In digital marketing, hot marketing trends come and go. One of the top trending marketing approaches – and one that appears to be here to stay – is account-based marketing.
With the number of people and ever more complicated hierarchies of decision makers in businesses, the odds of getting connected to any of them via phone or email in larger organizations is drastically diminishing – that’s when an account-based marketing approach is extremely effective.
Account-based marketing provides a framework to enable businesses to target decision makers on an account level, significantly increasing the ability to reach them. In broader sense, account-based marketing is mostly essential in selling to large enterprises – so what about small and medium businesses? If your business targets this segment of small and medium businesses, is account-based marketing (ABM) approach useless for you? Wouldn’t ABM work in targeting, marketing and selling smaller entities? Actually, it will.
Many, if not all of the fundamentals of account-based marketing can be implemented in your company’s efforts at selling to small and medium segments. To understand how account-based marketing strategies will be effective and how you can achieve success – we need to decode the term ‘account-based marketing’.
What is and how account-based marketing works?
The idea is to adopt a planned marketing approach in creating and running marketing campaigns that are tailored to the targeted prospects, clients or in this case, accounts. The marketing strategy should align marketing and selling efforts that addresses issues clients face in targeting their prospects/customers and in developing campaigns to their needs. Thus, the basics of selling to small and medium businesses do not vary much from addressing large enterprise companies’ issues.
The only difference between selling to large and smaller businesses will lie in the number of decision makers in a company – in smaller setups, the number of people will be smaller than in larger companies. So you can keep a smaller team with fewer professionals, for example, you may need one or two members in sales, marketing and customer servicing teams to deliver account-based marketing campaigns to SMB.
Here are 5 effective ideas to develop and optimize account-based marketing campaigns for SMB selling efforts:
Develop a well-thought out target list
The first thing to do to achieve success in account-based marketing campaign is to define the right set of target accounts to focus. In the beginning, your company can start with about 50-100 client accounts. After the target accounts are identified, add contacts to all accounts that have greater potential to convert. While choosing accounts, you can apply the pattern to create the list of client accounts that are likelier to make purchase.
For example, if you are selling to clients who are dealing in restaurant POS system – then you can call their prospective restaurant owners who would be interested in their POS system. Restaurants might shy away from POS owners, but, they would be interested in listening to an expert who can help restaurants manage and increase revenue using the right POS system.
Define accounts based on insights
Every successful account-based marketing program starts with insights on who your buyers will be. Small business buyers are busy running their businesses, and are not interested in wasting their time. What makes a difference in getting your prospect’s attention will be how well you can understand their business challenges and initiatives. For the small business executive, social media websites such as Yelp, Twitter and Facebook are the best channels for discovering insights on your target accounts. When you do your research, look at the trends that stand out, such as competition or signs of growth. The goal is to find a few things that matter to the prospects’ business.
Optimize messages to the targeted clients
Once you have defined your target companies and individuals, added contacts to the database and contacted prospects of your accounts, you can analyze issues they are facing in connecting to their prospects and which messages will help them interest, connect and engage their prospects in their communication. While you talk to your small business clients’ prospects, you need to understand their expectations from your clients’ products or services. Then, you need to tailor messages for marketing and sales campaigns by keeping their specifications and expectations. Send your accounts the market insights including data on competitor analysis, ideas to attract, and connect to their targeted prospects and strategies for success.
The best offers that click for prospects
One of the best ways to grab prospects is by offering them something that they simply cannot turn down. Not just any discount or coupon codes, but free insights, free audits and any other data that will resonate to the targeted prospects’ business needs. This kind of initial offer will resonate with your potential small business accounts and help you achieve greater engagement. With this initial offer, you not only get a foot in the door, but you may also get close enough to be able to discern the kinds of challenges they face while doing marketing analyses or audits for them.
Gain trust of small enterprises with “ready to help” approach
It is time to shrug off your traditional ‘desperate sales approach’ and wear ‘already ready to help’ attitude in order to gain trust of your small and medium business accounts. After all, SMB spend adequate time in understanding the potential of success before making investment. A surefire strategy to gain their confidence is to offer case studies which explain how other small enterprises with similar business and marketing needs overcome their challenges by using your services. Introducing existing accounts, their problems and how your solutions help them achieve business objectives will help you sow the seed of trust in your SMB prospects.
In a nutshell, you need to offer your client accounts the market study, competitor analysis, prospects’ expectations as well as the personalized sales and marketing messages to drive engagement while selling account-based marketing solutions for small and medium businesses.
Have questions, or need some help in setting up an account-based marketing strategy for small businesses? Call us at (408) 502 6765 or contact us via our Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to get some fast answers.