Why social selling and account-based marketing (ABM) is our answer to thriving post-Covid
The pandemic has shaken the business world to the core – a whirlwind of restrictions, increasingly changing markets, and an accelerated shift to remote working have all driven marketing teams around the world to pivot and transform how they operate.
In the midst of all this frenzy, how can you future-proof your marketing efforts? What kind of marketing is now most effective at getting your brand to the right place? The answer lies in taking the fight right to the source of the business – your customers.
At the start of the pandemic, conversations with our customers, prospects, and other marketers revealed that businesses were in emergency mode, fighting fires just to survive the storm – no one was thinking long-term. This was the time to prove that we are the agile, consultative, and iterative B2B marketing agency we have always known ourselves to be. Harnessing the insights we gathered, we got our thinking caps on and rehashed our entire offer – agility is in our DNA, after all.
And that is how we came up with our super agile bounce back better marketing; there are no big consultancy fees, no monster planning process and no long term commitment, just clear and simple 1- to 10-day projects.
We listened, responded, and evolved, which is exactly the kind of creative and innovative thinking that every business needs in order to have a transformative new year going forward.
Now that we have weathered the lockdown storm, business people’s thinking has shifted to planning for the future; how can we all recalibrate and repurpose our businesses to fit the evolving ‘new normal’?
Here’s our answer: get sales and marketing teams to work hand in hand and develop their social selling skills, and roll it all into an account-based marketing programme (ABM).
Unlike mass marketing where organisations target as many new prospects as possible, ABM is all about identifying high-value accounts and treating them as individual markets. By supporting ABM with social selling, your teams develop the skills they need to be able to identify qualified leads earlier in the sales process and address them with confidence, providing personalised buyer journeys and tailored communication, content and campaigns, which help boost ROI and customer loyalty.
So how do sales and marketing work together?
The first step in launching a solid ABM programme is to get sales and marketing working together: so how lucky is it that we’ve written the guide for just that!
Once you’ve given that a read and your sales and marketing teams are working hand-in hand, it’s time to turn to social selling. We believe that good social selling skills enable marketers and sales teams to put ABM techniques into practice.
If the best way to deliver satisfaction in a customer-service facing environment is with a smile, then the ABM approach supported by social selling allows marketers and salespeople to provide prospects with the personal touch they’re looking for when deciding on their business’ next steps. After all, who would you rather buy from: the salesperson who’s reached out to you to build a personal relationship, or the cold-caller who nabbed your email from the company website?
Get selling, socially and digitally
How do your salespeople sell socially then? Before jumping in: do your research. Social selling is all about identifying key prospects, listening for the right moment to join the conversation, and building meaningful relationships with them.
Focus on fostering a customer-centric approach that puts them in the driver’s seat – for example, when first reaching out, think of the best ways to spark a genuine conversation. Hold the customer in the forefront of your planning: messages should start with pain points or an invite for a casual chat and once talking, lend your ears to the prospect, letting them take the discussion wherever feels comfortable.
To become a true social selling superstar, it’s not about being pushy and jumping in with a hard sell strategy straight away, but about creating rapport with prospects to uncover their concerns and offering your help and guidance if and when it is needed – listen, respond, advise.
Another important aspect of social selling to remember is that it is happening digitally. At tradeshows and expos, prospects that approach your stand can pick up a glossy new factsheet that mentions a specific problem and addresses how your product or service helps people like them solve that problem – and you’re able to jump in to help at any moment. Live events are great at helping marketers gather intel about potential prospects, and the same applies online.
The art of social selling is also about tracking what’s happening on your website every day and understanding this data to spark sales action. We can help your sales professionals assess the digital footprint your customers leave every time they visit your site, developing the skills they need to spot trends and take action.
Social selling skills empower salespeople, and ABM techniques make it impossible for customers to walk away.
How does it work in practice?
Instead of doing a little with a lot by hopping on LinkedIn Campaign Manager and building audiences that fit your buyer persona for example, we do a lot with a little, making the experience more individual and personable.
We work closely with your sales team to build up a list of up to 1000 highly-qualified leads on Sales Navigator, ensuring that everyone you speak to has the potential to become a paying customer. Get in touch to learn more.
When prospects are interested, what next?
This is where we think inbound marketing can seamlessly work its way into the equation. Inbound marketing focuses on attracting customers to products and services using content marketing, social media marketing, enjoyable site experiences, branding, and search engine optimisation.
If social selling skills and the ABM approach help to identify the right prospects digitally and initiate conversation, then inbound marketing techniques allow you to equip your audience with useful and educational information that answers their questions. By aligning yourself with prospects’ business needs, you can create and share tailored content with individuals, via messenger campaigns on LinkedIn for example, and repurpose that content on your site as part of your portfolio, building authority and credibility. Or you can provide prospects with already existing content that fits the bill.
If direct contact is not your style, you can share your content on the channels that your prospects are likely to use, such as in groups on different social media platforms. When creating content and copy you’ll share with prospects, remember to use keywords that your target audience is likely to use when searching for your type of company and the services you offer. Once they show enough interest. you can start converting them by offering compelling content, such as a whitepaper, case study, factsheet, or any other content asset, in exchange for their contact information.
And remember to have fun with your content! Nothing translates like passion, energy and enthusiasm; if you’re getting excited about your content, you can be sure that prospects will too. There’s no better way of proving that you’re an agile, data-driven marketer that knows their stuff than through sharing what you learn along the way.
Combining savvy social selling with ABM and inbound marketing magic enables you to truly get the best out of marketing; your people can skillfully target high-value prospects and educate them using exciting content exactly when they want it.
And it doesn’t stop there
It’s all about the holistic approach. The care and devotion that social selling marketers exercise continues even after the sale with constant support and engagement via email and social media marketing. This helps to turn customers into valuable brand ambassadors who will happily vouch for your company, and is a great way of upselling to current customers, nurturing a long-term partnership.
Get started on your journey to a truly transformative year
In the absence of face-to-face networking opportunities, finding the right way to talk to clients is crucial – we can help. Social selling and ABM is our big, bold and game-changing recipe for marketing and sales teams ready to kick it up a notch – schedule a call with us to get started.