It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway—small businesses need to generate quality leads and close sales in order to thrive. That’s why we implement inbound marketing at Accelity. What people don’t talk enough about is account-based marketing, a relative of inbound marketing.
What’s the difference?
Inbound marketing drives leads based on targeted marketing efforts to your ideal buyers based on personas.
Account based marketing (ABM) is similar because you use targeted efforts to drive leads, but ABM drills down further when looking at audience. With ABM you identify specific accounts and contacts to target. So, instead of focusing on any Joe CEO whose main goal is to increase organization efficiency, you target an actual person, Bill Johnson at ABC corp.
This means ABM is highly customized, and you’ll market to a small audience, usually an audience of one.
So, how do you implement ABM as part of your small business lead generation strategy? Follow these tactics:
1. Identify your target accounts.
Do you have a top 25-50 prospects/accounts list? If not, it’s time to make one. You should add accounts on this list based on:
- ROI—Which of these accounts, if closed, will bring in the most revenue?
- Quick wins—Find accounts that seem ready to buy, or that have a short decision-making process.
- Competitor affiliation—If you’ve identified that one of your prospects is using a competitor you’ve easily beat before, target them.
- Fit—This seems obvious, but when you find accounts that can clearly benefit from your services/product, go after them.
- Mutual connections—You know what they say, sometimes it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Is one of your current clients a friend of the account you’re after? Ask for an introduction.
2. Social prospecting for better intel and conversations.
For many, social media is ingrained into our everyday lives, not only for personal, but for business use. But are you using social media effectively when prospecting? If not, you could be missing out. Try the following to collect better intel (all of these activities together should take no more than an hour a week):
- Find at least 10 people, based on their profiles, that could be potential leads for your business (don’t worry, you can add on to this list as you go).
- Follow them on all social accounts.
- Add them to a list on Twitter.
- Retweet or share relevant content for your industry to these prospects.
- Like posts from them.
- Engage with potential prospects by replying to their posts, or answering their questions.
- Join any LinkedIn groups they’re part of, review content in the groups and share content to add value.
- Send 1:1 messages as you learn more about each person’s goals, values and challenges.
You should also take time to find out what each individual account/prospect finds valuable. This will inform your content sharing efforts, and will guide conversations.
3. Create targeted campaigns for each account.
This is also known as sending 1:1 emails. These emails are extremely specific in nature because you’ll take the intel you’ve found from social, and any other information you have about the prospect you’re targeting, and apply it in such a way that your message will sound like it’s speaking directly to them (because it is).
A big don’t on these emails… don’t be creepy, as in don’t tell people you were scouring their LinkedIn page for information. You can, however, mention an article they shared, a comment they posted or some other bit of information that would lead you to believe that the email you are sending is of value to them.
4. Advertise directly to the accounts you want to close.
Did you know you can target specific companies and job titles on LinkedIn? This means, if you know Bill Johnson at ABC Corp is on LinkedIn and listed as it’s CEO, you can target ads directly at him by specifying his company and title. Again, this means you can be super specific when speaking to his needs, challenges and goals in these ads (without being creepy). I recommend sponsored content ads on LinkedIn if you try this out. They usually perform better than ads that appear in the sidebar on LinkedIn.
So at the end of the day, will you blast out emails to every Joe CEO this side of the Mississippi and hope you get a bite? Or will you find a handful of clients you really want, and target them with so much value they can’t help but say “yes” to you? Either way, I’d love to hear about your successes and takeaways in the comments below!
If you’re looking to drive leads, and want to learn additional ways to do so, feel free to reach out to Accelity Marketing here.