of the leads that interact with you is to personalize your email campaigns.
Creating personalized emails may sound simple, but it’s not.
The line between friendliness and obnoxious familiarity is so thin that we wrote an entire tutorial on it.
Even after you write a friendly, relevant, and compelling introduction email, it doesn’t mean you can relax on your follow-ups.
Your next messages need to be as informative and compelling as your first.
Getting the right tone isn’t enough, though. You need to align your messages with your content as well.
If the unique value propositions in your emails is in sync with the content on your site, it creates a powerful impact.
Many account-based marketing tactics revolve around the way you present and deliver your content. This is because working with accounts allows for more freedom when it comes to creating messages within your website, ebooks, white papers, and case studies.
Lastly, you need to make sure the timing is perfect.
We often mention the importance of creating a schedule for your emails, and this is why.
Each of your accounts has a set of individual features and specifics, from communication preferences to time management. Therefore, you must be confident that whenever you send them a new email, it will reach them at the right moment, with an offer that will prompt them to answer.
Use social media
Many B2B companies are reluctant to include social media into their account-based marketing tactics because they still look at them through a B2C lens.
However, with the right strategy, social media can take you a long way towards establishing meaningful relationships and preventing your leads from dropping out of the sales funnel.
What can you use social media for?
Social proof: If you can quickly inform your audience about your latest achievements, your most interesting cases, and your best reviews — do it.
Content sharing: Your social media can be turned into an info hub where you answer top-of-mind questions and share your professional insights with anyone who needs it.
Support: Your prospects will appreciate seeing you active in their preferred social network. It’s a good reminder that whatever issues they might have, you’re there to help them.
We use LinkedIn Sales Navigator and a range of other tools and extensions to monitor the activity of the companies that fit the customer’s ICP, target the right titles, and discover new connections.
Social media has also proven to be a great way of finding out if the company is active or dormant.
The euphoria of finding a company that’s a close match to your ICP is quickly dulled by a lack of response from its titles.
So, before the lists of leads are handed over to sales teams, our researchers take a good look at the prospect’s social media. They see when the last post was made, and whether the company’s profile has been updated.
If it turns out that the company hasn’t posted in six months or more, and if their corporate blog is way behind its posting schedule, we cross that prospect out of our list.
Embrace face-to-face meetings
Cold emails are a good way to start business communication. However, sooner or later you will have to open up to your prospects and provide them with more opportunities for discussing their concerns and issues more deeply.
HBR research has shown that requests made during a face-to-face meeting are 40% more likely to be followed through than requests made via email.
There will always be a competitor willing to offer something more personal — a private meeting in the office, a chat at the trade show, a surprise visit to your prospect’s state or city.
For that reason, we make sure to provide as much flexibility as possible when it comes to finding time slots to meet face-to-face.
Keep an eye on your schedule, and look for places where a face-to-face could help you stand out.
For instance, If your Ideal Customer Profile covers many Eastern European companies, then finding time for a business trip to Europe can set your company apart from the competition.
Rely on your reps
Knowing your sales reps well allows you to utilize them more effectively.
Would it make sense to assign your French-speaking SDR to a customer from the United Kingdom when you’re in the process of nurturing a prospect from Paris?
Would it be logical to make a sales team with experience working with SaaS businesses to work with a furniture manufacturer?
- Do I know my team well?
- What makes each of my sales reps unique?
- Am I confident about their skills?
- What were the circumstances that allowed a particular SDR to shine?
If you can’t answer yes to these questions, then you need to invest more time into learning about your own team.
Your team’s unique strengths are your bread and butter. Use your team resources responsibly, and make sure that each person you assign is the perfect match for the task.
Upgrade and expand your tech stack to gather as much data about each of your accounts as possible. Don’t pick the trendiest tools. Pick the ones that are tailored to your industry and that match the size and goals of your company.
Segment your accounts by value to direct your sales reps’ and research teams’ efforts in a productive and time-efficient way.
Pay attention to your content. All your blog posts, sales templates, and onboarding materials should be consistent in style, comprehensive to your prospects, and work towards engaging your audience.
Use social media to keep your company front-of-mind, and to vet potential prospects.
Value quality communications over quantity, and be ready to engage in an in-person dialogue with your key prospects.
Know your reps, and position them to have the best chance at success. Then trust them to do their jobs.
Above all, remember that the account-based marketing strategy is only as good as you make it.
If you’re working in a highly competitive industry, grabbing on to every trendy tool and technique within reach will not solve your long-time challenges and advance your chance of success.
Your account-based marketing tactics rely on three powerful elements within your company: technology and data, content and strategy, and sales executives and researchers.
Using these 3 elements wisely is the key to success.
As long as you look at performance critically, and ensure that the Technology-Team-Content mechanism is operating to its full capacity, your account-based marketing tactics will work flawlessly and build the necessary sales momentum for your business.