What's old is new again.
Analog designs get transformed, repackaged and re-released. Successful strategies evolve, are remade and become the new hot trend, far more efficient and cost effective. At least that's the pitch. Some are productivity enhancing, others not so much.
The "While You Were Out" pad advanced to > > Voice Mail and combined with + + Caller ID to create problems ? ? reaching anyone that you don't already know.
The Rolodex evolved into Contact Management Software and now Customer Relationship Management. The Rolodex goes with you in your pocket and with a single click you can connect with anyone you know. CRM allows you to learn things about your customers that wouldn't otherwise be possible.
Technology drives this metamorphous. Computing power and online tools create work flows that have no manual peer. And it's the effective use of technology that creates opportunities to transform another key sales activity, a target account program, into a far more effective undertaking.
Account Based Marketing
Target accounts, strategic accounts, account management strategies. Call it what you want but by concentrating your sales effort in the right place, with the right people, and on the right issues, you shorten the sales cycle and win more opportunities.
But what if we were able to take these tried and true concepts and integrate additional support into the process. Sales and marketing working cohesively together on the biggest and best opportunities. That's Account Based Marketing.
How Is Account Based Marketing Different Than A Target Account Program?
Target account programs rely on the sales team to drive client interactions. Although marketing may assist, the process is driven by sales. Account Based Marketing combines the best attributes from both sales and marketing. Using a strategic approach, it coordinates personalized marketing and sales efforts to open doors and deepen engagements at target accounts. In account based marketing, sales and marketing work together to create a perpetual series of interactions and relationship building activities aimed at these accounts.
Account Based Marketing Benefits
Regardless of the account size, todays buyers progress through a self education process. That learning takes place through content they consume online such as websites, white papers, webinars and more. Just like an effective sales assistant, effective online content captures attention, making further interactions more likely. Account based marketing allows you to leverage technology to interact with prospects, with the information they need when they need it. Marketing Automation technology allows you to respond to actions in a way that a manual process doesn't allow.
Target Account Challenges
A key account has multiple decision makers across different company functions. For example, selling into a Hospital System includes connecting with the GPO and staff within each unique hospital, including key administrative and departmental functions. Multiple contacts influence or decide whether to do business with you. A 2015 IDG Enterprise survey found that on average, 17 people influence an enterprise purchase. Even the most organized rep is challenged with providing timely, relevant and personalized follow up. Plus, reps manage multiple accounts. How do you scale your sales team so they can effectively develop more business in target opportunities?
Using Account Based Marketing To Sell More
Sales is off knocking on doors, having conversations and trying to establish some sort of relationship with people inside of their target accounts. Marketing automation tools allow you to bolster these interactions.They allow you to identify interactions from target account contacts, when they open an email, visit your website, attend a webinar, download a white paper and more. You can develop a communications workflow that coincides with how they interacted with you. For example, if through these digital interactions, the prospect is clearly indicating an interest in a specific capability then the automated follow up would provide additional information on that topic. These type of relevant, timely follow ups dramatically increase the odds of additional conversations.
Identifying these digital interactions also allows your sales team to connect with the account when they are most interested. Research shows that decision-makers are more likely to speak with salespeople and subject matter experts when they are first recognizing a need. Account based marketing allows you to identify those queues and connect when interest has peaked.
It's Digital and Analog / In-Person and Virtual
Account based marketing leverages the full suite of sales and marketing tactics. Personal and digital interactions can be married to construct the best outcome. For example direct mail has been a direct marketing tactic for years. It can be an effective option to reach targeted groups of executives. Why? Because executives don’t register for webinars or white papers, respond to unsolicited emails, follow companies or sales people on Twitter. Offline direct marketing methods are often effective complementary strategies to reach decision makers.
It Works For Large And Not So Large Opportunities
One benefit to target account selection process is defining accounts that deserve the highest resource priority. That doesn't mean that others don't get time an attention. An account based marketing strategy helps you segment opportunities and deploy the appropriate resources. Below the top targets are 50 - 400 accounts that are significant opportunities. You've determined that they are a notch below a top target. Yet by combining the sales and marketing effort, an effective ABM program allows you to better develop these accounts without a methodology to develop these accounts as well.
Will Target Account Selling Transform Into Account Based Marketing?
Will target account selling go the way of the Rolodex, replaced by Account Based Marketing? I'm not sure but what I do know is if we approach opportunities combining the best attributes of sales and marketing, leveraging effective technologies in the process, we will be more successful developing business and growing revenue.