COVID-19 has had a profound impact on all of us. In the business world, one area hit especially hard is the world of event marketing. From conferences to experiential marketing, both B2B and B2C brands had to pivot fast. According to research conducted by PCMA in early April, 87% of in-person events were canceled and 66% were postponed as a result of COVID-19. With a critical piece of the sales and marketing tool belt wiped out overnight, how do businesses pivot, succeed, and plan for the future of events? We reached out to marketing and event leaders to get their perspective on event marketing in the age of a pandemic.
Account based marketing is taking B2B by storm. The latest trend in the world of sales and marketing, ABM is a highly effective way to engage with potential leads. Our clients are doing it, and the ones who aren’t yet are interested. Here’s an in-depth walkthrough of the account based marketing framework for beginners.
What is account based marketing
First thing’s first, let’s define account based marketing. According to HubSpot, “Account-based Marketing (ABM) is a focused growth strategy in which Marketing and Sales collaborate to create personalized buying experiences for a mutually-identified set of high-value accounts.”
Now, let’s break that down piece by piece to define what that actually means.
A focused growth strategy
There are many ways and tactics to implement account-based marketing; however, it’s important to note that the framework of account based marketing is strategy, first and foremost. Marketo states that it’s a “customer experience-centric approach” in order to “generate more revenue faster and easier.”
Think ABM is right for you? Take the assessment. Click here.
At its core, ABM is about understanding that not every company is a fit for your product/service. While a buyer’s persona is a fictional representation of your ideal buyer, ABM takes the next step to actually find, target, and talk to those ideal accounts. ABM is the strategy behind that process and implementation.
Marketing and Sales collaboration
This part is critical. Account based marketing is really the pinnacle of sales and marketing alignment. The ideal process of AMB is: identify accounts, communicate with accounts directly, nurture and close deals on those accounts. Sales, Marketing, Sales. All in close collaboration.
Therefore, once you have your ideal types of accounts in mind, the next step in ABM is for your sales team to identify specific ones. Sales should create a prospect list of specific companies or people your company should be speaking with. (This is the account part of account based marketing.) Once this list is created, it should be handed off to Marketing.
Marketing will then implement your targeting strategy. There’s more on specific tactics below, but Marketing’s role may include things like LinkedIn advertising or connecting and engaging on social media. Marketing is the one responsible for carrying the strategy forward, making the connections, and starting the conversations.
When the conversations are activated and a prospect becomes an active lead, it’s handed back to Sales to nurture and close.
Without alignment between Sales and Marketing, the entire account based marketing process would fall on its face. Marketing needs to know who specifically to talk to- is targeting anybody under the executive level a waste of time? Were conversations with X company already conducted and lost?
And Sales needs Marketing to implement the tactics. A break down on the latter half of this may mean Marketing is hooking leads that Sales isn’t receiving or following up on.
Another important arm to the account based marketing framework is the element of personalization. Because the accounts chosen in ABM are already so highly targetted, messaging needs to be targeted, too.
However you connect with your prospects, it needs to authentic, helpful, and personalized. That means do your research beforehand. Leave anything generic at the door. Also, take timeliness and relevance into high consideration. Personalization might look like custom landing pages, custom calendar links to schedule a consult directly or references specific to the account you’re connecting with.
Mutually-identified high-value accounts
As granular and targeted as inbound marketing can be, ABM is next-level targeting. As such, it’s more time-intensive. What that translates into is being selective about accounts that are not only the best fit but also stand to be the most lucrative.
A study done by SiriusDecisions found that, “91% of companies using ABM were able to increase their average deal size, with 25% of respondents stating the increase being over 50% or larger.”
The specific nature of ABM allows teams to key in on those high-value accounts and put more effort into nurturing them. The alignment between teams empowers Marketing to develop the specific collateral and assets to enable Sales in their nurturing. Under the ABM model, it’s easier to make a case for investing the time and resources into this process when accounts and the rewards are high-value.
Thinking about implementing AMB? Take the assessment to see if it’s right for your organization.
Account Based Marketing Examples
Now that we’ve defined the framework of account based marketing, here are some ways to put it into action. Using these tactics are just a few of the many ways to implement ABM.
Do you know how many people genuinely enjoy your content? Sure, you might have a handful of comments and a few people emailing you to say they enjoyed your content. (Even if that’s followed with a guest post pitch.) But are you measuring that content engagement?
Engagement is a key goal for many marketers. It shows the reader is genuinely enjoying the content you’re sharing, and they’re giving their time to act on it—be that with a social share or a subscription to your email list.
The downside? Research has found that getting target customers to engage with a brand is the top challenge for B2B marketers.
A social share means that someone has read your content and gone out of their way to share it with their own network, be that on Twitter, LinkedIn, or a niche forum.
Shelby Rogers of Solodev explains: “Having high levels of engagement shows that your content resonates with people. That means your messaging broke through the noise of infinite scrolling and posts, caught a user’s attention enough for them to like, and made an impact enough for them to comment on your content.”
Or, you can look for social shares on specific platforms by adding your URL into the search bar:
(Research has found that written articles, videos, and images are the three most engaging types of content on social media. You might already be experiencing social shares if those three formats make the bulk of your content strategy.)
2. New Backlinks
The number of backlinks you’re collecting for your website is another important marketing metric to consider to measure content engagement, as Joe Robison of Green Flag Digital explains: “Backlinks drive both referral traffic and show Google your new content is trustworthy, contributing to your overall rankings.”
People only link to other URLs if the site is trustworthy. After all, the goal of SEO is to prove to Google that you’re trustworthy enough to rank well in their search results.
Associating your site with another, high-value one proves that, but if other people are linking to you, they must think you’re authoritative enough to be associated with.
3. Organic Ranking Positions
You can’t get a good search presence if you don’t have a solid army of backlinks pointing to your content.
Once you start building those backlinks, you’ll need to move your attention to another metric to measure content engagement: Your organic ranking positions, which tell you the keywords each piece of content is ranking for (and in what position.)
It goes without saying that you want as many position #1 rankings as possible. But so long as you see the upward trend of more and more organic keywords you’re showing for, it can prove that your content is engaging enough for Google to rank it well. Click here for more on the Dos and Don’ts of B2B SEO.
This is also ideal if you’re using the topic and cluster model, as Stephen Jeske of MarketMuse explains: “Of course, a cluster of pages can’t rank, but you can look at the individual page rankings in the context of the cluster. That can reveal a lot about what is or is not working within that group.”
4. Brand Market Share
Stan Tan of Selby’s, “The end goal [of content marketing] is building a brand so you don’t have to rely on spending money on TV ads, Facebook ads or other forms of advertisements.”
Brand market share is a tactic you can use to measure this. It tells you the percentage of customers in your industry that purchase your products.
You can determine your brand market share with this formula:
(Your total sales / The industry’s total sales) * 100
For example: If you make $100,000 per year in an industry that has collectively made $1 million in sales, your brand market share would be 10%.
Again, this metric is best-measured when you compare it over time. Pick a time frame to regularly check-in on how your content affects your brand market share—such as every quarter or once a year. How much market share did you grow by?
You should keep an eye on these metrics—not by setting a figure amount to reach each month, but by monitoring how they change over time. This change can be another indication of content performance and engagement.
For example: Do you get more SQLs after publishing a long-form piece of content? Does the topic of your content influence how many SQLs you get that week? Which type of content has the best MQL to SQL conversion rate?
Summarizing, Casie Ost of Beacons Point adds: “You can bring new eyes to your website, but the only way to get ROI from your efforts is to turn them into paying customers. Therefore, if you focus on tracking metrics of your qualified leads, whether it be a MQL or SQL, those are the key metrics client’s will really want to see.”
Content marketing is one of the most difficult marketing channels to track. And whilst everyone visiting your content might not hit the “purchase” button on their first visit, you can use these metrics to determine whether they’ll end up there.
But the benefits of engaging content go beyond that initial purchase. A report by Gallup found that B2B companies retain fully engaged customers more than others by 27%. (And we’ve all seen the statistics on how much cheaper it is to retain an existing customer than acquire a new one.)
Use these metrics to track and measure content engagement. Always use them as a benchmark when trying new tactics, and figure the perfect formula for a piece of content that encourages the reader to take action.
Lake One® announced today that their Founder and CEO, Ryan Ruud has accepted a board position with the Pinky Swear Foundation. Pinky Swear Foundation eases the financial and emotional impacts experienced by children with cancer and their families by providing basic needs support during a very challenging time.
“Ryan’s board service at Pinky Swear Foundation is an incredible combination of his professional and personal passions,” said Erica Campbell, Pinky Swear Foundation Executive Director. “He has been a powerful advocate for kids with cancer and their families for decades, and we are grateful for his strategic leadership and giving heart.”
Lake One launched in 2014 and has grown every year since, with a belief that business can pursue both profit and purpose. As a virtual marketing team, based in Minneapolis, it supports B2B organizations with complex buying processes including Technology, Manufacturing, Clean Tech, Sustainability, and professional services in healthcare, IT, and staffing.
“Lake One has been proud to partner with Pinky Swear Foundation since 2016. As a childhood cancer survivor myself, I know firsthand the impact of the support Pinky Swear provides to families in their darkest moments. It’s an honor to serve Pinky Swear’s mission.” says Ryan Ruud.
About Lake One: Founded in 2014, Lake One is a revenue operations and growth firm based in Minneapolis, MN. They partner with B2B organizations to compete and win online by planning, building and implementing aligned sales and marketing programs. They help organizations navigate sales and marketing technology decisions to deploy right sized tools that scale program performance.
About Pinky Swear: Started in 2003, Pinky Swear Foundation eases the financial and emotional impacts experienced by children with cancer and their families by providing basic needs support during a very challenging time. Pinky Swear Foundation has provided more than $4.5 million in financial assistance and quality of life support. They’ve helped thousands of families whose children are bravely battling the ugliness of cancer. To learn more about the Pinky Swear Foundation and how they got their start, click here.
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