Social media helps to build your brand. It positions your company as a go-to resource, while continually directing new opportunities into your funnel. It is the ultimate customer engagement tool and a must-have resource for any company.
However, as popular as social media has become, very few digital marketing teams take the time to fully incorporate social media into their account-based marketing (ABM) strategies. That needs to change.
ABM is a more focused and strategic approach to marketing, one where your sales and marketing team must go deep and establish a network of well-defined contacts. This customer-centric marketing approach forces sales and marketing to come up with a well-researched and detailed strategy to engage specific contacts within a given account. It is a powerful strategy that helps you identify the best opportunities. So, how does a digital marketing team use social media in their ABM strategy?
1. Direct Customer Engagement
Business-to-business (B2B) social media sites like LinkedIn provide a number of C-level contacts. These high-ranking executives and decision makers are ideal candidates for solution-based selling. They have the big picture in mind. It is not just about the sticker price of your product or service but more about the benefits of doing business with you. Even if your focus is not on a high-level decision maker, there are still thousands of buyer personas and customer contacts to pursue. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Soft-Sell Approach: High-level contacts do not have time to read an elongated text. They are not interested in a sales pitch. Get to the point. Be direct and succinct in your introduction but do not overburden them with too much information. Focus on the introduction and then move to providing information after they have confirmed their interest.
Inquire About Their Business: Make that introduction about their business. Research their website. Understand their online reputation and identify any news and emerging trends involving their company. Personalization is critical in marketing so be sure to make a connection by appealing to what that contact is most interested in learning.
Ask Open-Ended Questions: Identify a common problem among your customers and ask an open-ended question about that problem with your new prospect. A simple question about what they do and how they do it is often enough to pique their interest. Success is about understanding your contact’s role, the position they hold, the responsibilities they are given and their sphere of influence in their business.
2. Forums, Groups and Cross-Functional Project Teams
There are thousands of forums on LinkedIn, each one devoted to a specific business function or profession. Join these forums and get involved. You can answer questions directly or ask your own within these forums. Again, do not oversell your solution. Focus on solving the problem. Eventually, the discussion will progress to business, but rushing it will not build the rapport you need in order to get a sale.
3. Increased Awareness
Those business whitepapers and customer case studies were written with a specific buyer persona in mind. They represent successes you have had with other customers in a specific market segment. Increasing awareness on social media through an ABM strategy means you are duplicating success by identifying similar buyer personas and customer segments that need to read your best content. Your conversion rates will increase when you have guaranteed that the right people are exposed to your content. An ABM strategy that incorporates social media does exactly that.
4. Improve Market Insight by Becoming Market Experts
All that data you gather about customers is validated and enriched through your ABM efforts on social media. This is where your sales and marketing team’s improved communication with contacts turns your team into market experts. Direct contact through social media positions your team as the ultimate solutions provider. Not only are they forced to map out the most important contacts within an account, but they can validate your marketing data by cross-referencing that data with the data gathered from other customers.
Define ABM Sales Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for Social Media
With ABM and social media, you are better able to measure the efforts of your marketing and sales teams as one cohesive unit. They are no longer measuring success differently. Instead, they are both focused on the same goals. Here are some ideas on how to define KPI for your ABM and social media strategy.
Increased Brand Visibility: These KPIs should be focused on how your ABM strategy has increased awareness of your brand among specific decision makers within key accounts. You can easily define KPIs that track website traffic, conversion rates on landing pages, and click-through-rates on email campaigns. In fact, your KPIs will be more focused as they will track your success generating new opportunities with specific contacts.
Market Gap Analysis: How many accounts have been targeted? What is the gap within your market between the accounts you are targeting with your ABM strategies and the accounts you are not targeting? It is not enough just to focus on the top-tier customers. It is ultimately about having quality data
within each account so that your team can make more informed campaign decisions.
Account Penetration: How far have you penetrated? Has your ABM strategy been successful in locating high-level decision makers, or are all your contacts too far removed from making purchasing decisions? These KPIs can be defined by the number of buyer personas at each account and whether your team has successfully established interest with each of them.
Demand Generation, Sales, and Wallet Share: In the end, it is all about sales. KPIs that track new opportunities generated through your ABM strategy are an absolute must. Additional KPIs should be focused on the increased amount spend by specific customers as a result of your ABM strategy.
Your ABM strategy and social media are made for each other. Social media provides you with the platform to reach out to specific contacts. ABM strategies force your team to go deep and they provide you with data and results at a granular level. It is that data that helps you penetrate your market's largest customers and position your enterprise as a must-have resource.