You’ve identified your goals. You’ve developed your list of strategic accounts. The next step of your next step in the SCALE framework is advance targeting tactics. This is the journey design phase of your program.
A Framework that Helps – S.C.A.L.E.
We developed the S.C.A.L.E. framework to help companies get a fundamental understanding of the strategic ABM process. S.C.A.L.E. stands for:
- Secure ABM program goals
- Choose strategic accounts
- Advance targeting tactics
- Lead a seamless campaign
- Evaluate progress, measure results
This blog post will focus on the A of Scale – Advance targeting tactics. This is the third in a series of posts that will further explain our framework.
How to start designing your tactics
The ideal first step is to reverse-engineer your platinum closed-wins by using your analytics platforms to review the path your top accounts took before closing.
1.Which parts of your website did they visit?
2.What emails did they receive, and which ones did they open?
3.How many meetings did you have, and what was the focus of those meetings?
4.How long was the sales cycle end-to-end?
5.Was the process easy or difficult?
Once you’ve mapped this out for some of your best closed-wins, you’ll see patterns emerge. You can use these patterns to craft the buyer’s journey. Do a flow-chart of the ideal journey and watch to see which accounts take that journey verses another route. By tracking the steps each targeted account takes you know where to put more effort in the future. Keep in mind, this journey can change. We’ve had 2 years of no events, but events are now coming back – so that should be re-introduced to the journey. Always be testing different tactics to see what is working best at what time, and go back to test old tactics to see if they are working again after a lull.
Mapping and tracking also helps generate ideas for future sales enablement materials, to develop new tactics to encourage engagement, and to craft future messaging utilizing emotional tone and trigger-words.
Focus Your Messaging
Consider creating a messaging brief for each persona. In this brief, consider:
- Who are you targeting?
- What problems do they need solved?
- What approach is most likely to get their attention?
- How do you want them to feel?
- What action do you want them to take next?
- What trigger words will move them to action?
This brief should be shared with the rest of your marketing team as well as your sales team. Your sales team is a valuable source of insight in this phase as they have direct exposure to customers, and they may have personal insights your analytics tools might not capture. Getting feedback also helps with alignment and buy-in from the various teams.
Your approach will vary according to the level of ABM you’re using. For example, in a strategic ABM campaign, you’ll create completely custom copy for sales enablement tools such as an eBook or an infographic or webinar. A strategic ABM campaign speaks as specifically as possible to the needs of an individual or a small group within your target company.
In an ABM Lite campaign, you’re targeting an industry, sector, or job title, and you can craft focused materials that speak to their needs without getting into the granularity of a one-to-one situation. Your eBook won’t be custom written for each specific target account (other than at the address level), but for companies / industries / titles with similar needs.
At a programmatic ABM level, you still focus the messaging, but is less targeted than the two previous campaigns. At the programmatic level, your sales enablement materials might address solving a specific business problem for enterprise of a given size.
Energy goes where there’s clarity
Make sure there’s alignment between marketing and sales on definitions. There should be an agreement on terms such as Marketing Qualified Accounts, Sales Qualified Accounts, and Opportunities. There is a form of “handover” in most organizations from MQA to SQA – but with ABM programs there should be a regular meeting to discuss the accounts in the SQA and Opportunity stage so that marketing can supply materials that smooth and speed the sale and help Sales either win over or neutralize the opposition in the target account.
Marketing never stops
Feedback doesn’t end with the closed-win. Marketing should work with Customer Success post-sale to help the account expand. People want to work with those who are there for them even after the sale closes, and they remember those who drop-off after the paperwork is done. Those accounts are less likely to renew. As such, marketing should never stop. By looking at each account as a marathon, instead of a sprint, you’ll raise trust, reciprocity, and ultimately – Customer Lifetime Value.