With each new year comes the opportunity for reinvention. What’s past is prologue, after all: now’s the time to achieve something new and take your business to the next level. You could do something simple like reshuffle your office, invest in a new logo, or pick a new slogan — or you could do something more consequential like step up your marketing efforts.
Marketing trends to be a point of weakness for even the best businesses. There are so many possible methods to use — and so many ways to implement them — that plenty of things can go wrong. It’s particularly key in the B2B world where prospective (or existing) customers tend to have much greater expectations. You really need to impress them.
That’s where account-based marketing (or ABM) enters the picture. By catering your marketing efforts to specific types of prospect (or even individual targets) instead of starting out with generic materials, you can greatly improve your results. It isn’t easy, though, so how can you make it work for you in 2020? Here are some essential tips:
Curate the Most Relevant Accounts
To maximize the quality and quantity of your marketing campaigns, you need to start by establishing a strong pipeline of curated prospects. UnboundB2B can do the bulk of the work for you, drawing from a huge database of potential customers and grouping options based on what you’re looking for and what you bring to the table.
From there, you can stick with the suggested groups or do some further filtering until you’re happy with the selections. The more time you put into this stage of the process, the easier you’ll find everything that comes after it, so ensure that you don’t rush it. Remember the old data adage of garbage in, garbage out (GIGO) — even exceptional marketing work will fall flat if it’s wasted on recipients who don’t care about it or simply don’t find it relevant.
Invest in High-Quality Catered Content
Once you have your recipient groups identified, you need to start working on the content, and that’s another major challenge. Consider that taking a standard campaign and multiplying it by the number of groups would lead to an unbearable workload: there’s no way you’ll ever have the time to produce that much content. Instead, you need to smartly redistribute the effort.
If you were trying to market to everyone, you’d need to include a lot of elements in an effort to cover the bases. When you start targeting distinct niches, you can cut back on the overall amount of content in each piece (while still retaining a lot of shared aspects), knowing that what you do include stands a much better chance of convincing them.
Think about trying to convince a stranger of something. You don’t know how they think or what they’ll believe, so you have to puzzle it out along the way. Now think of trying to convince your best friend. You know their mind, so you can go directly for an argument that will suit them. Less content, but with more impact. It’s a more efficient way to work.
Go the Extra Mile with High-Value Targets
I mentioned in the intro that ABM can be about specific accounts in some cases. It’s possible for a huge B2B business to rely on just a handful of clients, for instance, in which case it might have a distinct marketing campaign for up selling each one of them. You’re most likely not in that position, but you probably do have some high-value prospects — so go the extra mile for them.
This should include things like full personalization for your marketing emails (dynamic recommendations, unique offers, etc.), and even the provision of custom print materials (anything from personalized business cards to client-specific brochures filled with only the products and/or services that are directly relevant).
You can even throw in some gifts picked specifically to impress those specific clients. For instance, you could take the time to learn about which foodstuffs the members of a particular team enjoyed, then send some tasty morsels over: it could go a long way towards winning their approval. After all, you’re not just marketing what you do — you’re marketing your brand.
Focus on Building Relationships
B2B is heavily about establishing long-lasting business relationships. In ideal circumstances, you’ll arrange multi-year deals that provide financial security and operational stability — and you can’t wait until you have clients signed to start trying to form those bonds, because prospects will generally want to feel comfortable with you before they seriously consider dealing with you.
That means that you should start trying to forge connections from the very beginning. Part of your ABM should involve communicating with the prospects: getting to know them personally, letting them get to know you in return, and finding out how compatible your companies are. Something as simple as discovering that you and a prospective client have similar goals can make a huge difference and set your proposal apart from any others they receive.
How should you do this? You can reach out on social media to prompt some conversations. You can simply call prospects over the phone. You can even visit them in person (given permission ahead of time, of course). And the more you understand them, the more it will help.
If you really work at it, 2020 can be the year that sees your account-based marketing really kick into high gear. These steps should give you the process you need: carefully identify the right groups, commit to top-notch content, prioritize the high-value targets, and work to lay the groundwork for lasting business relationships.