Content Marketing World is part of the Informa Connect Division of Informa PLC
This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC’s registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.
Each week on the Content Marketing World blog, we’re going to feature a CMWorld 2020 speaker, one of their blog posts that dives into the topic they’ll be covering at CMWorld, and a few additional articles they’ve written to help you prepare for their session.
Today, we’re keeping the series rolling with Pam Didner, a highly anticipated CMWorld speaker and her Account-Based Marketing workshop that will leverage her extensive sales & marketing knowledge. She’s a staple at both CMWorld and ContentTECH Summit, and we’re always so appreciative of her expertise. Read on!
Sales and marketing. The best of friends, and the worst of foes. Ultimately, both of these teams are responsible for the growth of the company, and yet, we find ourselves in a situation reminiscent of the book, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: a relationship full of tension and friction! But there are ways to make the relationship better. One approach is account-based marketing (ABM).
Frankly, it shouldn’t be that difficult, right? Sales and marketing work in the same company. We share the same business goals. We market and sell the same products. In some organizations, we even report to the same manager or belong to the same group. We should be on the same team. Well, the devil is in the details.
Fundamentally, sales and marketing differ on:
If these concerns and differences are not discussed and addressed between sales and marketing on a timely basis, the misalignment and friction will continue. The key is to rally the teams with the same goals or priorities. ABM is a natural path to align between sales and marketing.
Once you decide on the tier and select accounts, marketers need to create account-specific communications to reach out to the collective individuals of the accounts or specific verticals/industry segments.
The key ingredients of this process are account-specific insights, content planning, and success metrics.
Understanding your target audience and buyer’s journey is essential for any marketing campaigns, and the ABM approach is no exception. For ABM to work, marketers must have a strong knowledge of the target accounts and the collection of individuals that you are going after. You need to build account-specific knowledge. During the account-selection process, sales usually has the information about specific accounts. The information can be broken into five categories:
Attributes about a company, such as size, number of employees, annual revenue, industry vertical, growth, and number of locations.
For marketers: Firmographics can help you to understand the names of the team, organization structure, target individuals’ preferences, pain points, personalities, and more.
An account’s current and future technology (such as tech stack) and its organization environment.
For marketers: Technographics can guide you on messaging and content planning, especially helping you understand the current technology you use and how your company’s technology and products can help them. You may also work with your sales team to identify additional areas where your sales team can provide value.
Behavior indicators showing an intention to buy. For example content downloads and participation in forums or social media.
For marketers: You can gauge the purchase intent with content downloads, website behaviors, email engagement, and marketing-automation data.
The record of interaction with the company—sales, web analytics, CRM, marketing-automation data, and sales-rep activities.
For marketers: You can gather additional account and vertical information from other systems in your company.
Engagement history and experience.
For marketers: Collect additional information by talking to your sales team directly. Use their points of views to validate or invalidate your assumptions. Your job is to study, analyze, and transfer the data into knowledge and insights that you can act on to customize and craft your content planning for the target individuals or verticals.
Once you have a solid grasp of these individuals or cluster of accounts, you can weave their needs into your content customization and you can segment your list and send relevant content to multiple accounts who share similar challenges.
You need to go above and beyond for these individuals, understand their personal tastes and preferences to create outreach exclusively for them. Don’t limit yourself to just content; think of other marketing channels, especially special events and VIP invitations. There must be close communication between sales and marketing. You need to be in the loop for your account teams’ game plans.
For this tier, you target a cluster of accounts with similar technographics, firmographic data, or profiles. For instance, if they use the same tech, fit the same persona, and have the same challenges, you can create a direct-mail campaign with content that speaks to all those accounts with some level of personalization. This ABM approach enables you to apply the same creative idea or the same play to a set of accounts. You can map content based on their purchase journeys or sales-enablement efforts. Understanding the salespeople’s game plan can also help marketing determine the relevant content for this approach.
You can segment your accounts by broader industry segments or verticals. Many marketing organizations already do vertical-specific marketing campaigns as part of their marketing outreach. To make this type of ABM work, you can further segment the accounts or refine your content plan within the same verticals by using data from firmographics, technographics, purchase intent, engagement history, and sales’ input. Even though it’s a one-to-many approach, it’s still important to work closely with the sales team and solicit their feedback on your outbound and inbound marketing communications.
While mapping content to an account or a vertical-specific purchase journey, you may discover that you need to create new content for personalization. It can get expensive to create new content whenever there is a gap or whenever an account requires exclusive personalization. When you discover gaps, you can either create or source content using a content-curation platform such as Curata, PublishThis, Scoop.it, Feedly and more. Personalization often comes from a mix of original and curated content. Arming yourself with account-specific insights and inquiries based on firmographic and technographic data can help you identify a selection of content from which to personalize your outreach.
With a tiered approach, account insights, content knowledge, and mapping, you can craft your marketing-outreach plan using a mix of existing marketing channels. While you may still use the same familiar channels, you can now better decide which channels to dial up or dial down. Marketing has to present the outreach plan to the sales team and help them understand what they will need to do to follow through. Sales should provide feedback to marketing on what channels work for their accounts given their knowledge of their customers or prospects. In addition to sales’ feedback, it’s a matter of budget and resource allocation. Engage contacts on the channels where they are most active, posting the messages and content they want. This table from Uberflip’s blog post provides useful guidance on the channels to use for different tiers of ABM.
ABM requires marketers to work closely with the sales team, a great way to reduce friction between sales and marketing. Since this approach is account-based, the metrics must tie to sales goals: opportunities generated and revenue closed. Sales and marketing need to agree on success metrics in advance. It’s also important to agree on the sources and tools that will be used to track the progress. Often, marketing will track the metrics using marketing automation tools, yet sales pulls information from CRM or other systems. Although the systems may be integrated, the numbers may not be the same. It’s important to identify the tracking source.
Average Customer Value:
There are multiple ways to reduce friction between sales and marketing. ABM is just one of them. Marketing and sales can also work together on customer events or implement a joint co-marketing plan.
The ultimate goal of marketing is to bring in new customers. Pick one initiative and work together. Make an effort—it starts with you.
This post originally appeared on the PamDidner.com
Looking for even more from Pam? Check out these three blog posts that will help you dive deeper into the science of memorable content and prepare you for her CMWorld workshop:
Register today for Content Marketing World 2020, where you’ll hear from 150+ incredible speakers and marketing leaders including Pam Didner. Use SPEAKER100 to save $100 off your pass!