Hard Truths and Helpful Tips About Account-Based Marketing (Part 2)
Today, we’re serving up Part 2 of important highlights from a recent webinar hosted by Kerry Cunningham, our Senior Principal of Product Marketing.
The webinar goes in depth into what matters most for launching an effective ABM program and provides actionable tips for sales and marketing teams. We recommend checking it out, but in the meantime, here are some key takeaways.
Align Marketing and Sales
It’s mission-critical that marketing and sales are on the same page about which accounts to target. “You have to choose which prospects you’re going to pursue,” Kerry said, “and that has to be a joint decision.”
But also according to Kerry, what ultimately matters most is the set of accounts that sales believes it is going to be able to sell into. To marketing teams that can’t seem to come to an agreement with sales, he had this to say: “If you’re delivering opportunities inside accounts that sales does not believe it can sell, it doesn’t matter whether you’re right, it still isn’t going to work.”
It’s important to understand that buyers do their research, and they can learn pretty much anything that they want about your company. With that in mind, you can use buyer behavior to your advantage. From the webinar transcript:
Kerry: “Your job is to enable buyers to make good decisions. We live in a time of unparalleled transparency in B2B. You have to enable them to see exactly what value your solutions can provide and it has to be completely consistent with what you can deliver.”
Engage All Stakeholders
As Kerry mentioned in Part 1 of this series, buyers these days aren’t individuals anymore. They’re groups of people, around 10 or so, and while they might not all be at the table signing the deal, they’re all conducting their own research throughout the buyer’s journey. That doesn’t mean you need unique content to reach all 10 individuals, however. Here’s how you can tackle it instead:
Kerry: “Start with the most important decision maker in your buying team, and then the second most, and then the third most. If you go past that, you’ll probably be well ahead of almost everybody, but you have to be able to support that team and understand what their needs are.”
Determine the Members of Buying Teams
As Kerry mentioned in Part 1, when buyers conduct research, they leave behind digital “breadcrumb trails” across the internet. But how do you take these individual sets of “footprints in the snow” and determine which buyer group they belong to?
The only way to do that is to gaze into what we call the Dark Funnel™. That’s what we call all of the interactions that buyers have with third-party sources of information, social media, and other engagement elsewhere that you can’t see. Within this anonymized data is the information you need to know which company a buyer is part of.
But Kerry says there’s another important piece of the Dark Funnel to consider: “If you are not looking at the anonymous traffic on your website and trying to identify what companies these visitors are coming from, then you have a Dark Funnel. Part of it is right on your own website.”
For sales orgs getting started with ABM, Kerry suggests the following:
- “Take a look at your account-based infrastructure. Now you may not have one. What you may have is marketing automation, some technology to deliver ads into the accounts you’re interested in, and then Salesforce automation. And you may not have much more than that. So one of the things you need to think about first is unmasking the anonymous visitors on your website. That’s the most important thing you can do.”
- “Have you aligned on your ideal customer profile with a sales team? If you haven’t, then immediately go do that.”
- “Do you know if you’re in all of the buying cycles that you could be in? In other words, are there buyers out there who are going to buy something from your competitors and you don’t know about it? If you’re not looking into the Dark Funnel today, then the answer to that question is certainly yes.”
The bottom line is simple: Shining light on the Dark Funnel and the buyer-relevant data it contains is one of the most effective changes your sales team can make in the shift to an ABM approach. Take a closer look at the webinar here.