Global technology brands have a tough time when it comes to closing new business.
The long buying cycles, the diverse buying groups, the high risk involved in changing core technologies – often a lead lifespan will extend beyond the average tenure of the key people responsible for progressing them on both sides of the fence.
These challenges can cause sticking points in the growth pipeline that slow or stall opportunities from progressing to a sale.
This is where ABM can potentially help.
There are some unique requirements to set up a successful account based marketing program, however when it’s deployed and managed correctly, it can pay dividends for your business.
1. Working with long buying cycles
Long sales cycles require you to build trust and credibility, and that doesn’t happen overnight. While a 12 month plus lead time can seem daunting, it offers you the time to build a much deeper understanding of your customer and deliver a much more valuable, sustainable solution.
- Building deep, trusted relationships breaks down resistance to change as you naturally become part of the business
- You need to have a vetted qualification system in place to make sure the deal is worth the investment to win it
2. Engaging diverse buying groups
Without an ABM strategy you will only get a superficial industry-level understanding of the levers you can push or pull to support your buying group contacts. For you to provide a truly credible experience, you need to understand the the unique challenges, pain points, and goals of each person in the buying group.
- Intimate knowledge of the buying group means you can navigate internal politics to drive progress
- Selling to mulitple personas and titles requires careful coordination, plus a well managed CRM
3. Addressing high perceived risk attached to change
Bringing in new technology, or changing existing technology can both carry a lot of perceived risk. Just like a long walk however, breaking the task down into small steps is a solid approach to making big risks more manageable, then making removing them achievable.
- Taking the big strategic picture and breaking it down into a roadmap is an acquired skill
- You’ll need to dedicated the right group of resources to the ABM program to bring this to life
4. Entrenched competitors are already embedded
Salesforce are in there! We’ve all faced the classic objection that there’s already a solution in place and we don’t want to change it.
But that doesn’t mean you should just give up. The advantage of working on a long buying cycle (see #1) is that you have time on your side. You can take a truly strategic approach to sales to identify your entrenched competitor’s weaknesses, start small proof-of-concept projects to demonstrate your value (to build trust and credibility) and start to reduce that perceived risk piece by piece by demonstrating how you can become a reliable partner.
- Knowing your enemy is key; a detailed SWOT playbook will pay dividends
- Your tech stack can help you here; CRM, call monitoring, customer feedback all help change hearts and minds
5. Identifying “unknown-unknown” barriers to change
As the old cliche goes, you don’t know what you don’t know. Building a closer relationship with your buying group through account intent data, social listening and personal interactions will help you to discover and navigate around the hidden roadblocks to progress in a long sales journey.
- The focus on one key account allows you to leverage more internal and external resource than in a standard marketing campaign to really interrogate what’s happening
- Shining a light here will dramatically improve performance across your business, as you uncover common challenges applicable across your pipeline
So on balance, is account based marketing worth it for global technology brands?
The answer is, it depends on you having a few key things in place to make that call.
If you can you answer these three questions right now, account based marketing is worth it for your business:
- How much are your top 10% accounts worth annually?
- How much does it cost you to win and retain one?
- How many more of them are there that you could win?
If you would like to learn more about ABM, or to talk to us about whether it might be an appropriate way to win new business for your brand, please get in touch.