Using Account Based Marketing (ABM) to Improve Sales – Pt 1
Account based marketing (ABM) is often thought of as something for the big players, selling office and business products like phones, furniture and services. These transactions are conducted after weeks, sometimes months of a long sales process from initial interest to an order being placed, so small and medium sized businesses have often ignored this approach in favour of other tried and tested marketing methods that have served them well in the past.
Account based marketing, as an approach, can be inspirational and motivating for a smaller sales team or those selling a product that doesn't typically rely on account based selling.The key factors in successful ABM are:
- Identifying companies or groups with a need for your product, or who have a problem your product can solve (even if they're not aware of your solution, or even that they have a problem).
- Identifying which of these companies is in a position to buy.Looking at their accounts on Companies House can help, as does reading their company news page or Twitter feed to get clues on their direction.
- Identifying the key players in the purchase decision, and connecting your product or service back to the basic needs of their position – often what you're selling will make a difference at every level of the company so by being able to demonstrate how you can help make things easier in sales, technology, research, marketing and delivery departments you'll get a buy-in from each of these, strengthening the chance of a sale.
- Tailoring marketing collateral which appeals to these factors.Think about the best format for the information and the target audience – a product demonstration in a video is much more engaging than a printed guide although both can be useful.
- Having a single point of contact at your company who has the people skills to effectively deal with queries while building a relationship, and who can turn these into opportunities to sell the product and/or extra features.
As we have said, this is the approach that is usually used by B2B companies selling to large accounts, who can justify the return on investment from a profitable account; with a long lasting relationship and the opportunity for up-selling it is worth the effort. The spirit of this approach can be used by smaller businesses to create a more personalised sales experience that makes the customer feel valued and understood.
Return on investment is vital here, because ABM is most worthwhile when aimed at high value accounts. The spirit of ABM can be worked into your marketing approach at every level, no matter the size of your company or the industry you are in.It can also be incredibly effective for sole traders who only need a few high value customers.
Join us in part 2 where we look at how ABM can be applied.
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