4 Simplified Steps to Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

Posted by Michelle Dalton

Sep 27, 2017 3:10:11 PM

Marketing strategies come and go, but it looks like ABM is here to stay, since it has been proven to deliver the highest return on investment of any strategic B2B marketing approach. If you think you haven’t been using ABM, you may be surprised to find you are using some aspects of it.

Pegs ABM.jpgDeveloped in 2004 by ITSMA (the Information Technology Services Marketing Association), Account-Based Marketing (ABM) turns the traditional inbound marketing funnel upside down for B2B marketing. Traditional marketing consists of attracting as many people to your site to fill out forms, nurture them with emails, and then identify which of those leads are potential companies to target.

There are two different scenarios where ABM is appropriate:

  • When you’re targeting a small amount of large key accounts
  • When you’re targeting groups of accounts that share similar characteristics 

The high level overview of ABM includes the following steps:

1. Identify Target Accounts

Sales and marketing works together (yes, together) to identify their targeted companies, or the characteristics of their targeted companies. Examples include company size, annual revenue, financial strength, business strategies, organizational structure and more. To determine these companies and characteristics, evaluate your profitable satisfied customers in your existing base. From there, leverage your CRM, other technology and market research to identify your target accounts.

2. Identify Personas

Once the targeted accounts are identified, sales and marketing again collaborate to determine what role the decision makers, influencers and blockers typically hold in the organization. They develop those personas to find their pain points, typical demographics, what factors drive them, and methods to effectively reach them with your message.

3. Develop a Personalized Engagement Plan

Some marketers refer to this step as “Develop Engaging Content.” However, taking into account how different personas make purchasing decisions, content may not be enough. For example, an IT director may take time to read a white paper or eBook, but don’t assume the same for the C-level persona. This is where learning how to effectively reach the target personas comes in. In addition to personalized content, consider adding face-to-face opportunities, such as social and informative events.

Several decision makers place high value on developing trusting, personal relationships with their sales representative, who they want to see as a consultant. These relationships may take several months or longer when selling products or services with long sales cycles.

Develop key metrics and your expected goals for each content asset, campaign, event, social media strategy, etc.

4. Measure, Analyze, Adjust

In order to prove the value of your ABM strategy, you need to be able to measure it over time. Results should be visible and actionable. Compare KPIs such as email clicks, opens, MQLs, SQLs, opportunities created and new business won against previous campaigns, and determine the marketing ROI.

Create dashboards and reports in your CRM to analyze the activity on your target accounts, and compare results to your goals.

While ABM strategy is not new, it is becoming more expected from customers who want a personalized and engaged buyer journey. Understanding their influence level and engaging them across the entire sales cycle does not take a huge investment but can mean increased revenue and a solid partnership with customers.

Contact us to learn how Quantum Age can help create and implement an ABM strategy that pays big dividends for years to come.
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Topics: marketing mix, content, content marketing, meeting planning;, marketing

What You Need To Know About Corporate Partnerships With Trade Associations

Posted by Bruce Rosenthal

Sep 6, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Companies that sell products and services to businesses in a certain industry and that industry’s trade association sometimes have a “mutual love/hate” relationship. Or they view each other as “a necessary evil.”
The companies believe the trade associations are unfairly restricting access to their Bruce_association blog.pngmembers who are the company’s customers and prospective customers. Companies contend they are entitled to a certain level of access to an association’s members, especially if the companies are exhibitors or corporate sponsors or partners.

The associations believe the companies only want to do a “hard sell” on their members. Associations contend that since they are not-for-profit organizations, communications from companies is a commercial intrusion.

The result of this company-association butting of heads does little to help the company or the association. More importantly, it does little to help the association’s members.

A survey conducted in August 2017 by the DC-Area Partnership Professionals Network (PPN), an organization of corporate sponsorship and partnership executives with associations and not-for-profit organizations, revealed some findings that might provide companies with ideas on how to bridge the gap and have more successful relationships with associations.

  • Associations obviously need money to fulfill their missions to provide services to members. Two-thirds of the respondents to the PPN survey reported their revenue from corporate partners had increased in the past year (though the survey didn’t ask how much it increased). What is more revealing is that one-third reported their revenue from corporate partners had decreased or stayed the same.
  • It’s important for associations’ programs to meet the current needs of their stakeholders. Member needs change, business trends change, etc. When asked if they had undertaken a review of their corporate partner program in the past three years, half of the association executives responding to the survey said “no”.
  • Boards of directors play a critical role for associations. They set policy; they are a barometer of member needs; they are a gateway to members. While survey respondents report their boards were aware of revenue from corporate partners, only one-quarter of boards meet with corporate partners and one-quarter are not involved in any way with corporate partners.
  • Companies that partner with associations have specific business goals. These goals can be repositioning their company, launching a new product, meeting the challenges of competitor companies, etc. While almost 100% of the associations responding to the survey offer transactional benefits like logo visibility, the percentage of association offering more substantive benefits like speaking opportunities and content development drops to about 50%.
  • Lastly, most of the organizations surveyed acknowledged they are competing for their corporate partners’ attention with other associations and other marketing channels.

To recap: associations need the revenue from corporate partners; many associations haven’t revamped their corporate partnership programs recently; many boards are not involved in corporate partnership programs; associations are offering predominantly low-value transactional benefits; and associations realize they are competing for corporate partners.

What can you do with this knowledge from the Partnership Professionals Network survey? Have a conversation with each association that represents businesses who are your customers and prospective customers.

Explain that your company and their association each have a mission and goals. Ironically, there is a common thread in these missions and goals: to meet the needs of the businesses who are your customers and their members.

Identify ideas, solutions, and strategies that your company can offer to help the association’s members. Discuss ways the association can make changes to its current corporate partnership program to get their board members more engaged and offer benefits that will help your company help their members.

Strive for the triple-win: value for the association, its members, and your company.

If you would like more information on how your company can achieve its business goals by partnering with trade associations, contact Quantum Age today.

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Topics: marketing, , marketing strategy, , corporate partnerships

Four Impactful B2B Marketing Strategies You May Be Missing Out On

Posted by Michelle Dalton

Aug 31, 2017 10:32:06 AM

B2B marketers continue to face pressures to prove return on their marketing investment. In the ever-changing landscape of marketing, determining how to distribute your budget to the most impactful methods can be challenging. The four strategies below have been proven to improve results for B2B marketers.

1. Social SellingDart missing board.jpg

Ninety percent of executives never return cold calls, resulting in very poor return on investment. Stop cold calling and start using social media to demonstrate your value and receive warm introductions. LinkedIn research found that 78% of salespeople using social media perform better than their peers. If your sales team isn’t using social media to sell, help them go social by providing training.

2. Account-Based Marketing

Developed in 2004 by ITSMA (the Information Technology Services Marketing Association), Account-Based Marketing (ABM) turns the traditional inbound marketing funnel upside down for B2B marketing. Traditional marketing consists of attracting as many people to your site to fill out forms, nurture them with emails, and then identify which of those leads are potential companies to target.

ABM is a strategic approach where sales and marketing identifies the characteristics of their targeted companies, then finds those companies and determines who the decision makers and influencers are. The relationships are nurtured with personalized content and campaigns to drive interest and engagement. As a result, ABM delivers the highest return on investment of any strategic B2B marketing approach.

3. In-Person Events

With the explosion in digital marketing, marketers may feel like they don’t need any face time with prospects and customers. However, for products and services that require significant investment or adoption of staff (software, for example), it is likely that you will benefit from relationship marketing.

Consider integrating opportunities for face-to-face interactions into your mix, including user groups, social and informational events at conferences targeted to your top prospects, and experiential marketing.

4. Customer Advocacy Marketing

Satisfied customers can generate a gold mine in leads and revenue. Seventy-three percent of executives prefer to work with sales professionals referred by someone they know. Referral leads convert 30% better than leads generated from other marketing channels.

If you don’t currently have a customer experience program in place to ensure happy customers who will give referrals, start one now. Make sure you have an action plan in place to address any concerns that arise. Expand your marketing efforts with testimonials, a formal referral program, and an online customer community to increase lead generation.

Are you overwhelmed with your current marketing program and don't have the bandwidth to add any of these strategies? Contact us and we can help plan and implement for you. 

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Topics: marketing mix, marketing

20 Tips for Kickstarting Your Content Marketing (Part 2)

Posted by CC Andrews

Oct 10, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Our last post on content marketing provided tips for making content—but that’s only the first step. Next, you need to promote your content and then measure your results, according to Andy Crestodina, strategic director of Orbit Media Studios.Working Hard-1.jpg

Just like the real estate adage “location, location, location,” good content marketing is just as much about promoting, promoting, promoting your content as it is about producing it. Over two presentations at the 2016 Senior Care Marketing Sales (SMASH) Summit, Crestodina shared lots of tips for max reader engagement.

To compliment the 9 tips provided in our first post, here are 11 ways to implement the next steps of content marketing:

Promote Content

Tip 10: Capture interest. Your content can be the best in the world—but it’s worthless unless you’re grabbing people’s attention and getting them to read it. Headlines are crucial, and there are several rules for creating good ones:

    • Make your headline explicit and concise.
    • Don’t give away the whole article in the headline. At the same time, don’t hide what the article is about.
    • Trigger curiosity. Appeal to emotions.
    • Use numbers or percentages when possible.

Tip 11: Know how to generate traffic. Send out an email with your article and promote it on social media. Putting your content directly in someone’s inbox is an easy way to reach them, while posting content on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn makes it easy for people to share.

Tip 12: Add tools to your arsenal. Use tools like Buffer to share content efficiently. Buffer allows you to queue up content you want to share on social media and then spaces out when that content is released throughout the day.

Tip 13: Be a big fish in a small pond. Don’t view the fractionalized senior living market as a threat. View it as a marketing opportunity to specialize in a niche.

Tip 14: Don’t date yourself. When publishing articles that aren’t news-oriented, don’t include the date. With information that’s useful no matter when it’s posted, including the date may discourage someone from reading it as time passes.

Tip 15: Connect with everyone on LinkedIn. It’s a content sharing platform—treat it as such. Content marketers benefit from connecting with each other.

Tip 16: Be a fount of information. Content marketing is a test of generosity. It costs nothing to give away your best advice and knowledge, and that’s how you’ll win the relationships that give you the links, the authority, the rank—all leading to getting qualified visitors on your website.

Measure Your Results

Tip 17: Use data to your advantage. How much authority does your page have? Find out with tools like Google Analytics. Make use of available data, and adjust your content accordingly.

Tip 18: Focus on what matters. There’s a very long road between getting a “like” and making money. A very low number of social media interactions convert into leads. Your website is much more likely to get a visit from a Google search, so put the bulk of your energy into where you get the best results.

Tip 19: Share content people want to see. Look at what’s getting shared and clicked the most. Use Google Analytics to find the articles that will get people to subscribe to your newsletter. Put these items on your sharing list.

Tip 20: Know when to share. Track your web traffic and email click-through performance to find out when people click on your content. Generally, 11:00 a.m. Central is a good time to share because both coasts are up and running.

Remember, when it comes to content, it’s all about relevance and authority. By making content, promoting that content, and measuring the results, you will master the content marketing game and get found when prospects are looking for answers.

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Topics: content, marketing, communication

20 Tips for Kickstarting Your Content Marketing (Part 1)

Posted by CC Andrews

Oct 3, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Content marketing. It’s the magic sauce to make your website show up when people in your area search for the service you provide. Showing up depends on your Google rank, but many people don’t realize that Google doesn’t rank websites—it ranks webpages, according to Andy Crestodina, strategic director of Orbit Media Studios. QA Blog Content .jpgThat means your own website’s pages are in competition with each other, and with tons of other pages.

Crestodina’s two presentations at the 2016 Senior Care Marketing Sales (SMASH) Summit, covered the ABCs of content marketing. The key is to make your webpages, and especially the pages where you’re trying to compel visitor action, as competitive as possible, he advised session attendees

There are two things that matter most when it comes to improving your website’s rankings: Relevance and authority. They’re achieved when other people share your content and link to your pages. Research gets lots of links; opinions get lots of shares. It all comes down to producing content.

The three steps to content marketing are:

  1. Make content (i.e., blogs, white papers, studies, etc.)
  2. Promote your content via search engines, social media, email, etc.
  3. Measure your results.

Here are tips for mastering the first step:

Make Content

Tip 1: Start the conversation. Content marketing’s primary role is to answer people’s questions. People do a lot of research before making big decisions. Many senior living shoppers get answers online before reaching out to your sales team. That’s why your webpages should seem like a conversation with a salesperson. Find people’s questions, put them in an article, and answer them.

Tip 2: Say what no one else is saying. Make a list of your strongest opinions, then write about them. If you’re stating a strong opinion—especially one that no else is sharing—it catches people’s attention and is more likely to get shared. Get people talking about you. Increased interactions improve visibility and promote higher levels of interaction.

Tip 3: Produce research. The three main ways to produce research are through observation, aggregation, and surveys. Look at available data sets, then write about your observations. Aggregate research that others have done. Create your own data by surveying others and writing about your findings.

Tip 4: Make your content reader-friendly. Most people visiting your site are scanning your page, so make your content scannable. Use lots of headers, subheaders, and bullet points. Avoid large blocks of text and make use of white space. Include lots of images.

Tip 5: Create the long click. Keep visitors on your page as long as possible. Sometimes visitors find the answer to their question on the first page they look at—and that’s OK.  But if you can interest them in something else, they’ll stay on your site longer and give you more conversion opportunities.

Tip 6: Start a “mastermind group.” Talk to, say, five other content producers—noncompetitive people who also blog or write—each month. Ask them, ‘What are you doing that we can promote? What are you writing that we can collaborate on? Do I know anyone that you want to meet?’ The benefits can be enormous, and it costs nothing.

Tip 7: Collaborate with guest writers. When writing a blog post or article, get quotes from experts, then get your contributors to share your article. Alternately, ask someone to write a post that links to your website. Or, write a guest post that links back to one of your blog posts.

Tip 8: Game the system. Google is now paying more attention to what’s called “semantic SEO” by giving more weight to topics over keywords. Optimize your Google rank with blog posts that are about a topic, not just a word or phrase.

Tip 9: Get ideas from analytics. Google Analytics provides key word and phrase reports that you can use for ideas and examples. If you have a topic in mind for a blog post, create a list of all the phrases that are linked to your topic. Include them in your article to generate more search hits.

Make sure to check out our next post, Part 2 of 20 Tips for Kickstarting Your Content, to learn how to implement Crestodina’s next steps for creating irresistible content and improving your web presence.


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Topics: content, content marketing, marketing