Although your sales development team may have a list of thousands of prospects, 80% of them will end up being a waste of time. The problem is you still need to comb through the entire list to find the remaining 20%.
Simeon Atkins is an Industry Consultant at Similarweb, specializing in eCommerce and marketing tech. Simeon joined the Predictable Revenue podcast to discuss leveraging account-based marketing (ABM) to stop ineffective outreach.
What is ABM, and what role does it have in sales development?
ABM is a highly targeted and strategic form of customer acquisition. It combines marketing with outbound sales techniques to identify, nurture, and close strategic accounts.
While the goal of traditional inbound marketing is to promote your content to a broad audience, ABM is the reverse: you start by identifying a small number of target accounts and then tailor your content to that audience.
Aside from this narrow approach, ABM has two other key characteristics. The first is its multichannel focus; marketing efforts are spread across email, social media, virtual and in-person events. The goal is to be highly visible to those targeted accounts.
ABM also benefits from a highly structured feedback loop. After each campaign finishes, the ROI is assessed in detail to make improvements where necessary.
Benefits of ABM for sales development reps
Done correctly, ABM can make a sales rep’s job much more manageable. Pre-determining target accounts mean that sales development reps (SDRs) only end up speaking to companies that are a good fit. This significantly cuts down the number of time agents spend cold calling.
In contrast to traditional sales development methods, ABM targets decision-makers or individuals with substantial influence. This leads to shorter sales cycles. These individuals have been pre-engaged through targeted content also results in warmer leads.
Lastly, ABM requires a close alignment between sales development and marketing. To be effective, both teams must work to identify prospects, establish messaging, and decide the best time to reach out to prospects. This breaks down the silos between sales and marketing and allows for more outstanding communication and teamwork.
Common mistakes in implementing ABM
This approach can be a gamechanger for sales development teams, but only if it’s done effectively. Simeon identified three common mistakes to avoid when implementing ABM at your organization.
The first is not being targeted enough in your list of accounts. Many companies go broad because they’re concerned with targeting such a small list–but this narrow approach is what makes ABM so effective. Concentrating on fewer accounts allows your team to become more strategic and focus only on the best prospects.
The second mistake is poor communication between sales and marketing. If these two teams are not on the same page, the strategy will ultimately fail. The easiest solution is to form a dedicated ABM team and include both marketing and sales reps.
Lastly, ABM requires a multichannel approach. Concentrating on fewer marketing channels means the strategy is less likely to be effective.
How to incorporate ABM into your outbound sales techniques
1. Assemble your team
While larger organizations may be able to afford a dedicated ABM team, in most cases, this will consist of a combination of marketing and sales development reps who work on ABM in addition to their everyday roles.
The key is to choose individuals who are well-versed in your customers’ pain points and your solution. They should be strategic, performance-driven people.
2. Identify your target accounts.
If you haven’t already identified a clear ideal customer profile (ICP), start there. Then decide which accounts will offer the highest strategic value and ROI. There are several different metrics you may wish to measure this by. They may have a shorter sales cycle, be a leader in the industry, or represent new territory for your company.
3. Identify the decision-makers within those companies.
The next step is to target specific people within those organizations, ideally those with a high level of influence. Sales intelligence tools can help you find accurate contact information, but don’t overlook social media; you may be able to find good information on a prospect’s LinkedIn profile.
4. Create content for your target audience
Having identified your ICP and target companies, creating content tailored to those people is the next step. Once the campaign launches, sales and marketing need to work together to begin outreach and drive engagement across different channels.
5. Feedback loop
Once the campaign is finished, it’s time to measure the ROI and any other key metrics you’ve been tracking. Determine how successful your first attempt at ABM was and how you can make it more effective next time.
How sales intelligence tools can help with ABM
At its core, ABM is a data-driven approach. Sales intelligence tools can help you put together an ABM campaign from start to finish, from finding the right companies to identifying contacts and putting together relevant content.
The main benefit of using a tool like Similarweb over search engines is that the information will be much more up-to-date. In a constantly changing market, there’s no guarantee that the information you find on Googe will be accurate.
Tools like Similarweb provide you with the information you need to perform outreach and organize that data in one place for easy access.
Incorporating ABM into your sales development strategy
Simeon recommends getting comfortable with the concept and doing further research to understand the benefits of targeting fewer companies. Once you’re satisfied with the idea, start by identifying a few accounts to test drive your ABM approach, then work your way up from there.
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