Editor’s Note: If you’d like to learn more about strategies to drive your Account-Based Marketing program, join Nate Skinner, VP of Product Marketing at Salesforce, and Heidi Bullock, CMO of Engagio on July 26 for their webinar presentation Simple and Effective Account-Based Marketing.
B2B marketing is currently being revolutionized by the onset of account-based marketing (ABM). Of course, we’ve heard of marketing being “revolutionized” before, so what’s different about ABM?
The true promise of ABM – deeper engagement at your most valuable target accounts, more cross-selling and up-selling opportunities within your existing accounts, and greater buy-in from all key stakeholders and decision-makers – is the holy grail of marketing. And it is only made possible by creating, developing, and leveraging high-quality account-based content (ABC).
Let’s take a closer look at exactly how to create, manage, and deploy truly effective account-based content.
Personalizing Content Quickly and Effectively With Account-Based Content (ABC)
If traditional marketing is like sardine fishing with a wide net, account-based marketing is spearfishing for whales. It involves profiling and targeting the specific ideal accounts that are most likely to close and are most beneficial to your portfolio. But to target these accounts – and more specifically, to target the multiple key decision-makers and stakeholders at each level of the account that actually influence the decision whether or not to close the deal – you need highly granular specificity and insight into the account’s organization and hierarchy. Essentially, you need good market intelligence data.
With this data, you are able to make ABM plays that are specific and effective. Once you have segmented your buyer personas, you can tailor your messaging and repurpose existing content to resonate with each individual decision-maker. Let’s say you’ve created fantastic content for the CIO of a target account by speaking to their need for security compliance and remote accessibility. Great job! The CIO is engaging with you, and they’re championing your solution. That’s just Step 1.
See, before the account agrees to purchase your wiz bang product or solution, the deal also needs to be approved by the COO, who must also sign off on it and whose priorities, pain points, and requirements are different than those of the CIO. Well, what does the COO care about in his or her daily role? Operational cost and reliability, so you’ve learned. Rather than draft up all new content, you can simply and quickly edit your CIO content to remove mentions of compliance, accessibility, and download speed, and replace them with quick hits about lower cost of ownership, greater solution up-time, and more predictable revenue forecasting. The tone, format, and overall messaging can remain exactly the same; by simply swapping out the benefits highlighted, you can win the support of other key stakeholders by speaking to their needs and their requirements, all without creating brand new content.
So, by the time the proposal reaches the CEO’s desk, both the CIO and the COO have already bought-in individually, and are each in support of your solution.
Cross-Selling and Up-Selling With Account-Based Content (ABC)
The other huge upshot of account-based marketing with account-based content is that it dramatically increases cross-selling and up-selling opportunities within an existing account, broadening your funnel and multiplying your revenue streams. If you can effectively and efficiently run an account-based content strategy by tailoring your content to speak to the needs and pain points of different stakeholders within an account, you can essentially use any one piece of content to market to any department you like.
For example, take a telecommunications solution built for enterprises. Here is the same message, written for different specific buyers within a target account:
For the CIO: “Would you like a more reliable teleworking platform that boosts the productivity of your remote employees and is compatible with all major smartphones?”
For the CFO: “Would you like a telecommunications solution with a lower total cost of ownership and greater ROI than your current solution?”
For the CHRO: “Would you like a teleworking platform that is more intuitive for your employees to use, lowering new-hire attrition and improving employee satisfaction?”
With each pitch, you simply highlight different role-specific benefits within the same messaging framework to improve response rates and engage new cross-selling and up-selling channels. Perhaps your product has available add-ons or service packages that appeal to some departments more than others; now, you can speak to each and every possible opportunity without reinventing the content wheel.
Personalizing Messaging Within a Specific Vertical with Account-Based Content (ABC)
Account-based marketing and account-based content is all about speaking to the highly specific needs of your buyer. Content that addresses their actual, on-the-ground, daily needs is infinitely more effective than content that requires them to imagine how they might apply it to their own roles. The Content Pyramid is a powerful tool to help you tailor your messaging at each level of your account stack, and drastically boost its effectiveness. By beginning with broad content and simply making it more specific as you move up, you can create content for your ABM strategy quickly without designing brand new content each time.
For an example of the Content Pyramid in action, let’s take a theoretical product that automates workflows are more efficient and productive. At the broadest part of your funnel (the part with the least specificity, and the “bottom” of your Content Pyramid), you create content that appeals broadly and speaks to the widest possible audience and applicability of your product. You’ve seen it before. “Our solution can help any business of any size automate their workflows by…” At this level, broad language is desirable and exclusionary language is taboo. This is your wide net, so cast it.
Next, moving up the Pyramid, you begin to make that same content more specific. Identify your target industry verticals and tweak the content accordingly. Let’s imagine you’re pursuing accounts within the healthcare industry. Take that same content from above, but this time, modify it to speak to the realities of this industry. “Our solution can help healthcare providers automate their critical workflows, like billing, appointment booking, and referral fulfillment, by…” This one simple uptick in relevance and specificity increases your content’s resonance by orders of magnitude. Now, your targeted buyer – an operations manager in the healthcare industry dealing with workflow bottlenecks each day – has a tangible image of how your product would make their life easier. Specificity makes it real, and real is powerful in content marketing.
But let’s keep moving up the Pyramid! If you know exactly which accounts are most likely to convert (and you should; this is account-based marketing, after all!), your messaging can and should get even more specific. Let’s keep using our current example. Now, you can say the following: “Our solution can help enterprise-level healthcare providers located in the Pacific Northwest who serve government clients automate their critical workflows, like submitting documentation to the Veterans Administration, scaling insurance payments for thousands of patients, and expediting medical marijuana referral processing, by…”
The goal with good account-based content is always to speak with searing specificity to exactly how your product will help the actual, real people you’re targeting.
Survey-Based Lead Generation: A Home-Run ABC Play
Campaign Stars has developed an enormously effective way to generate powerful account-based content: our Survey-Based Lead Generation play. Here’s exactly how it works. Identify the personas of the accounts you wish to qualify. First, create a simple survey of about three to ten questions. These questions should have sales value to you, things about the respondent’s role at the organization like their pain points, budget, upcoming strategic initiatives, previous experience with similar solutions, etc. Next, incentivize participation in the survey. Professionals are genuinely interested in trends within their industry. By offering free access to the resulting trends report you will be creating with the survey data, as well as a small gift of some kind, you can realize much higher response rates. New, proprietary industry data is a strong compensation.
From there, as customers answer, they qualify themselves. Their answers tell you, in their own words, exactly what their pain points are, what they need help with, what they can spend, and what biases they already have about products like yours. This is precisely the information you need to create the type of specific, resonant ABC we discussed above. Finally, Create and share your new tailored report. Once you’ve gathered a satisfactory amount of information, create an Industry Trends Report and distribute it to your respondents. (But of course, first tailor it along the ABC guidelines above for whichever verticals or stakeholders you are targeting!)
Account-based marketing is the real deal. It just makes sense. And the high-octane fuel your ABM strategy needs is powerful account-based content. Creating that content doesn’t need to be time-consuming and difficult. In fact, it’s as simple as ABC.