If your organization is practicing account-based marketing (ABM), you’re well aware that you need a deep knowledge of the companies you’re targeting before you activate any marketing programs. From recent press to industry trends, your marketing and sales teams need to know their target accounts as well as they know their own product. But company information is just one part of the ABM equation. Without an equal understanding of the buyer personas within your target accounts, your demand generation marketing efforts won’t be able to effectively permeate the organizations you spend so much time researching.
Looking to increase target account conversions at the top of the funnel? Try optimizing your persona marketing strategy with these four tips:
1. Select one vertical within your target account list.
One of the biggest mistakes marketers make when building ABM persona plays is to expand multiple verticals at once. According to CEB, the average B2B contract involves 7 stakeholders in the purchasing decision. (Okay, the number is actually 6.8, but how can you only involve ⅘ of that last person?) The larger the average contract value (ACV), the greater the chance even more stakeholders will be involved in the decision-making process. Your organization needs to understand how every persona plays a role in the deal.
Select the focus vertical with the highest ACV to give yourself ample lead time to develop and improve your persona marketing tactics.
2. Identify your champion, influencer, and decision maker.
Another important reason to start with one group of industry personas is that no one target job title fits all verticals. For example, although PFL generally sells to marketers at all of our target accounts, someone with a marketing title at a B2B tech company may have the same responsibilities as someone with a broker engagement or audience solutions title at a health insurance company.
Interview existing customers within your focus vertical to understand their roles and responsibilities within the organization, what other titles you may need to target, and how departments are structured. From there, use a data enrichment or lead-to-account mapping tool (such as Demandbase, ZoomInfo, Terminus, or others) to build additional contacts within your target accounts and map each title to champion, influencer, and decision maker personas.
- Champion: Your champion is the individual who is passionate about the value your solution has to offer and will advocate on behalf of your solution to influencers and decision makers.
- Influencer: An influencer is any contact who has a vested interest in the outcome of the buying decision and will provide critical input during the buying process.
- Decision maker: The decision maker persona is most likely the purchaser within the buying process.
3. Tailor your multichannel messaging to each persona.
Now comes the fun part: building persona plays. Now that you have a thorough understanding of the org placement and pain points of multiple personas within your target accounts, develop a multichannel plan that targets each persona at the right time with the right messaging. The most successful persona plays include 4 to 6 channels, so incorporate both online (email, social media) and offline (direct mail, phone calls) efforts to maximize engagements.
Side note: if you’re concerned about targeting personas at their home addresses, we’ve outlined preferred address tips that work so you can keep the multichannel goodness going.
Give each persona a unique call to action that’s relevant to their role in the deal. For example, if you know that your champions are likely to take action on their own (by filling out a web form or attending a hosted virtual event, for example), incentivize them to bring decision makers into the deal. If you struggle to engage a different department of influencers, run a “do this, get this” campaign to get them to take a meeting with your team.
4. Establish your follow-up strategy and desired next steps if the conversion isn’t created.
Not every persona within your target account needs to be contacted at once. In fact, it’s often a good idea to hold back on contacting certain influencers or champions in case they can help move the deal forward in a later stage or if your first contact attempts stall out. Regardless of when you plan to run a persona play, make sure you’re targeting those contacts with “always on” efforts (like ABM awareness ads or email nurture) and defining a clear follow-up strategy. With PFL, you’ll be notified within 15 minutes of a package landing regardless of when and what persona it’s sent to, so you can reach out at the perfect time.
ABM is all about creating a focused connection with your target accounts and incorporating persona-based marketing into your strategy will make it more human. Looking for more tips to humanize your ABM with online and offline channels? Check out the Tactile Marketing ABM Playbook and learn how direct mail can make your prospect relationships even stronger.