Using Account Based Marketing (ABM) to Improve Sales – Pt 2
Welcome back to our look at account based marketing. We're going to look at how it applies in a hypothetical example: a sporting goods retailer/distributor.
If you're selling sporting goods you don't want to spend time and effort into personally marketing a pack of 3 tennis balls to a single customer, but if you're looking to sell a range of tennis ball machines to schools, fitness centres and tennis clubs then it's worth putting in the hours.
In this example you might think that approaching these three client types can use the exact same approach, but this is where personalisation for each account is key. Your school customers want it to be easy to use and keep clean, and not need regular servicing.They'll likely need a machine that has a range of speeds at the slower end for PE lessons.
A fitness centre is more likely to want a machine which comes with a service and maintenance package to keep the machine running smoothly for their users. One which is remote controlled might be useful, but will they get a spare remote if a user accidentally pockets it?Will it be used by tennis coaches, or is it just for members? The answer to these questions shows you what to promote in your sales pitch.
Your tennis club customers are likely to be interested in the higher performance aspects of the machine, and they will be interested in ones which don't need reloading too often, to allow aspiring pros to keep practising without breaking their flow. We can see that even with something as simple as a tennis ball machine with a single function, each type of customer needs a different approach because they all want different things from the machine.
When pitching your marketing message to these hypothetical buyers, you need to know who is going to be using the machine. It's no good talking to the head of year 8 unless they're also the head of the sports department; similarly it's no use talking to the reception staff of a tennis club unless they're also high up in the coaching team. You need to be talking to the people who have a say in the purchase decision, and those who can influence it.If a tennis club has a high profile player as a member, then talking to them is perfect. Equally, if a fitness club gains more members by having more equipment, then speaking to the membership and marketing managers about the benefits of having the machine is also worthwhile, but they're less interested in the speed of the machine than the coach or end user, so you still need to tailor your message to their interests.
The ABM approach can be used to inform your wider-reach advertising campaigns, to help tailor messages to the right people at the right time; and the information gleaned from the process can be used to improve your wider marketing on every platform – an often overlooked part of marketing is listening to customer feedback and analysing their behaviour.
Using the sporting goods shop selling tennis balls as an example, they might create a campaign to sell multipacks of tennis balls to different end users. There is the obvious – tennis players, but there are also people who buy them to throw for their dog, to use on the bottom of walking frames and sticks, and even to use for deep tissue massage.It's not worth individually targeting these users with a personal campaign, but you can use the spirit of ABM to create marketing material tailored to each type of end user.
If you're finding yourself waiting for the phone to ring after you've launched a campaign it could be that you need to change your approach to a more personalised, ABM inspired one. We know that B2B marketing has taken cues from B2C marketing in recent years, and appealing to your customers in a personal way is a large part of this; ABM takes this personal approach further into building a lucrative business relationship.
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