Part 3: 5 Account Based Marketing Strategies to Engage Leads and Target Accounts

It’s May 2020 and the idea of an in-person event finding its way (back) into your marketing program seems like a distant dream. No problem.

Despite that, here’s something I know every single reader has today: Raw, not yet qualified leads and/or a list of target accounts you seek to engage (and hopefully sell to). Regardless of when events can play a viable role in your marketing program again, you still have leads to generate and pipeline to grow today.

I’ve always felt like Account Based Marketing (ABM) plays a role in all B2B marketing programs. For some organizations, that could mean a very elaborate and defined go-to-market strategy while for others it might mean using some ABM basics on a select few target accounts. There is no right or wrong approach here. The key is to try new concepts and measure the impact. These learnings will help your marketing efforts improve quarter after quarter. Building off previous blogs in this No Events Series, below are five ABM strategies to penetrate target accounts, boost pipeline and revenue growth, and ultimately support your sales team,  broken down by funnel stage.

Top of Funnel

Most of us are familiar with ABM and top of funnel marketing staples like paid search, paid social, and direct mail etc. These tactics should be part of your ongoing top of funnel marketing efforts. That said, here’s a few other tactics you might not be using which could support account penetration and lead engagement:

  • LinkedIn 2nd degree Connections: know someone who knows your target audience? Ask for an introduction – a warm introduction beats a cold one every time.
  • If webinars/online events are part of the initial Lead Generation strategy, have the appropriate Sales Rep/BDR connect with the lead in advance of the event.

Middle of Funnel

The primary objective for middle of funnel leads is to properly transition the lead from marketing to sales. This works both ways – for the sales rep to know as much about the lead’s needs and journey to date as well as making sure the prospect knows who his/her primary sales contact is. For most organizations once this handoff is complete, marketing tactics take a backseat to the sales process the sales rep intends to run. Here are a few tactics that can enhance the overall prospect experience (note: our recommendation is for marketing and sales to agree and align on these initiatives – messaging, timing, etc.):

  • Trigger unique display and retargeting ads with key messaging related to the sales cycle and, if possible, specific product positioning.
  • Run and distribute educational sessions (ie. valuable industry/product thought leadership) either online via web conferencing (Zoom, WebEx, GoToMeeting, etc.) or even direct mail packages.
  • If you are considering running an online event at middle of bottom of funnel (ie. a high value stages), you could consider setting up a “lunch and learn” system where food or coffee could be delivered to the prospect in advance via a food delivery service like UberEats to incentivize participation (note: obviously cost considerations must be made here).
  • Create a marketing asset portal specific to that prospect and sales cycle (bonus points if you can identify a way to scale this concept) and continually add case studies, blogs, whitepapers/ebooks, videos and more to it throughout the sales cycle. A second step would feature an email marketing nurture campaign to continually promote the asset portal. Finally, it would be ideal to have the landing page url incorporate the company name in this kind of way:
  • Have your sales lead connect with other members of your prospect’s team by email, phone or LinkedIn (for example, if you sell to Marketing Departments, connect with various roles within that organization’s marketing group that would support and potentially use your offering).

Bottom of Funnel

While middle of funnel sees marketing and sales switch roles (sales begins to take a larger role in supporting the lead-to-customer journey), bottom of funnel sees marketing take an even smaller, supporting role in the journey. Marketers: that’s a good thing. At this stage of the journey it’s a 1 to 1 relationship between the prospect and sales. Every email and communication is highly tailored to the prospect’s unique needs. However, as noted in the previous stage, these concepts should be done in concert with the sales rep and the process they are running. Here are a few tactics and ways marketing can support bottom of the funnel sales:

  • Marketing and sales can get in front of reference checks by offering its prospects meetings with existing customers either virtually or by phone. Offers and levels of coordination could be done using email marketing and meeting booking software among other tools.
  • If possible and relevant for your offering/services, create an ROI calculator on a website/landing page and track usage for prospects at the appropriate sales stage. This could be part of the asset portal mentioned above.
  • Have executives within your organization reach out to and connect with executives of your prospects organization.

Customer Upsells & Cross-Sells

We all know the journey doesn’t end once the prospect becomes a customer. We’ve spoken before about marketing’s responsibilities extending into customer experiences too. ABM frameworks can absolutely be used within a customer upsell or cross-sell initiative. Doing this allows your organization to expand the relationship and value for your customers while driving new sales and higher average annual revenue (AAR). Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

  • Offer personalized use cases of how new products/services would integrate with existing products and services via email or direct mail. To note: you know (and potentially track) more about your customers than prospects so use that to your advantage in these communications!
  • Position trial offering(s) of new products/services to the core contacts within your customer accounts.
  • Ask for introductions or referrals to other departments or subsidiary companies using a combination of emails and landing pages.

Customer Advocates

This one is a bit of a stretch, but hear me out. ABM, like any other marketing initiative, is goal or conversion driven. In this example, we’re shifting what the conversion is. In this case, it’s identifying which of your customers could be the best advocates for your organization. These examples work best for organizations with a high number of customers where knowing success stories and use cases becomes too difficult.

  • Automate distribution/collection of NPS/Feedback surveys.
  • Use customized landing pages to obtain quotes, unique product uses or to identify interest in case study participation.
  • Use platform/product updates to identify your most engaged customers via scoring on product updates and/or tool logins. From there, you could prioritize those contacts to be part of an initial Customer Advisory group.

Certainly Account Based Marketing is more than a “one stage” trick for marketing to use. If adopted properly, ABM can be scaled across your whole organization to truly support the lead-to-customer journey. Furthermore, ABM can support greater lead generation or account penetration in light of in-person events not being part of today’s marketing mix.

If your marketing funnel could use additional Account Based Marketing support, contact us now. We’d love to help!