Firstly, Account-Based Marketing turns the traditional form of B2B Marketing on its head.
So, instead of the traditional marketing funnel where you:
- Attract Leads
- Nurture Leads
- Score Leads
Account-Based Marketing starts with identifying the key accounts for a business, then personalising and engaging your comms, then building relationships.
This makes sense as it’s much more closely aligned to the sales process at a medium business to Enterprise level. It’s also inclusive of the inbound process but not ruled by it. I mean, what do you do when the customers that are most engaged with your brand (the ones downloading the white papers and attending your events) aren’t the customers you can actually sell to?
- They’re not the right size (too big or too small)
- The product or service doesn’t meet their needs
- Financial considerations (affordability or contractual issues)
Therefore most businesses will identify the accounts first and then move through the lead nurturing components of their marketing strategy.
The sales conversion process in B2B is an interesting one. For some products and services, it can be complex, involving a time period of years in some cases, often multiple levels of decision-makers. (from the technical level to the C Suite) and a RFP/RFT process. Not only that, it’s been said that it takes an average of 8 contacts *just* to get an initial meeting. Of course, it is much more to get the sale. So once you have identified your target customers, how can you contact them?
Common methods involve:
- Cold Calling
- Using the Advanced Search function on LinkedIn and connecting with them
- LinkedIn products such as Sales Navigator
- Demonstrating value to your key customers through awesome targeted content
- A clever email strategy
- Meeting them in a warm, relaxed environment like one of our events
Of course! This blog was always going to be a shameless plug for our business but if it takes an average of 8 contacts to even meet your decision-maker, you can cut to the chase quickly by asking us if they are on the attendance list to attend one of our events.
In a previous life as a BDM, I have spent more than my fair share of time in the reception area of a business. Once I had an appointment booked with a Decision Maker only to be told that my contact is out and definitely did not have an appointment booked with me and it’s all shades of awkward. Similarly, I’ve had experience heading to a networking event with the hope that the right Decision Maker would show up.
When it comes to the 8 contacts you need to make to meet your Decision Maker, you should test and learn from trialing a variety of methods.
Look, we know that face-to-face isn’t as flashy as designing and building an amazing inbound content strategy but…well…it works.
From a CPL (cost per lead) perspective, many of our Vendors have advised us that our events are their lowest-cost channel and often their best source of leads.
Plus, it makes sense to test a range of touchpoints (inbound strategy, outbound strategy, your own events, attending other events, etc) and to measure their effectiveness.
If you would like to chat with us about how we could add value to your Sales and Marketing plans, book a coffee with Andrea.