Studies from eMarketer show that only 17% of B2B marketers worldwide say their ABM program was mature and driving strategic growth. The other 83% mentioned that their biggest challenge is ensuring you have the right content for an ABM approach. In a recent article, Dan Rosenberg at Octane11 mentioned that he’s surprised that “ensuring you have the right content for an account-based approach” is at the top of the list of challenges for us Marketing Professionals implementing ABM. He says, “you already have plenty of content for an ABM approach – in your sales decks, product sheets, and even your existing website.” But, Eric Gruber (Personal ABM CEO) argues that most content does NOT support ABM nor sales.
In the podcast below, you’ll learn why,
Here Are the Key Points from Personal ABM CEO Eric Gruber
- Most content does not support sales in driving conversations and sales cycles with accounts that are stuck in status quo or in the funnel. It does not support account management and customer teams in their efforts to reduce churn, improve margin growth and increase customer lifetime value through account expansion. And, in most cases, the content is disjointed. It does not lead prospects to the next step once the top-of-funnel campaigns get buyers excited about the ideas that the company holds so dear. As a result, buyers are feeling around in the dark.
- You cannot have content that supports ABM until you shift your definition of ABM. Too many sales and marketing organizations still think of ABM as a lead generation tactic. ABM is about winning, protecting, and expanding key accounts that can provide the greatest revenue growth potential. In other words, it’s about getting new accounts to revenue – and existing accounts to even more revenue. Until organizations change their ABM definition to go beyond “top of the funnel”, you will not have content that support ABM or sales.
- You want to be like Cassandra Jowett from Pathfactory and compare the buyer’s journey to the “floor is lava” game that kids play and is now a popular game show on Netflix. You have all these jumping points to get buyers to the safe harbor, and you want to make sure they don’t fall into the lava halfway through their journey. You want buyers to jump from one rock to the next one and so on, and you want to lay out the path in a very clear way. Unfortunately, the path is not clear for most buyers and it’s one of the reasons why companies are turning to Personal ABM to help them revamp their ABM content program to re-engage accounts that went dark and stopped engaging with sales and marketing,
- In many cases, teams aren’t thinking about the content for those tier 1 accounts that showed intent but are unengaged. If prospects are not engaging with your company and your content, it’s because you lacked personal relevance where you can make a personal connection with the buyers. They need more than persona-based content.
- Teams aren’t thinking about the content they need for tier 1 accounts that are unengaged and unresponsive to sales and marketing, as these accounts are part of the 60% of the market that is stuck in status quo. Most content is targeted at the 10% of the market that is already looking or they are open to buying.
- Studies from Challenger show that 86% of content and messaging has no commercial impact on the buyer. That means only 14% of content and messaging is communicated in such a way to suggest a valid reason for a change – and it’s leading to unresponsiveness.
- In many cases, content is thought of as a pre-sales tool to get prospects into the funnel. But, we want to get prospects to the finish line. This includes going beyond using content to influence the conversations that sales and marketing teams need to have. We need to influence the internal conversations that buyers are having with content that helps the different buyers and influencers understand the gaps and how it impacts them and the team as a whole as they work to accomplish strategic initiatives. Most content is persona-based vs. having content that brings together different personas and different departments to drive a consensus.
- Once we drive stage progression, we want to help these accounts be better “clients” that get the most value from your solution and will want to keep investing. That’s why you need content that supports deliberate nurturing that drives adoption, renewal, advocacy and expansion. Customer success and account management teams need greater support as Corporate Visions recently found that there is no differentiation between account acquisition, account retention, and account expansion conversations.
- You cannot have content that supports ABM and sales if the focus is just on thought leadership. ABM content goes beyond thought leadership. While thought leadership marketing content that’s created for lead gen can create access to high-value decision-makers (studies show that 47% of decision-makers share their contact info after reading thought leadership content), it tends to lead to an RFP. Almost half of the decision-makers said they invite producers of thought leadership content to bid on a project when they had not previously considered the organization. However, most of our clients do not like RFPs because it becomes a price battle that limits margin growth. And, those that do RFPs prefer to lead it vs. respond to RFPs that they are invited to.
- Most articles and white papers that are created for the masses miss commercial insights that speak to specific gaps specific organizations have and the impacts it has on different divisions, ranks, individuals, and customers. And, they don’t show how the gaps can only be filled by that organization and why the organization should not try to use internal resources or the competition to fix their challenges. In most cases, your marketing content is only providing free consulting that allows prospects to take free education, invite sales to the bidding process (along with your competition) and use the content to tell your competitors what they are looking for.
- Sales teams are left to their own devices to reframe prospects thoughts and ideas, demonstrate their relevance and make an emotional connection, build the business case, teach for differentiation and move the prospects through the funnel to the close as the content is designed to support campaigns vs. the “selling conversations” and “interactions” that sales need to have to close accounts. If you’re truly engaging in ABM, then content needs to originate from sales. Then after having a proof-of-concept and seeing the content impact first-hand, you integrate it into the broader marketing picture and campaigns.
- When marketing focuses on campaigns with a focus on “personas”, we typically react to general pain points. But, pain alone doesn’t move large, complex deals forward. It needs to align with strategic initiatives. Just look at how many companies have disjointed IT systems and how few are making an investment for change. Those that do move forward are part of the 10% of the market that is already open to buying. It’s this market that is differentiating on price and engaging in a reverse sales auction. Which vendor will give the most needed features at the lowest price?
- Your buyers are human beings – not personas. So, the content needs to speak to the human buyers within the accounts you want to win, protect and expand. It needs to focus on their business problem, the root causes (gaps), and the personal impacts.
- We need to make our ABM content personal – not just personalized. Some of the more advanced ABM organizations are creating content based on intent data that is focused on in-market accounts, what they are searching for and where they are in the buying process. While sales and marketing may be delivering a personalized experience – it’s still not a “personal” experience that’s tailored specifically for a particular company and its buyers. You can’t have a personal experience when sales and marketing clump together ideal, in-market accounts that are in the same buying stage and deliver campaign/templated content and messaging based on general assumptions, pain points, challenges and “large” industry shifts.
- The next generation of ABM will be about supplementing personalized experiences with a “more personal experience” that is focused on specific accounts that sales and marketing want to win, protect, or expand. It will go beyond thought leadership and lead gen content. It will start focusing on how we are going to improve prospect interactions, create a greater customer experience, and accelerate accounts through their buying journey. It will focus on how we will protect and expand key accounts.
Below, You Will Find Additional Podcasts Related to ABM Content
Click the Image Below to Read Eric’s ABM Content Article on the PathFactory Blog