If your sales strategy already includes account-based marketing (ABM) and account-based sales (ABS), then providing personalized content experiences can help marry your ABM with your goals around ABS. Here’s how.
ABM practitioners quickly learned that aligning marketing and sales was one of the foundational elements of success. The two departments could no longer operate in their own little happy worlds and pretend the other didn’t exist; they had to align for excellent outcomes. Well, it just makes sense that the same is true with ABS. Luckily, your sales and marketing teams should already be past their awkward small-talk stage and into something more friendly and collaborative.
Beyond regular discussions about strategy and how to support one another, however, marketing needs to recognize its key role in ABS. This role, boiled down, is to empower the sales team with the right content – and trust them to distribute it thoughtfully and relevantly. This level of alignment will help your sales team convert more customers, improve those relationships (and retention), and drive revenue.
The two teams should also align around all prongs of the content experiences they’ll deliver, including:
Since we’re talking about “personalized content assets,” we need to make sure we’re all on the same page about what that means. It’s not just merging fields or, “Hi, <FIRSTNAME>!” At this stage of the game, your buyer expects you to know their name, role, company, and industry. They also expect you to know the problem they’re looking to solve, and to give them relevant content helping them do that. This is personalization.
Sometimes people wonder how you can personalize at that level with limited resources. But this is some of the beauty of ABM and ABS. You’re not casting a wide net; you’re going after very specific folks in very specific accounts who would be rockstar (high-value) customers if you landed them. Even so, this number can be in the thousands, which is why the right tech stack is so important –enabling your ABM approach to be personalized and scalable without endless manual efforts.
It’s important to note that, of course, some of your content will cross over between accounts and topics. You may have a Webinar that covers the most common implementation mistakes with your software, and how to fix them. This could be extremely relevant to a lot of different people. So, the personalization comes in through your messaging to each person you share it with, as well as the fact that you’re only sharing it with people who are in the stage of the buying journey where they are close to implementing your software. Even though the content itself isn’t uber-personalized, the way in which you’re messaging around it and distributing it is.
Your goal with personalization is to be relevant and add value to your recipients, so create an immersive and fully branded Web experience with your content. This is a key tactic in ABS, as well, because it gives you a lot of customization angles and ultimately delivers something really unique and rich to your target buyers. You can tailor your messaging, branding, content assets, and CTAs, and move your audience from one piece of the content to the next, relevantly.
Where marketing sometimes falls short in its ABS role is in waiting too long. If you’re not proactive in providing your sales team with the variety of content they need, you’ll end up getting overloaded – and overwhelmed. Your Slack channel will look like a steady stream of requests like, “Which content should I use for a manufacturing account?” and, “I need a more personalized page for a hardware client who’s ready to be upsold.” You’ll be left in a position to scramble, and sales may lose out on prime opportunities thanks to the delay.
So, coordinate with your sales team early and often. Book a recurring meeting on the calendar, and sit down to review your version of the ABM buying journey. Note every stage, and what types of content may be needed at each. Discuss all your target industries and buying roles, and prioritize by the ones that are highest value. Create a plan to deliver the content your team needs – starting with the highest priority pieces and working your way down until all touchpoints, buyers, and industries are covered.
Then, train your sales team on how to find these content assets themselves. This is a crucial step that many people overlook, and will mean you’re still getting hounded for content direction when your sales folks could find it themselves instead. Remember the whole “give a man a fish” versus “teach a man to fish” thing? You want to go the teaching route. Tag the content appropriately, store it in hubs that make sense, and give your sales team the tools to know how to pull what they need when they need it. You’ll still occasionally get requests for content you don’t have yet, but the machine will be expertly greased and better positioned to keep up with demand if you’re proactive from the start.
ABM and ABS are two peas in the same pod, tied together in a shared vision and need for content. Through alignment, true personalization, and a knack for proactive creation, marketing and sales can deliver exceptional experiences to buyers that drive them forward in their journey with your company.