When I think about hitting a mark, the Paleolithic sport of archery often comes to mind.
Organizations deploying an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy are much like the toxophilite (“lover of the bow” in Ancient Greek). You’re carefully aiming for a target to hit. In your case, it’s a key account. When you miss the mark, it costs your company time, money, and, in some cases, the account.
Many ABM adopters boast of seeing great returns on investment (ROI).
One survey found that 77% of respondents were achieving a 10% or greater return on investment from ABM compared to other forms of marketing. And close to half (45%) of respondents were “achieving more than double the ROI from ABM.”
For those of you not seeing this kind of success, your ABM could be missing the mark for one or more of these 5 reasons:
1. NOT ALIGNED WITH BUYERS NEEDS
If your revenue operations aren’t aligned with your buyers’ needs, then your aim is off. You must build your ABM around your key accounts and know what buyers are searching for. If not, you’ll miss your mark.
We are living in the customer experience economy where buyers are over-informed.
They aren’t responsive to generic marketing blasts and persuasive content. In fact, when they finally engage with a company, they give very little mind-share to sales reps.
According to Gartner, research finds that when B2B buyers are considering a purchase‚ they spend only 17% of that time meeting with potential suppliers. When buyers are comparing multiple suppliers‚ the amount of time spent with any one sales rep may be only 5% or 6%.
When you get your “30 seconds in the spotlight”, what message will you deliver?
Here are a few tips to prepare you for addressing your buyers’ needs:
- Do your research to know what your buyers’ are in the market for
- Be conversant with what your competition offers
- Know your key differentiator(s) to fulfill the buyer’s need in a way others cannot
Be as informed about your buyers as they are about you.
2. NOT ALIGNED WITH BUYERS TIMING
You’ve heard the old saying, “Timing is everything.” No one can pretend to know the answer to great timing. Timing is very tricky.
With buying committees that involve 6 to 10 (or more) decision-makers, the buying process is not linear. It looks more like a Minecraft maze.
Because the buyers committee journey involves several stakeholders with varying opinions, it’s hard to gauge the “right” time to share your offer.
Focus on what you can control. First, know your buyer’s needs. Second, find the right place to insert yourself within the buying cycle to offer your solution. Third, make their customer experience feel seamless and do some of the thinking for them.
Consider where they are in their decision-making process and the emotional triggers involved prior to engagement.
Here are a few thing to keep in mind:
- Be proactive. Don’t wait until your buyer is bogged down with information overload. Get in there as early as you can to ease their customer experience.
- Be prescriptive. Clearly explain what you know about their needs and prescribe an unbiased recommendation accordingly.
- Be perceptive. Enterprise decisions tend to be rational; however, there’s typically some level of intuition in every buying decision. Find a way to appeal to it when possible. We’re all human.
3. DISCONNECTED MARKETING AND SALES ENGAGEMENTS
According to Forrester’s findings, “…marketing and sales teams that take an ABM approach together — and spend time maturing their processes and practices around it — can be as many as 6 percentage points more likely to exceed their revenue goals than teams less ABM-advanced.”
Why are sales and marketing disconnected?
According to a DemandGen report, lack of communication was cited by 49% of respondents as the greatest culprit. Broken and flawed processes (43%), as well as sales and marketing being measured by different metrics (40%), rounded out the reasons for the gap between sales and marketing.
In order to get on the same page, schedule weekly time together to go through your key accounts, and put together a cohesive targeting strategy.
4. NOT ENGAGING THE BUYING COMMITTEE
It’s challenging enough to sell to one person, but 10?!
Remember this one thing: they’re looking for a solution. The good news is, you have one! So, engage them.
Approach engagement like a team sport. What tools can you offer the buying committee to help them win?
Before you engage them, do your due diligence:
- Vet the players. A good coach knows each player’s strengths and weaknesses. Visit the buyer’s website and research the players and their roles.
- Map it. Refer to your buyers’ personas and map each player’s journey. I know it sounds labor intensive, but it will help in the long run.
- Consult with sales. Find out who your sales representatives have been in contact with and gain some insights into the buying committee.
- Tweak your message. Tweak your marketing content to address your buyer’s account so that it’s relevant. Also, where possible, personalize it.
Now you’re equipped to address the players; not just one, but as many on the buying committee that you can get to listen. Two (or more) sets of ears are better than one.
5. LACK OF CONFIDENCE AND TRUST FROM BUYERS
Not knowing who your buyers are and what they need, want, and expect causes a lack of confidence and trust.
If you’ve been building your business around individuals, leads, and contacts, you won’t get to know your buyers. To really get to know your buyers, it requires that you map their journey. Here’s a great example done by the Harvard Business Review (HBR).
Three things must also be in place for your business to earn trust and confidence with your buyers.
- Customer-centricity. Your organization must be centered around your customers. This allows you to deep dive into who the players are and what challenges they are facing.
- Account-centricity. This is a word that’s often tossed around. Here at Salesforce it means bringing all accounts into a single account view where your technology, people and processes are unified. This delivers a cohesive experience for our customers.
- Relevant messaging. You can’t have this one without the other two. Getting to know your customers enables you to deliver relevant and personalized content. It shows your customers that you’ve invested time in them.
Your buyers spend time researching your business. Do the same for them.
Hopefully, you’ve identified areas to get your ABM strategy on target. It’s important to identify your key accounts and have the right tools and methods in place to aim for success.
To learn more about ABM, check out The B2B Marketer’s Guide to Account-Based Marketing.