Conversational Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
Chief Marketing Officer
In recent years there’s been a marketing/ sales shift in how we approach customers. In the old days, it was all about selling, now it’s about solving customer’s problems. It’s about finding the right customers, rather than selling it to anyone we can get our hands on. In other words, the way we do business became customer-centric which in turn creates better engagement and overall results.
‘’I define account-based marketing as total marketing and sales alignment around who are target customers and the efforts to go get them. They align with the same outcome in mind: to get a specific account as a customer.’’ – Dave Rigotti, VP of Marketing, Bizible
Account-based advertising (ABA), marketing (ABM), and sales (ABS) are all requirements to create a full account-based experience (ABX). By combining sales and marketing it’s a whole paradigm shift on how outbound marketing works. The goal is to move away from a generalized marketing approach, where we threw the same message to get tons of prospects and fish out those that are interested in our product or service, the one-to-many approach.
But wait-what are we moving toward? First of all, account-based marketing helps us identify the exact accounts we should focus on. Second of all, by adding conversational marketing into the equation we can engage directly with our target audience when they’re on our website, in real time. This is the key point where sales and marketing join efforts to engage personally with the account. By starting a conversation with our target accounts in order to get to know his personal pain points, how our product or service can aid them. This is the modern way of tailoring customer service to the client.
Picture 1. Account-based marketing allows scale growth – Marketo infographic
Why Account-Based Marketing?
The problem isn’t to find the ideal customer, it’s engaging with them at the right time, which is when they’re most interested in your product or service. It requires a tightly aligned sales & marketing teams using a multi-channel approach that integrates personalization across the customer journey.
ABM puts the emphasis on individual prospects or existing accounts. Looking back, according to a study done by Sirius Decisions in 2016 more than 70% of B2B marketers are utilizing ABM, with having staff dedicated to account-based marketing. In 2015, only 20% of companies had AMB programs in place. Over the past year, there’s been a 21% increase in the number of companies that have a full account-based marketing program in place.
You might wanna sit down for this one: research from the Altera group found that 97% of respondents reported that ABM had a somewhat higher or much higher ROI than other marketing campaigns. You do know what this means? It means you need to implement it now. You can think of account-based marketing as personalized marketing on steroids.
How to make the shift to conversational ABM?
According to the Conversational ABM Guide by Drift, it takes only 5 steps:
- Identify your target accounts using first- and third-party data.
- Divide your target account list into meaningful, addressable segments.
- Create personalized ads for each of your segments.
- Mirror the personalized language of your ads (ABA) on your homepage.
- Proactively start chat conversations using personalized welcome messages.
Picture 2. Conversational Marketing by Drift
From step one, it’s important to have a collaborative effort between marketing and sales. It’s important to find out which audiences to target, where and with which messaging. In a way, to create a target persona. In order to get a good estimate of who are your most likely customers, use data. Data from your existing customers but also industry-based data.
Now comes the strategic part. Create segments of audiences you wish to target in order to create a funnel for each group depending on their characteristics. Make a plan for each stage of the customer’s life cycle, and remember – the journey doesn’t end with the purchase. The conversation still keeps on going and you need to be prepared for it.
Understandable, after all, planning comes creating the actual ads your target audience will engage with. This is where step 4 comes in-do not forget to create a seamless experience across all your platforms! No matter where your customer lands or comes from, he needs to have the personalized messaging across all channels.
Lastly, with step 5 the fun begins! Start a conversation. Make the customer feel welcomed and ready to share with you his problems he’s looking to solve with your product or service.
Get Inspired by These Examples
Personalized review notes by Influitive
They sent a personal package that contained a review about the potential customer’s company they found on a third-party review website. This caught their attention and is a good introduction point for talking about what they could do to get more customer reviews.
The packages included a handwritten note from one of the sales reps, a review from one of the prospects’ customers, and an Influitive sticker. Some also included an eBook about generating sales pipeline with the help of customer advocates. We sent it in a box via UPS (instead of just an envelope) because we thought this would make them more likely to open it…and it helped us track when they received it so we could follow-up. They then had reps follow up with a five-step cadence, with the first touch happening three business days after arrival.
Results – They generated a 29% response rate and a 1.6% sales-qualified opportunities conversion rate.
Picture 3. Personalized package for potential customers by Influitive
Reducing cost-per-conversion by SalesLoft
This example shows how to strategically plan account-based marketing and what impact it can have in the end. Every quarter, SalesLoft’s marketing and leaders agree on the account list tiers. After that, they run account-based marketing campaigns designed to engage decision makers at the prioritized accounts. By using ABM and LinkedIn to connect with prospects on a deeper level, SalesLoft has cut its cost-per-conversion (CPC) nearly in half.
Increase chat leads by Clio
Can you imagine increasing chat leads by 625%? Clio did it for their global sales team in five months. In those five months, she created 50 bot playbooks for chatbots. The results are absolutely impressive. Due to the success of those playbooks, Clio has seen an increase in live chat engagement of 300%, cut response time from 15 minutes to 20 seconds (4500%), and has had over 7,000 conversations with potential customers through Drift. As a result of this activity, Clio has generated 625% more chat leads (200 per month) making Drift one of their fastest growing lead gen channels.
When it comes to marketing, this is the future. Account-based marketing offers a more conscious way of marketing and by adding conversation, it’s basically a foolproof way of making your time worth the money. By engaging in conversation at the peak time of customer’s interest, most probably when they hit our website, we are able to listen to his needs and attend to them in real time.
It’s time to stop chasing whoever we can find and start targeting our exact audience with the exact messaging they need.
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