If you are actively working toward generating more business online, you’ve probably started to immerse yourself more heavily into digital marketing to hunt for leads. Chances are your focus has been centralized around numbers: How many people can I get to subscribe to my mailing list? How many people downloaded my infographic? After rolling out some quality material, and figuring out the wizardry of search engine marketing (SEM), you’ve seen those lead counts jump! Success! Right? Not necessarily. It’s likely that after several months, you get just a handful of deals out of hundreds or even thousands of leads. Surprisingly, only about 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates (Econsultancy, 2016).
So after seeing an increase in leads and only getting few conversions, you start to wonder: Am I marketing through the right channels? Is my content just not resonating with my audience? What do I fix?
While there can be multiple factors affecting individual results, the principle component that often gets overlooked is the approach. B2B leaders want their solutions to appeal to many businesses, and they push their marketing teams to bring in lots of leads. And they really do bring in everyone, including those that aren’t ready (or likely) to buy. This approach aligns with the traditional marketing funnel: You generate awareness, get lots of interested leads, and then you start educating them to get them to consider and ultimately purchase your service after numerous touchpoints. The problem here is that if an individual is interested in a piece of content you’re releasing in exchange for their information, it doesn’t always mean they are interested in the related service you’re offering.
What should your approach be?
Start by aiming small
After seeing an increasing trend of poor lead conversions, marketers have been forced to re-evaluate their approach, as you are now, and have discovered that by flipping the funnel, businesses have started to achieve better results. By “flipping the funnel,” I mean start focusing on a small prioritized list of better targeted accounts. You might think that you’re doing this already by marketing to specific personas or client types, but this is even more targeted, as it is centered around specific customers and companies you would like to do business with. You can use predictive analytics to figure out which accounts have the highest propensity to buy based on how well they align to your ideal customer profile. By narrowing your target in this way, you have a better idea of what channels to focus on, and you ensure that the solution you are trying to sell really resonates to the customers that matter most. This is account-based marketing (ABM). It’s not necessarily a new way of thinking, but it is a new way to approach digital marketing at scale.
How can you expect to benefit from ABM?
- Improve ROI. Almost 85% of marketers who measure ROI describe account-based marketing as delivering higher returns than any other marketing approach, with half of those marketers citing significantly higher returns (ITSMA). Research from Demandbase also found that when firms leveraged ABM, it resulted in a 285% higher close rate for targeted enterprise accounts, and a 166% higher close rate for mid-market accounts.
- Save time and marketing dollars. By narrowing your focus onto a much smaller list of better targeted accounts, you ensure that you are not wasting time and resources developing content that doesn’t resonate. You also avoid trying to warm or filter through a large list of leads that ultimately have little to no interest in your service.
- Show your prospects that you are someone they can trust. By personalizing your messaging so that it resonates with specific pain points your target account is experiencing, they are more likely to believe that you truly understand them and trust that your solution works for them. A general message, though applicable, won’t hit home quite the same way. This is what makes an ABM approach so powerful. 75% of customers say they prefer personalized offers (Aberdeen).
Then, go big
Just because you have chosen to implement an ABM approach, doesn’t mean you should forego demand generation tactics and only aim small. ABM compliments inbound marketing strategies by helping you sharpen the way you position your message and pinpoint what accounts to target so you can replicate at scale and get better results. That said, when extending your reach, you can’t treat all incoming leads equally. Keep your marketing precision-based by applying a tiered approach to your accounts so that the top tier receives the most personalization and your highest investment ($50 Amazon gift card for your time?), while implementing more generic or cost-efficient tactics on your lower priority accounts.
If you would like to learn more about how Audienz can support you in your account-based marketing efforts, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.