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Wednesday, 04 May 2016 00:00

The Essential Role of Telemarketing in Account Based Marketing

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More than 60 percent of companies plan to invest in technology for ABM to better align sales and marketing over the next twelve months.” — Sirius Decisions, 2015 State of Account Based Marketing

Account based marketing (ABM), a term coined by ITSMA in 2004, is not new. As shown by Sirius Decision’s research, however, it is gaining traction. Companies are voting with their wallets by investing in technology to support the strategy.

What Is Account Based Marketing?

Account based marketing recognizes that large organizations have tremendous sales potential, and each should be treated as its own market. Instead of fishing for business with a net, this strategy is like fishing with a spear. There is no waste.

Vendors identify their targeted large accounts and focus on each holistically. With some Fortune 500 companies reaching revenues higher than the GDPs of some nations, there’s a strong rationale behind this approach. 

Why It Works

Account based marketing enables vendors to:

  • Customize campaigns based on an account’s needs
  • Use one piece of business within a company as a stepping stone to others, gradually increasing their foothold 

Why Now?

Why is account based marketing on the rise? After all, salespeople have zeroed in on accounts for decades. Why are marketers finally jumping in with them?  Because they now have the tools required. They can, for example, centralize data on accounts and act on it using marketing automation. Also, they can target accounts and individuals with customized information on the web.

Account based marketing tactics include web pages, emails, direct mail, retargeting and much more customized to an account. The tactic we want to focus on today is telemarketing or inside sales.

Why Telemarketing?

With all these nifty new tools online, why is telemarketing in the picture? Well, telemarketing (done right) has been a personalized medium since its inception. And that’s the foundation of account based marketing.

Here are three ways that telemarketing can bolster your account based marketing strategy.

  1. Account Profiling: Gaining Intelligence

    You’re not selling to a company because companies don’t buy. People do. So, you’re selling to individuals within companies. There are multiple decision makers and influencers. You need to know who the key people are and their roles in decision making.

    You can start to learn who’s who by reviewing profiles on LinkedIn, but you’ll only find the tip of the iceberg. How one professional relates to the next and each individual’s input into the buying decision will remain murky unless you talk to associates at the company. Through multiple conversations with a mix of people, you can map the relationships in the account, so you understand better how to step from one to the next.

    You also need an in-depth knowledge of the issues and opportunities associates are facing. This intelligence will help you to craft messages that resonate, compel people to listen and help you to close a sale.

    Trolling the web may help you ascertain some problems an organization is grappling with, but corporations tend to keep their issues to themselves. Revealing an issue in a one-on-one conversation is okay. However, business leaders don’t want their customers and competition to know all about the obstacles that litter their way, or even the opportunities they’re considering. It takes empathetic conversations to discover the real story hiding behind the public facade.

    Account profiling is all about gaining the market intelligence you need to reach out to the right people at a business with the right message at the right time. Today’s tools can help make it happen. Reverse-IP lookup, for example, enables you to personalize the content an individual sees on your website. Then you can track how they engage with your content and provide real-time information that’s in sync with where they are in the buying cycle.

  2. Lead Generation, Qualification and Appointment Setting

    Uses for the intelligence you’ve gathered go beyond the digital realm. Now you know who you need to contact. You can warm up a relationship using emails or social selling, but your eventual goal is a personal, professional conversation that allows you to generate leads. A minority of contacts may be qualified and ready to buy. If so, set up an appointment. Gather information about the other leads and then put them back into the bucket for lead nurturing. 

    Before you make calls to these key contacts, make sure you’ve prepared the content you need to support them. You can create white papers and webinars tailored to an account’s needs. 

    During these calls, you are continuing to develop intelligence that you can use to refine and improve your account strategy and messaging.

  3. Event Marketing

    While there are many tactics marketers use in account based marketing, events are one of the most important ones. Before an event, make sure you invite the key stakeholders from your targeted accounts. Send snail mail invitations, emails and follow up with a phone call. During the phone call, discuss how the event can help your contact and set up an appointment for him or her to talk with a salesperson.

    Have a post-event plan in place that includes what you’ll focus on in a follow-up phone call, the content you’ll offer and how you’ll nurture leads.

Because of the personalized nature of account based marketing and the in-depth information required to execute a successful strategy, phone conversations can take your results to the next level. Use the phone to learn more about accounts, generate and qualify leads, set appointments and improve the return from your events.