Personalize Communications and Win High-Value Clients With Account-Based Marketing

Jeff Kalter

If you’re implementing account-based marketing, you’re likely well aware that your success in attracting and converting your target accounts hinges on customizing your communications. There are, of course, tiers of customization required, depending on the size and importance of these accounts. For good accounts, those that are natural fits for your organization and should be easy to land, you can customize your outreach to their industry, organization or role. For the stretch accounts — the ones you’d love to land because they have the power to change the course of your business — you need to go beyond customization to personalization.

Here’s how you can do that. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it because it can set your organization apart from the competition.

How to Open Doors

The first step in landing a new customer is opening the door for interaction between your company and theirs.

Whether you want to start a conversation over the phone, via social media or email, you need to start your message with something that pertains only to that individual. Here are some possibilities:

  • Check out the individual’s LinkedIn profile to see if there are any tidbits you can pull from it. Perhaps he or she mentions a recent accomplishment about which you can talk. Maybe you have a mutual connection or interest.
  • Google the person to discover whether there are any news releases related to them and what they’ve been doing lately
  • If you’re in land-and-expand mode – you have a Fortune 500 account and want to gain business with new divisions – share a case study about what you’ve helped other areas of the company to accomplish. Alternatively, ask a current customer within that company whether you can use their name as a referral to open the conversation.

The key is to make sure your message does not sound like one you could have shared with a multitude of other people.

Build Your Account Knowledge

The research you’ve done has helped to open the door. For real success with ABM personalization, however, you need to dig deeper to understand the whole ecosystem of the account as well as the problems they’re facing that you can help them resolve.

An essential tool for doing that deep dive to gain intelligence about the account is your inside sales team or telemarketing firm. That’s because one-on-one conversations are essential for building a genuine human relationship and learning the intricacies of how a buying team makes decisions.

It’s not necessary, and perhaps not even wise, to start by talking with the individual who you believe is the ultimate decision maker. Instead, your initial foray into an account should be all about gathering research. Speak with a variety of people to learn who is involved in the buying decision — the decision makers and the influencers. Because you can ask open ended questions, you’ll gain valuable information. This will help you to refine your account strategy. While doing so, you’ll enhance relationships and gain trust.

When you decide it’s time to reach out to the decision maker or multiple decision makers, you’ll be armed with information, understand the challenges the organization faces and be able to offer personalized, helpful insights. Also, because you’re talking with many team members, you’ll be less likely to be blindsided by an unforeseen complication that can ultimately delay or kill the sale.
Long-Form Content that Helps Seal the Deal

Back up your personalized emails, phone calls and social outreach with long-form content, such as e-books, webinars and white papers, which you prepare specifically for the prospect. While it sounds like a lot of work, you don’t have to start from scratch. You might already have a generic white paper, for instance, entitled “How to Increase Efficiency with Enterprise Content Management.” You can transform that into “How General Electric can Increase Efficiency with Enterprise Content Management.” You would want to include in the white paper some insights that relate specifically to General Electric. However, you would not have to rewrite and redesign the whole thing.

So do some secondary research online to gain the information to personalize your initial outreach via phone, email or social media. Then start to dig deeper, learning everything you can about the account using one-on-one phone calls. Finally, back everything up with content that’s personalized to the account. You’ll be well on your way to success with account-based marketing.

Jeff Kalter is co-founder and CEO of 3D2B, a provider of customer acquisition and lead generation services.