We’ve written extensively about account-based marketing in the past. The basic idea is simple — rather than spreading your marketing message to anyone who’ll listen, you go out and find the people you want as clients first, then direct custom messaging directly to them. For B2B companies in niche industries, it can be a game-changer.
But it’s not as simple as looking up the CEO of Dream Client, Inc. and calling them on the phone. There are some strategies that will take your ABM game to the next level, and a few you should avoid like the plague. Here’s what to think about.
1. Do Your Homework
When there are only a few major accounts that you’re trying to win over, you can’t afford to blow the first meeting by charging in unprepared. The first step is to make sure you’re picking the right target clients to begin with. Take the time to craft an ideal company profile (ICP), laying out exactly the kind of companies you want to work with, before you spend any effort going after the wrong people.
When you do pick a target client, do your research. You should know how big the company is, how they make their money, and how much money they make. You should know who the major decision-makers are. You should know the value of the company and the other major players in their industry. You should be confident that they have a need for your product or service. If you’re prepared going in, they’ll notice.
2. Don’t Generalize
Have you ever gotten a personalized email from a company that got its wires crossed somewhere along the line and addressed it “Dear [FIRSTNAMELASTNAME]” rather than using your actual name? It instantly puts a bad taste in your mouth, and you might just throw the email out then and there.
The same is true for marketing materials. 75 percent of customers prefer a personalized offer, so don’t think that you can just recycle your last pitch with the names swapped out and get away with it.
While your product and service may be the same, the problem it’s solving might well not be. Maybe your software allows your clients to service more clients with their small team. Maybe it allows them to scale up more cheaply. Maybe it makes the existing team more efficient with the clients they have. Maybe it just saves money. The same product can meet a lot of different goals, and you need to know what your target client wants out of you before you start pitching them the wrong angle.
3. Don’t Tease Them
When you send an email, place a phone call, or arrange a meeting with a target client, you’re talking to the half-dozen most important people at a high-value account. They’re very busy and important people, and they’re no doubt inundated by competing offers and cries for attention. You don’t have time to mess around.
Instead, jump right in by telling them, “You have a problem and we know how to solve it.” You can get into the details later, but from the very first moment, you need to be explaining how you’re going to make the day-to-day operations at their company more effective.
4. Do Track Everything
One of the huge advantages of ABM is the ability to generate high-quality metrics and analytics. With a normal campaign, it’s hard to tell how many people have seen your materials or ads and the impression you made on them — all you know is how many actually took action.
With ABM, there’s only one recipient at the business end of your efforts. If you reach out to ten dentists about your appointment software, you’ll know how well you’re doing by how many dentists you end up signing. Keep tabs of what you did differently with each successful (and each failed) pitch, and use that information to craft a better pitch the next time around.
Finally, stay flexible. You’re never going to create the perfect pitch because it doesn’t exist. Every person at every company will click with something else in your presentation and materials, and the best you can do is try to learn from them. Keep that up, pairing intuition with data, and your ABM outreach will be unstoppable.