Account-Based Marketing: New Customers are Hiding Among Your Current Customers


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Most marketing folks are familiar with the fact that it costs six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. But what about the cost of acquiring a new customer within an organization you’re already working with?

Consider this: Your team does great work for one division of a large software company built around a product for restaurants. But that software company has multiple divisions beyond this one: It also makes software for schools, software for gyms, software for retail shops and more. Think of all the sales potential across these divisions. How can you harness that potential revenue?

Here’s your answer: Account-based marketing, or ABM, is the approach that helps you get noticed across many divisions. It helps you grow revenue by adding value to existing accounts. Here’s the why and how behind this methodology.

Increase Alignment

As marketers, we love our customers. Account-based marketing offers a way to capitalize on success within one division and use that to promote your services to all the other ones. The problem lies in the fact that most people are simply not doing this. Their sales teams may try to set up conversations with additional divisions, but how does marketing help? The truth is, it oftentimes doesn’t because a strategy is simply not in place.

If your sales and marketing departments aren’t talking to each other, you’re losing out on sales. You can combat this by linking up internally to focus on expanding your reach inter-departmentally within each customer’s company. As the marketing team, this means increasing brand awareness inside the target company so key decision-makers already know who you are when your sales team reaches out to them. For example, consider allocating part of your online advertising spend toward targeting IPs of the companies you want awareness within. This way, your digital media will be showing up in front of the right people. You can also begin tracking lead conversion, which can be very important for determining the efficacy of your marketing efforts.

Provide Support to Sales

Beyond these tactics, your sales team needs your backing. Help them to package their offering so it can be replicated across departments. Formalize the process and the offer, and then spend some time creating the actual collateral they’ll need. A lot of salespeople will try to handle making these items on their own, and it’s a waste of their time (not to mention usually a poorer representation of your brand than what marketers would create). Once you invest some time and money into making effective marketing pieces, you may be surprised by how quickly you can repurpose them for future account-based marketing initiatives.

Now What?

So now that you understand the logic (and potential) behind account-based marketing, how do you jump in? Here are four quick best practices to get started.

1. Identify the targets

Your sales team will have accounts that they will want to grow outside of one division. Start by building your target account list within the division you already work with, but also consider ranking the potential of each account with a score. Criteria such as similarity to other fully adopted customers, viability of your current internal champion, and strategic alignment with the target company’s vision and your product will help to shorten the list to a few high impact accounts to focus on.

2. Find the common thread of what connects your product to the direction of the company.

If you target more than one department within an organization with your account-based marketing, there’s the added benefit of not having to speak about the benefits of your product to an entirely new audience. That gives you a huge benefit of being able to shape the value proposition of your product directly to their needs. Since you are probably working with some part of the target account already, try to leverage what your internal champion knows to help your campaign messaging. You can also tie your campaign message into statements the company’s leadership is making about what to expect in upcoming quarters. If you can position your product to remove obstacles to the path the CEO wants to take, roadblocks to your expansion — such as price — become less important.

3. Anticipate and co-orchestrate each action for the sales and marketing team

In other words: Be ready. Similar to an integrated campaign that you might do for mass lead generation, you will be well served to document your communications plan for each stage of the buying process. How you devise your ABM campaign will vary greatly depending on the company, but a typical flow might contain banner ads targeted toward the organization. It may also include a direct marketing vehicle (online and/or offline), which you deploy to more qualified contacts, as well as collateral tools to support sales touch points. Make sure you have these items in place before you launch your campaign. You should also make sure you agree on roles and responsibilities for sales and marketing teams related to each part of the buyer conversation.

4. Show them what’s working on the other side of the building

Many large companies run each division as mini-companies that are responsible for their own P&Ls. In these situations, organizations may not be sharing information between divisions. As part of your campaign, make sure you promote the heck out of what is working in the division you are already in. You may think everyone in your target account already knows about your success, but chances are the decision-maker in the new target department hasn’t heard. Focus on communicating how your product produced tangible results such as ROI, productivity gains, and customer satisfaction.

Mark Yeager
Mark Yeager leads organizations to achieve high growth through proven marketing methodologies as the Partner and Chief Strategy Officer of Yeager Marketing. With over 20 years of marketing expertise with companies like iLinc Communications and Pragmatic Marketing, Yeager helps clients define marketing strategy based on business objectives and measurable results.


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