For sales and marketing teams concerned with the quality of their leads, Account-Based Marketing seems like everything they’ve been looking for. Focusing your resources on a targeted set of accounts and delivering orchestrated campaigns is the best way to maximize your sales team’s time, align sales and marketing and easily measure your goals and success.
The challenge many businesses face is how to deliver these new ABM campaigns.
You’ve identified your target accounts and the relevant contacts within those companies. Now what? Without a solid ABM strategy, you’ll probably revert back to simply emailing, retargeting and cold-calling them in the same manner you always have. We adopted ABM precisely because these strategies were seeing such a low rate of success.
Your account-based marketing strategy requires a more proactive and targeted approach from your sales and marketing teams. To achieve this, you need to know more than company names and job titles.
Instead, you can collect behavioral data from social media networks to contact your target accounts at the right time with the right message. According to DemandGen, 55% of B2B buyers use social networks as part of the purchasing process.
Here are a few challenges you’ll run into when adapting your company to ABM and how you can use behavioral data to turn those challenges into advantages:
Sales Doesn’t Know the Right Time to Contact Leads
Traditionally, sales reps would go down their list of leads and grind it out until they just happen to contact someone who had a need for your product or service at that time. With account-based marketing, sales reps are now given much more qualified leads, increasing the likelihood that they will be talking to the decision maker at a company who is the right fit.
Unfortunately, this still doesn’t tell them where they are in the buying cycle or if they have an immediate need you can fulfill.
If the lead has visited your website or engaged with your emails you can score things like whitepaper downloads, blog views and email clicks, but that only applies to a small percent of your targeted accounts. Internally at Socedo, we found that only 7% of our marketing prospects were making it to our website or engaging with our emails.
Using third party behavioral data, you can score target account leads by identifying specific indicators:
- Clicks on social content – Depending on what type of content they clicked on this could indicate the same interest as an email or paid ad click.
- Retweets – A public endorsement of your content indicates they either found value in the content or believe their audience will.
- Follows – Moving the relationship forward with a follow is a good indication the lead is interested in learning more about your business.
- DM or Public Reply – The two types of replies are not created equally (with DMs being more valuable) but any response to your engagement is an indication a lead wants to move the conversation forward.
- Use of Keyword – This can often be your most valuable source of information because it doesn’t require them to engage directly with you. Even using specific keywords in their own social content could indicate a potential pain point or interest in your solution.
Reliable and actionable data can be found by tracking your leads on social media where each account’s daily activity can help you determine what their main pain points are and how likely they are to be ready to purchase. Only then do you pass them to your sales team so they can contact each lead at the right time.
Finding the Right Target Accounts is Harder Than Ever
When you ask a sales rep who they are looking to contact at a specific company, the only precise answer is “the decision maker.” If you’re in the tech industry you’ll probably hear something like, “Well, sometimes it’s the CTO, but it could also be the CIO and in some companies it’s the VP of Engineering.”
As companies grow and evolve and people take on responsibilities outside the traditional scope of their position; roles and job titles are constantly changing. When you’re as likely to run into a “Head Innovation Pirate” as you are a CMO, job titles can no longer be relied on to help you find the decision maker within a specific account.
Using behavioral data, you can find the right target accounts and the right person to speak to at those accounts based on the topics they are interested in, and not just their job titles. Here are a few ways this data can enrich your target account profiles:
- If you learn that the social profiles of CIOs and similarly positioned decision makers often include keywords like “technology evangelist” or “operations manager” you can add those to your lead scoring to identify leads you may have otherwise missed.
- Tracking follower counts can be a good indication of who the most influential people are at a given company.
- Keywords in your lead’s own social content can give you an indication of what their main priorities are, which will better inform you of their main responsibilities at your target company.
Maintaining Your Existing Customer Base
While account managers should always be in tune to a customer’s needs, clients aren’t always open about those needs until there is a problem or until you’ve missed an opportunity. That’s why 84% of companies using account-based marketing say it provides significant benefits to retaining and expanding existing client relationships.
Rather than solely focusing on your point of contact at a company, you can maintain a view of the entire account. By tracking your client account and its key members on social media you can easily identify cues on when a current account is ready to grow or might be at risk of churn.
For a successful account-based marketing strategy, companies generally need three things:
- Continuous sales-marketing communication
- Organization-wide awareness of target accounts and ongoing sales cycles
- Intelligence gathering
Most companies understand the need for the first two and support their efforts with account-based marketing software such as Marketo, DiscoverOrg and Terminus. Unfortunately, not enough emphasis is put on revamping their intelligence gathering strategies. With the right behavioral data, this can greatly improve how your entire ABM strategy operates.
For more insights into how your organization can improve the targeted and distributing of qualified leads, check out our recent webinar, “How to Handle Your Sales Team’s Objections on Lead Quality.”