Account based marketing aims to marry the relationships created by marketing directly with the sales team. A style where leads are qualified, time spent is worthwhile and the business runs efficiently. There’s a high level of orchestration required to pull together the setup that allows this form of business to happen, but is it worthwhile? You can be absolutely sure that it is.
What is account based marketing?
The most straightforward definition of account based marketing is that it is a form of growth marketing where both the marketing and sales teams within a business work together closely so that your customers receive a highly personalized experience along their whole buying journey. These tactics are, typically, applied to accounts within a business that has already proven themselves to be highly valuable.
Given the nature of the strategy, your teams will look to remove lower value customers from this strategy so that combined efforts are spent on customers which will bring the highest level of value to your business over their lifetime. By focusing exclusively on accounts that will bring in high amounts of revenue, there’s a higher likelihood of achieving a greater return on investment, plus the opportunity to foster customer loyalty through carefully nurtured relationships.
Account based marketing aims to treat the highest revenue generating accounts as individuals, even if they’re a larger company. This shift in mindset fosters a more personal relationship. The strong links with inbound marketing (think content marketing, SEO etc) make this a strategy that’s hard for others to contend with.
When linked together, inbound marketing and account based marketing allow you to generate content and resources that seem as though they’re completely personal to each individual high-value account. By tailoring your inbound marketing content to focus on high-value accounts, your account based marketing can then guide them through the buyer’s journey in a personalized way that has a far higher conversion rate.
Take a new case study, for example, you know that your team is aiming to win a similar client, and a case study of a company that has worked with you will help them towards conversion. You’re delivering a tailored piece of content directly to that account. But once it has served its purpose there, you’re able to use this case study on your website as a form of inbound marketing, which is likely to attract clients of a similar nature and potential revenue yield.
9 Tactics for Successful Account Based Marketing
Account based marketing doesn’t have a specific guide, in fact, it shouldn’t given the fact that it’s tailored to your specific accounts, but there are a number of tactics that will lead to success. These tactics should be considered with a direct eye to your own business. What works well for one, won’t necessarily work as well for another. Consider your business goals, your own values, and style, plus put yourself in your clients’ shoes, that way you’ll ensure that whichever tactics that you select align with both you and your customers.
Ask for Referrals
Once you’ve found the perfect customer for your business, chances are that you’d like to have more like them. Especially if you have put effort into inbound marketing channels that ensnared them and you’ve created a personalized experience for them. It stands to reason that that customer is likely to know more businesses or people like themselves. Therefore ask them for a referral, ask them for introductions. It’s highly likely that they’ll be willing to do so, given the excellent account based experience that they have had with you.
There are many different ways to leverage a referral program, especially a B2B referral program, but one of the best ways is to get your hands on some sophisticated referral program software. It takes the guesswork out of running a referral program, automates a great deal of the process, and also allows you to scale in a sustainable and systemic way. Paired with a growth strategy such as account based marketing, referral programs can take everything to the next level.
Highlight Case Studies and Testimonials from Similar Companies
We’ve touched on this above but it’s worth mentioning again. Many companies request testimonials, create case studies, put them on their website, and leave it at that. When building an account management strategy you should aim to highlight these and then use them during the buying journey. Draw your potential client’s eyes towards a testimonial or a case study that matches their ideals, values, and business style.
It’s what we did with a newsletter referral program case study. We knew that we, at GrowSurf, wanted to engage and win clients similar in type to our customer, the news. We knew that the client was impressed with our service and had the metrics to back it up.
Define Customer Personas
This is an activity that should be completed by every business, and it often is when the business first starts. The aim is to craft a fictional customer profile including their name, position, likes and dislikes, demographics, and more, the key is to base this in a semblance of reality so that you can liken your personas to the customers that you’d like to work with.
The issue with customer personas is that they are, all too often, created early and then left alone. The problem with this is that your customer might evolve over time. When considering an account based marketing approach you’ll also need to create personas of similar accounts, and high-value customers that you’d like to work with. Once the persona is defined it is far easier to understand the type of communication style they prefer, the type of content that they want to consume, and more.
If you want to learn how to develop customer personas for your SaaS, we wrote a handy guide.
Run Retargeting Ads
Pay per click advertising and other forms of online advertising can hugely help when running account based marketing campaigns. The key is to be very selective in your audiences and make the adverts as personal as possible. Take for example a person who has visited your website from a certain channel and has engaged with a specific piece of content, you can use your best judgment to gauge if they fit into the high value customer type that you’re looking to work with (using your buyer personas) and then create adverts that target them specifically.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to target them with sales based advertising. You could simply be guiding them through the buying journey and suggesting another piece of content for them to engage with.
Follow and Engage with Target Accounts on Social Media
This doesn’t mean that you should hunt down their personal Facebook pages and like all of their 2018 holiday photos from the Thailand trip. Consider this on a business level and try to add value. Look at what they’re posting and see if you’re able to assist or take part in the conversation. Even better if you can share one of your own resources to help them along the way.
These small and relatively informal interactions can make all of the difference and will hugely help if you’re building a business or SaaS social media marketing campaign.
Create Personalized Email Campaigns
Very few people love to receive a random newsletter from a business that aims to catch everyone on their mailing list. It feels more like something that the sender is doing because they’ve been told to rather than because they genuinely want to engage with you. The better option is to create customer segments within your mailing list and send emails that are more useful to the smaller groups and offer value. These feel far more personalized and personalization in marketing makes a big difference.
Taking this to the next level involves using simple code to import the user’s name and business details. You’ll also be able to email them based on the products that they have either purchased or have shown interest in.
Feature Target Clients in Blog Content
This might feel quite forward but by researching clients on your hit list you might find that they fit into the type of content that you’re writing about. It could be as simple as including them as a prime example of a client or in a list of various companies.
Doing this allows you to reach out to the client and use pragmatic marketing strategies to open a discussion without coming across as a business solely focused on sales. The initial email could simply be a heads up “We’ve included XYZ in our latest piece, here’s a link to check it out.” You could even take this a step further and ask if they’d like to host the piece on their website or at least link out to it, this is beneficial for your SEO and also keeps the conversation going.
Just be sure to write about them in a favorable light, and don’t go over the top with the brown nosing. No one likes a suck-up.
Host Invite-Only Events
Everyone likes to walk through a door that says invite only, with an invitation in hand. You feel like you’re part of an exclusive club. Invite only events to achieve this, and they don’t have to be huge budget soirees held in person. They might even be a digital event. The key element is that you need to let the customer know that you’re excited to invite them, they’ll be part of an exclusive party and that they’ll be amongst contemporaries that they admire.
The best events would be ones which are useful to the customers. They should want to attend because it’ll give them value. Even if it’s as simple as a networking opportunity. Many businesses use larger scale events such as sporting fixtures to facilitate this. Putting on corporate hospitality events for clients you’re looking to woo can create a great sense of well-being, plus through the reciprocity principle, they’ll feel like they owe you.
Host Webinars Customized to Your Targets
Webinars are a great way to position yourself and your business as thought leaders within your field. They can be generic and allow you to share industry trends, information related to your products or services, and they are an opportunity to get your voice out there. But, the best webinars can be used as a platform to engage with your target audience on an account based marketing strategy level.
Let’s say that you’re looking to engage with businesses within the financial sector or a specific insurance niche. Tailor your content and customize it so that it directly helps those in those industries. Generate content that sounds like you’re directly addressing them, rather than aiming for a catch all style. Not only will this increase the likelihood of a higher level of engagement but it’s more likely to drive webinar attendance through the roof, especially when it is promoted in the appropriate circles.
When looking to create and launch account based marketing campaigns, these tactics will certainly help you increase revenue but they’ll also help you earn a better quality of customer that genuinely wants to work with you. At the very core of the principle, you’re putting the customer’s interests first. Sure this has a positive and beneficial impact on your business, but only because you’re doing the right thing for them.
- Ensure that your marketing team and sales team are in sync from the beginning of the process.
- Identify and begin to build buyer personas around your high value clients
- The more you can personalize your content and message to specific clients the better
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