Does a content marketing program uncover better target accounts?
Indeed, it’s unlikely that sales teams look at content as a way to identify better account options. Target accounts are about maximizing the opportunity to grow sales and shorten selling cycles. At first glance, content marketing appears to have little to do with identifying the best accounts that maximize revenue opportunities.
But, can a content initiative improve your target account program? Although good programs are well thought out, they don't guarantee results. However, in sales or any discipline, taking steps to improve the odds your process succeeds is essential.
There are numerous situations where a few percentage point improvements in the process can lead to substantially better outcomes.
For example, the National Football League pours endless hours and funds big budgets to scout college players. Yet, less than 30% of first round picks this process identifies, become starters. Financial firms employ highly accomplished financial analysts with robust staffs but less than 20% of mutual funds outperform the S&P 500 Index over a 10 year period. And sales and marketing teams spend hours evaluating internal and external data to determine the best targets. Unfortunately, these efforts only result in a success rate of around 15%.
Of course, you can’t expect perfection. Unforeseen circumstances make flawless outcomes impossible. For example, an injury may prevent a football player from ever taking the field. Investors may withdraw money from a mutual fund forcing the manager to sell assets at an inopportune time. Similarly, when the target account you are about to close is unexpectedly acquired, it derails the outcome.
But even fractional improvements can change the landscape for NFL teams, mutual fund managers and sales organizations. Use these steps to improve your success rate.
How A Content Marketing Program Uncovers Better Target Account Opportunities
Although it won’t help the NFL scouts or Mutual Fund managers improve their results, it will benefit you. A content marketing program guides sales teams to make better target account selections. It allows you to uncover accounts that are more likely to value your services. And as a result, it improves the odds of increasing your target account close rate.
How Does A Content Marketing Program Improve Target Account Selection?
Target account plans aren’t a shot in the dark. Effective programs use demographic and firmographic data, incorporate knowledge from past experiences and may even include predictive analytics. Unfortunately these efforts still result in failure more than 80% of the time.
But, the underlying value of any process is to improve the way you and your team work. Integrating a content marketing program into your target account process creates a better outcome. One that will lead to better target account selection and sales success.
A Content Development Program Complements Target Account Selection
Content plans are typically designed to accomplish specific goals such as increasing brand awareness, generating leads or increasing lead conversions. But regardless of the goals, an important component of a content marketing program is developing a deep understanding of your customer.
As a result, it forces you to think about users that buy your product. For example, what are their likes, dislikes, jobs functions, reporting structure, business challenges and more? It helps you clarify what “jobs” your audience uses your products to perform. Recognizing your prospect’s wants and needs provides insights into opportunities the data may be missing.
For example, a healthcare services company provided support for hospitals facing compliance challenges. However, through their content marketing research, they found that not all end users consumed their services in the same way. Although many used them when they were in “compliance jeopardy,” others required the same information to develop proactive compliance training programs.
Accordingly, instead of only focusing on organizations who had compliance issues, the company reworked their services to target a new hospital client. One that needed training to help prevent compliance problems. This insight uncovered new, viable target account opportunities and helped them improve their target account selection and close rate.
How you communicate content to your target audience provides additional clues.
Therefore, a blog, newsletter, social media and posts in other publications uncover opportunities. Ones that you may not even know exist.
For example, a company specializing in healthcare labels found that a food service company subscribed to their newsletter. The specific area of interest centered around allergy and food safety labels. Ultimately, the food service company become a good customer.
Moreover, after further research, the label company determined that numerous food service organizations had the need for this same label expertise. As a result, they developed a program to target these companies.
Bottom line, through their content marketing program, they identified new target accounts and closed sales opportunities they would have otherwise missed.
New Customers And New Applications
Similarly, content can identify applications within your target accounts that you may not be considering.
A printer used content to promote their large format capabilities to marketing departments in many industries. They received a blog comment from a hospital marketing manager asking if the printer could produce standees. The hospital wanted life like replicas of 20 hospital staff members for a their new building dedication ceremony and public tour.
The printer recognized the potential for this application. They used the same concept for hospitals on their target list. But that’s not all. They started targeting hospitals that were in the middle of a building expansion and used it successfully to not only sell new business but also break into accounts that weren’t previously targets.
Without the content marketing program “ah ha,” additional sales volume would have never transpired.
Creating Better Target Accounts
You may be limited by geography, company size or the market segments that typically use your services. However, a well thought out content marketing plan will help you improve your target account selection process.
Content marketing is not a magic formula. But improving your target account close rates by only a few percentage points can dramatically impact revenue and another reason a content marketing program is worth considering.
Do you need help developing a content marketing strategy for your organization? This Content Tool Set will help you get started.