Developing your account-based marketing (ABM) strategy while keeping your brand advocates in mind will ensure your next ABM campaign is a success.
Combining the two gives you the best of both worlds: the targeting power of ABM, and the ability to leverage your advocates’ personal connections and stories.
But how do you do it? Here are the steps to follow to make sure that you can develop the strongest ABM campaign possible with the help of your advocates. (And an example of how we incorporate advocates into our ABM campaigns.)
Step 1: Define your goals
As with any new initiative, you need to start by defining your goals. Do you want to:
- Get new business?
- Connect with more decision-makers in either existing or prospective accounts?
- Cross-sell or upsell in existing accounts?
Each of these requires different messaging and content, and engages your advocates in various ways, so be sure everyone on your team is clear about where you’re going.
Step 2: Gather your resources
Account-based marketing requires a shift in focus from “getting more leads” to “getting the best-fit leads.” It may take time for you to find your way and understand how to best allocate your resources if you’re used to the traditional lead generation mindset. If you have a small team, start by dedicating a portion of their time to ABM and advocacy, and the rest to traditional lead gen activities. (Here’s another example of how we divided up the work for one of our campaigns.)
Be sure to work closely with your sales team from the get-go so they can help you better understand and identify your most promising net-new accounts. Finally, bring in customer success reps so they can provide target upsell/cross-sell accounts with extra special attention.
Step 3: Identify your target accounts
Taking a look at your goals, identify specific accounts you’d like to target for new business, or existing accounts for increased revenue. If you’re looking for new business, there are platforms that can help you identify accounts. However, aligning closely with your sales team and asking your advocates for referrals will result in even stronger targets.
Remember: The secret to getting great referrals is to be proactive. Instead of hoping that referrals come from anywhere, ask your advocates for referrals to your targeted accounts—or, better yet, ask them to introduce you to specific people at those accounts.
Step 4: Get to know your target accounts
Do your research and gather data about your target accounts so you can provide them with personalized content that will capture their attention. Sales reps and advocates are invaluable resources for getting to know your prospects better.
Advocates can help by:
- Providing insights through personal connections they have within your target accounts
- Filling you in on industry or vertical information related to your target accounts
- Giving you a better understanding of their own buying process (What motivated them to buy your product? Who were the key decision-makers? Which messaging resonated most with them?)
Step 5: Deliver account-specific interactions
Your advocates can help you develop customized experiences for your targeted accounts by reaching out to them personally to connect, or providing testimonials and recommendations to include in your content.
“Account-based marketing relies on ‘surrounding’ contacts with content and experiences,” says Joe Chernov, VP of Marketing at InsightSquared. “Advocates are key to this strategy because the content they produce and experiences they convey are inherently more trustworthy than what the vendor says about itself.”
Step 6: Keep your advocates involved throughout the buying cycle
“Together, account-based marketing and advocate marketing are the new social selling,” says Meagen Eisenberg, CMO at MongoDB. “It’s powerful when your advocates have warm relationships with your target accounts.”
If your advocates helped introduce you to your target account, keep them in the loop at every stage. They may be able to notify you if the deal starts to go south, or if there’s a detractor in the account.
Step 7: Generate more advocates
Advocacy is a virtuous cycle, and if you’ve navigated through the previous steps with the help of your advocates, you’re well on your way to developing brand new advocates in your targeted accounts (which are now customers)!
“Account-based marketing and advocate marketing are about creating a relationship with prospects,” says Daniel Gaugler, VP of Marketing at PFL. “If ABM is done correctly, that leads to your customers becoming advocates.”
Keep these new advocates engaged by finding out what motivates them, and then do little things to help them reach their personal goals.