A Quick Insight On Named Accounts
There has been a shift from direct marketing and lead chasing to named account marketing strategy. In the past, marketers, and sales folks would concentrate on chasing leads thinking it to be the best strategy for increasing sales. However, the leads followed are generally unsystematic, ungoverned and erratic, making the whole process very tedious, unprofitable and extensive. Named accounts provide the perfect alternative to chase these leads is a systematic, governed and resourceful process.
Named accounts are accounts of a company assigned to sales or marketing representatives and feature engagement of multiple prospects within the same company.
An informed decision regarding a proposal can be made by understanding the company’s intentions. Hence, named accounts not only regulate the company’s projects but also judge their future prospects and direct sale points.
The Function of Named Accounts in Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
Account-Based Marketing or ABM is incorporating named accounts in the marketing strategy. Nonetheless, marketers need to be particular that the named accounts not only reflect the multiple account lists but also hold other informative and relevant data. It is essential to have a comprehensive detailed database to work on creating the most relevant sales strategy to attract the best value customers.
A detailed specific vigilant approach is needed by the marketers towards named accounts. ABM is much more than just a compilation of several hundreds of accounts. It involves a particular insight into those accounts to be able to nurture and develop a detailed value proposition. It is imperative to comprehend the business issues faced by individual accounts to build a defensive strategy aimed at its resolution which will be convincing to the decision-makers.
Further, the marketer needs to be fundamentally involved in the accounts team which is possible only with sales-marketing alignment. For this, the target list needs to be more than just an element in the marketer’s database.
Also under ABM, an account-specific marketing plan is integrated with a particular sales plan. This helps in the alignment and integration of the sales marketing pitch making the marketer an essential component of the accounts team.
Named accounts approach improves sales effectively through the following points:
- By avoiding duplication of efforts by the representatives. Named accounts help by streamlining the process ensuring that only one team or representative is involved in selling to a particular company at any given time.
- In the modern business setup, the majority of companies have multiple decision-makers. Named accounts to help in the identification of the strategic and relevant key players thereby assembling a focused and efficient sales marketing strategy rather than following an erratic lead-based plan.
Transitioning To Named Accounts Strategy
ABM can be generalized as a very laid back systematic approach. Hence, the actual incorporation of ABM causing a shift to named accounts from leads doesn’t require any drastic measures per se. It just involves a strategic rearrangement of the leads or contacts. This rearrangement, however, can become very tedious manually. It is a two-way process:
- The representative needs to first identify the relevant leads within the company that is involved in the product or service in question.
- Secondly, the representative then needs to flag the lead in the CRM and focus on identifying and building more strategic leads from that account and developing a pitch around them.
The process may sound intimidating since fundamentally both CRM and marketing automation systems are focused on leads, and the leads may or may not be associated with the said company accounts. However, predictive analysis can effectively shift this process from manual to automated making it smooth and hassle-free.
Modifying Content For ABM
Content marketing is an effective unified marketing tool and ultimately an essential part of the ABM strategy. One of the most effective techniques of stocking the funnel and shifting prospects to the close is providing handy relevant content that can be used by the prospects to successfully solve business problems.
A company’s fundamental approach to its content marketing policy does not need to be radically changed in order for it to form and execute an ABM sourced content marketing strategy. ABM simply provides information for relevant targeting and promotion of the company’s sales strategy which contributes to the direction and not the displacement of the company’s broader marketing vision.
The key distinction with ABM is that it focuses on promoting the ‘who’ within its content marketing. The accounts are looked upon as focused markets and the contacts within those accounts are their drivers or influencers. In the end, ABM depends on strategizing in the appropriate direction and focusing on potential target promotion.
To begin with, the specific companies need to be identified and the content needs to focus on these companies. Further, the key drivers within those accounts will also need to be identified and targeted. These specific drivers then need to be engaged and pushed down the funnel towards its close by making the content more specific and positioned.
This leads us to the following points:
1. The Need To Flip The Funnel
The traditional marketing funnel is outdated since it requires the marketers to focus on bringing in new customers rather than nurturing the existing ones. The marketing paradigm needs to be shifted.
Customer service has to be elevated from its secondary role to the top in the funnel and it needs to move from back end office strategy to companywide operation requiring an absolute realignment of the marketing funnel strategy.
The marketing funnel starts with acquiring as many prospects as possible and pushing them into conversion. As the prospects move toward the path of conversion, the funnel narrows down to the customers who reach the purchase point.
With ABM, the process focuses on the identified ideal client companies, mostly the ones present in the middle or towards the end of the traditional funnel. Beckoning them with special campaigns and establishing enduring associations will have a higher probability of leading them to new opportunities.
2. How To Go About Flipping It
For content marketing purposes, the process of flipping can be undertaken by two methods. Firstly, individual accounts need to have manually-created personalized content. And, secondly, the existing collateral can be segmented using the marketing automation system.
The first approach simply requires adapting the existing available content. For example, an eBook, review or customer interview can be reformatted into several blog posts and even videos.
The emphasis here is always on the “who”. The “how” of the marketing strategy is just built around the “who”.
3. Tackling The Target Audience Dilemma And Difficulties
The whole point of ABM is the concentration on a very specific and relatively small pool of prospects and individuals, in some cases even focusing solely on one particular prospect.
Hence, the need to stay connected with the audience about their dilemmas becomes even more imperative than in the general marketing strategy.
One needs in-depth knowledge and understanding of the prospects to create profile-specific content. Focusing solely on increasing sales, company ROI and improving on lead conversion can backfire if the prospect is not handled tactfully with understanding and a need to simplify and ease his life.
4. Quality Is More Important Than Quantity
With the traditional B2B marketing strategy, quantity rules over brand worth, online marketing or SEO.
ABM differs in this by placing more importance on quality and a higher emphasis on focused content. Since ABM targets a specialized niche of engaging prospects, the content requires in-depth research with better focus than a generalized niche, and around the named accounts, wherever possible.
5. Comprehensible Success Evaluations
The evaluation meters of success need to be well defined in order to create goal-specific content. Conventional measures like share prices, the number of tweets and retweets, online traffic, etc are not sufficient for ABM. It requires more concentrated metrics like velocity data, revenue generation, and lead traffic.
6. Being Innovative, Imaginative And Appealing
The most effective way to keep people interested is by engaging them. They can be engaged through their senses and by interaction with other people. We need to grab their attention and maintain it.
Nobody stays interested in a black and white monochrome. People require color to satisfy their senses. This is particularly true with ABM.
Since ABM already has very limited concentrated prospects, we need to maintain their interests. The content needs to be engaging, fun and quirky, created around the specific named accounts. A brand new concept is not necessarily needed every time, but a new twist to the old content is appreciated by all.
7. The Account Based Sales Development Reps (SDRs)
The SDRs typically search through the internet, Google prospects, use LinkedIn, etc to come up with leads and connect with the right prospects.
With ABM, however, this process is streamlined with the SDRs concentrating on the outbound traffic of the accounts rather than on multiple sites to find their key influencers.
8. Inbound Lead Routing
One of the biggest loopholes in general digital and inbound marketing is that a lot of prospects are lost in even the best of systems. In an ABM study by Oracle, it was revealed that as many as 200,000 valid prospective leads in a company’s CRM had never been chased and were lost to the uncertainties.
ABM streamlines this inbound lead routing by matching the company contacts who responded positively to the CTA with the relevant account data of that company.
Hence, when a prospect contacts the company for information or demos, the prospect gets a response from the company’s accounts and marketing team as well. Similarly, if an engagement activity is observed in one of the top accounts, we need to contact them first.
Named Accounts Are Just The Beginning
Named accounts are an integral part of the Account-Based Marketing system which is a B2B model designed and aimed at targeting potential companies for the purpose of personalizing marketing relationships. It involves a shift away from the traditional approach but the shift required is not too radical, and the rewards reaped are tremendous.
Originally published on January 20, 2020. Updated on April 2, 2022.