Editor’s note: This post is an excerpt from The #FlipMyFunnel eBook from Terminus.
As marketers, one question we always ask ourselves is “How do we expand our reach?” For years we’ve struggled to cast a wide net to as many people as possible to pour leads into the top of the funnel. Now – it’s time to flip that funnel on its head.
Once sales has worked to identify target accounts (perhaps supplemented by one of the marketing technologies mentioned in the previous chapter), it’s marketing’s job to take that list of accounts and engage with them. This is where account-based marketing comes into play.
The second stage of the flipped funnel is “expansion,” which is what I want to focus on in this blog post. The Expand stage involves maximizing your reach within the list of target companies and influencers identified during the previous stage.
In the B2B game, we often hear an analogy about how marketing is like going fishing. Knowing where trout are in a stream is a great first step toward identifying and catching the exact type of fish that you want, but how much easier would your job be with a fish finder? Not only can you see where the fish are located — you can also get more insight into the size of the fish so that you know you’re on the right track.
This is the main point of this blog post I want to address, as this is likely the toughest stage for marketers who are used to traditional lead-based marketing, where the expansion process begins by choosing a set of channels instead.
Think about account-based marketing as your fish finder, except instead of using sonar-based technology, you’re using cookie- and IP-based targeting to track your target customers on the channels that they’re actively using. This allows you to target your marketing messages to your best-fit customers on the channels where your ads are most likely to be seen, whether that’s social media, display advertising, video, or mobile.
With this kind of IP-based tracking in place, you can do more than target individual leads — you can open the door to entire accounts. This is particularly important for modern B2B marketers given these two facts:
1) The length of the sales cycle is growing longer
2) Purchasing decisions now involve more stakeholders than ever
In a survey of B2B marketers conducted by Carat Enterprise and Google, 76% of respondents indicated that it takes up to 6 months to research and make a purchase. This study also revealed that 33% of B2B decision-making units contain up to 10 people, and more 50% contain up to five. To top it off, according to the Buyersphere Report 2015, CEOs are involved in 38% of B2B buying decisions. That’s a lot of contacts in an account to try and build a relationship with.
The good news is, with account-based advertising, your company’s marketing messages can be placed in front of all of the decision makers within an account. That way, when a pitch for your product is escalated to upper management, that brand awareness is already present.
Expansion in action
Here’s an analogy: let’s say that a healthcare company is actively targeting enterprise employers in the San Francisco area. With a list of employers in hand, our healthcare company can not only target specific leads that they may have already engaged with, they can automatically present personalized ads to other decision makers in those accounts on the same channels that they’re already using. This increases their reach within those accounts, and makes it more likely that leads will already have been exposed to marketing messaging by the time that sales is actively reaching out.
As Craig Rosenberg, the mastermind behind this fine blog said:
“One of the key differences between ABM and outbound sales is that marketing is signed up to deliver ‘always-on’ campaigns to multiple stakeholders in the account.”
The key here is to present marketing messages on the buyer’s schedule, not on yours. In fact, this is a huge differentiator between account-based marketing and outbound sales.
Your “Expansion Pack”
Let’s take a look at a few of the account-based technologies that might feature prominently in your marketing stack for the expansion stage of #FlipMyFunnel.
Hey, that’s my company! Terminus specializes in the account-based marketing space and helps marketers target influencers within the accounts they would like to reach. With Terminus, you can simplify your account-based efforts by marketing and optimizing on the fly across all stages of the buyer’s journey.
Demandbase is an account-based marketing and web personalization tool that makes it possible for businesses to deliver personalized ads across the web.
LeanData, Inc. is taking a completely new approach to account-based selling by making it possible to pull everything under accounts within Salesforce CRM. Their account-based lead management suite also includes account-based reporting for a complete look at your marketing efforts.
Want to learn more about expanding the new frontier of account-based marketing? Download the #FlipMyFunnel ebook now!
Today’s author: Sangram Vajre is the co-founder and CMO of Terminus, a B2B account-based marketing company. Before Terminus, Sangram headed up Marketing at Pardot, which was acquired by Salesforce in 2013.
Sangram is a passionate Marketing geek at heart and loves to solve problems, both analytically and creatively. In today’s marketing world, when companies need to rapidly adapt to changing buyer-centric communication, Sangram finds comfort in all things technology to keep pace with this challenge.
Over the years, Sangram has amassed invaluable experience from his exposure to startups, consulting, and global companies. You can follow him on Twitter at @sangramvajre.