When building an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy, it’s important to do your research first. Fortunately, there are breakthrough companies featuring key thought leaders in account-based marketing tips, like Terminus’ Sangram Vajre, DemandGen’s David Lewis, and Mark Stouse, of Proof Analytics. Fortunately for me, I was able to glean insights firsthand from these experts, plus several more, at PFL’s Big Sky: Big Ideas conference.
As PFL’s new Demand Generation Marketing Manager, I couldn’t have picked a more ideal week to start my job. This invitation-only user conference was the perfect way to get my feet wet with PFL’s account-based-marketing strategy. From the thoughtful guest details—the uber-trendy hotel, the mouthwatering bison steak dinner, the branded butter mints (seriously, I stole about 50 of them)—to the candid testimonials from PFL customers like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Medtronic, the entire conference was perfectly executed and thoroughly educational.
For those of you who weren’t able to attend: I’m sorry. But if you missed out, here are six account-based-marketing tips from Big Sky: Big Ideas that all marketing pros can apply to their roles today:
1. Internal sales and marketing buy-in is essential when building a cohesive ABM strategy. Aligned sales and marketing organizations achieve, on average, 19% faster revenue growth. But when instituting a complex strategy like ABM, your team may be overwhelmed by the changes needed in process, reporting, and messaging. Heidi Bullock, from Engagio, cited change management between sales and marketing teams as a key step in building an account-based marketing strategy. To navigate this shift, look for ways to motivate your sales team with ABM efforts. Jessica Fewless, from Demandbase, suggested understanding the compensation structure of your sales staff to create initiatives that they can actively use to boost their metrics (and bottom line).
2. ABM process is important, but it’s functionless without a fundamental market fit. Prayag Narula, from LeadGenius, spoke about the importance of a message-market fit when building out a scalable ABM strategy. He cited Square’s hypervigilance when identifying microsegments, or groups of companies and buyers who share highly similar firmographic or role-based qualities, for their marketing campaigns (which paid off to the tune of 7X share growth). When identifying the ideal client profile (ICP) for your ABM strategy, look at trends among your active opportunities and closed won deals. When you deeply understand the common traits of companies most likely to buy your product, you can better tailor your messaging to specific pain points of target buyers with those organizations.
3. Tactile marketing can ramp up account-based efforts, but not without a relevant message. PFL CEO Andrew Field launched the conference with an overview of the company’s mission and product roadmap, plus a tour of PFL’s production facilities. During the tour, I got to check out tactile marketing campaigns from several PFL clients. It was clear that these campaigns were successful because the marketers were thoughtful about timing a relevant mail piece with a friction point in the lives of their future customers’ (not prospects — you’re welcome Sangram), not just because they sent them something free. Marketers are more skeptical than ever about finding the catch in your ABM efforts, so spend the time upfront identifying your key personas so they don’t toss your mailer in the trash.
4. Listen, learn, and THEN engage. When learning more about your future customers’ buying habits, it can be tempting to build an entire ABM campaign around the first stat you read or first customer interview you review. But Matthew Zilli, from Marketo, shared in his session that it’s important to spend as much time as possible understanding the pain points, habits and key performance indicators for your target buyer before creating your engagement strategy. Due to the multi-functional (and slightly time- consuming) nature of account-based marketing, it’s essential to educate yourself upfront. Send a short survey to current, future, and past customers to understand what they struggle with and what messaging resonates with them. And don’t forget to follow up with a thoughtful thank you gift!
5. Innovation requires diversity. One of my favorite messages of the day was from Peter Coffee, VP for strategic research at Salesforce, who spoke about trends in customer engagement and the importance of diversity when building game-changing experiences. Like creating sales and marketing alignment, it’s essential to bring in a variety of perspectives for an improved ABM strategy. Try creating a focus group within your organization to emphasize continuous improvement on marketing efforts. Don’t just invite senior leadership to this meetup; you won’t understand the key sticking points in your ABM strategy unless you also include people who have their feet on the ground, like BDRs, customer success managers, and account executives.
6. Create immersive storytelling experiences to build a personal relationship between your prospect and your brand. David Lewis spoke about the power of immersive marketing in his keynote, which also included scientific research around what neurons are engaged when consuming an effective story. PFL’s tactile marketing offerings are a great way to create a lasting impression with your future customers. For example, when I interviewed for my role at PFL, my recruiter remarked that he wanted to improve his time management skills. After the call, I mailed him a desk organizer with a small thank-you note. He messaged me later to tell me how thoughtful the gift was and that he had shared it with the hiring managers for my role. Whether your goal is closing a deal or interviewing for a job, your interactions will resonate even more with a multi-channel approach.
For more account-based marketing tips, download PFL’s Account-Based Marketing Playbook, which features battle-tested plays for each stage of the buying journey.