In the vast majority of companies, quantity trumps quality when it comes to sales and marketing tactics. In these organizations, marketing strategies include generic email campaigns, cold calling, and mass mailings. These strategies can be highly effective when selling coffee or maid services to consumers, but are often significantly less fruitful for organizations who need to sell to other organizations.
Companies who sell their product or service to other companies must approach marketing and sales from a different place if they want to achieve meaningful results. These high-impact account-based marketing strategies will help your business excel at selling to other businesses.
Put the Relationship Before the Sales Pitch
The most successful salespeople recognize the value of relationships. Never drop your sales pitch without first aiming to connect with the potential client in a personal way that shows you did your homework and you care about the success of their company.
What stood out about their company when you did your research? Do you have any mutual connections on LinkedIn? Use these talking points as leverage for building rapport. Keep detailed notes to ensure each conversation builds on the previous exchanges and nurtures the relationship first and foremost.
When you choose account-based marketing, generic emails should go to the same place as typewriters and VHS tapes. Because the relationship is so critical, every contact you make with a potential client should be customized. This means that:
- Phone calls don’t follow a script, but are instead organic and personal
- Emails begin with a personalized greeting and a connection point (i.e. “How was your vacation last week?”)
- Email content is tweaked to fit the custom needs of the company or executive you’re working with
- Follow-up contact accommodates the client’s preferred schedule, not yours (ask “When would be a good time to reconnect?” or “How soon should I call back to see if there are any questions I can answer or additional resources I can provide?”)
The only exception to the customization rule is social media, which we’ll discuss at length next.
Establish Your Organization as a Thought Leader in the Industry
Utilize your website, blog, whitepapers, newsletters, and social media to establish your organization as a thought leader in the industry. Consider these to be value-add assets. They aim to grow the knowledge base and success of your potential clients and establish your organization as a critical resource.
Think about a company that provides a software solution for Human Resource Management, for example. They might establish themselves as a thought leader by sharing information, metrics, and research on a variety of HR topics, such as the correlation between employee satisfaction and benefits, the best benefits providers in the United States, or the most uplifting websites for employees.
This serves multiple purposes:
- HR execs seeking seemingly unrelated information (such as the correlation between benefits and satisfaction) may be exposed to the company’s brand message and services
- HR execs may provide their contact information in order to download a whitepaper, which grows your pipeline
- The company begins to become an expert and invaluable resource from the perspective of HR executives, which makes moving forward on a deal easier when the time comes
- Social media likes and follows increase as HR professionals seek educational content and exposure becomes consistent and long-term
Market Yourself, Too
The most successful marketers and account managers consider themselves part of the product they sell. Establish a personal brand that accurately reflects the organization as well as your unique offerings and commit to representing that brand in person, over the phone, via email, and through social media.
Consistently reinforce your personal brand. Ensure your LinkedIn profile — and even your personal Facebook and Twitter profiles — accurately reflect who you say you are. Always aim to add value and answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” when speaking with executives and executive assistants.
People are more likely to respond to and buy from somebody they like. Be recognizable, familiar, and likeable among your target market.
By putting the relationship before the pitch, customizing your contact, adding value as a thought leader, and branding yourself, you can yield higher gains from your account-based marketing approach.