Account-based marketing: How to map, profile and select your accounts
As a company takes the first step to embark on an ABM strategy, it is critical to ensure that there is a solid foundation in place. Identifying top accounts is the bottom layer of the foundation, and from there comes knowing the key internal players that have the power to buy your offering.
In some cases, sales and marketing teams have solid relationships within their accounts while others have “pie in the sky” accounts that they would love to secure. Relationships and personal goals aside, there is an art to identifying stakeholders within key accounts and taking steps to target the individuals with relevant messages to ultimately close the deal.
But decisions are not always made within the c-suite – there are multiple departments with employees who have a hand in the buying process, and all should be targeted throughout the journey.
Although there are multiple buyers involved, remember that their influence levels are very different. One person may only look at certain factors for users while others are making decisions to solve back-end issues – both important to each department, but one may outweigh the other when it comes to addressing business concerns.
Understanding where the person stands in the company, and how your technology can relieve some of their stresses, can give you the upper hand when mapping out how you’ll speak to your target players.
Here is a helpful framework for outlining the key persona’s:
- Champion - This role is the driver of the project within the account. Likely the department role to gain the most or have the most visibility on the solution you solve.
- Influencer - These are often the hands-on users, and additional stakeholders who will be involved in the use of the solution.
- Economic buyer - The role or roles who owns budget sign off for purchasing.
- Ratifier - These are often roles like security, compliance, or legal that need to have concerns and requirements met for the deal to go through.
It is key to know where these roles fall in your individual account plans to truly understand who has the most impact throughout the buying journey. Personas can consist of a variety of information about them as individuals and them as employees.
- Where are the prospects geographically located, and are they remote or on-site employees?
- Is there a history between your company and the key decision makers?
- How long have you worked with them and have you gained their trust over time?
- What are their unique business challenges and how can you solve them with your technology?
Personalised content is gold when it comes to leveraging ABM to drive pipeline and revenue. Just like data is used in a variety of industries to deliver relevant messages to target audiences, the same is important for ABM strategies.
The relationships and information assets mentioned above may are key but you also need a plan for ongoing education and engagement that align to these key persona’s. How you map out your approach and frequency of touchpoints is also part of the equation.
Once you have you profile information mapped, here are some tips for ongoing engagement with these key persona’s that have worked for us at Radius:
- Leverage Slack to organise internal communication: We set up an ABM Slack integration to share real-time information. A dedicated hashtag alerts our team members to act immediately while Radius is still top of mind for the account contact, and is already a tool loved by sales and marketing departments.
- Talk to the contact like a human, not a bot: Taking the time to understand the person’s background and public-facing attributes build the foundation of a persona. Review their LinkedIn profile and social channels for key pieces of information. Do you have similar colleagues? Are you from the same geographical area or did you recently visit the same location on vacation? People want to talk to people, not someone reading the same sales script during each conversation.
- Take a multichannel approach when engaging with prospects: Multiple touchpoints throughout the buying journey can help drive conversions. Paid ads, email and phone conversations, etc. shows how your offering can fit into their stack, and illustrates the benefits of your solution.
There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to ABM. You may choose to focus on current clients over new prospects, or a combination of the two, but remember that creating personas of stakeholders and mapping out a process for communication is significant to ABM execution.
At the end of the day, your goal is to ensure that the right people are receiving the right messages to help them understand the value that your solution brings to the table – and how it will solve major pain points of the target contact.
Shari Johnston is SVP of marketing at Radius.