Customers Offer Trusted Information About Buyer Value Because Business Networks Are Rich with Potential Prospects. Businesses Shouldn’t Miss the Impact of Customers as Advocates to Boost ABM Campaigns
ABM has exploded in the B2B marketing scenario. It is incredibly precise, targeted and personalized when compared with other inbound and outbound strategies.
65% marketers have confirmed that ABM is helping them find customers easily. ABM aligns the whole organization around the right kind of customers. Here the right customers are-
- In-market individuals
- Firms that are poised to grow
- Firms that are going to be great for employees to work with
However, marketing communities think that ABM as a functionality is broken.
Hence the lingering question that marketers have is, “How do you make ABM work?”
Why Should Enterprises Incorporate Customer Voices in Their ABM Campaigns?
Trust! Today’s consumers are getting overwhelmed about the volume of promotional digital content that they receive. This content is entering from every digital medium that consumers have a footprint on. Hence, we are looking at content entering from Social Media, emails, search engines, video hosting sites etc. Brands are going out of the way to ensure that marketing campaigns are genuine and holistic. Although, almost every brand is doing it and consumers are on the receiving end of it.
This phenomenon has pushed consumers to set up social filters in an attempt to ignore unwanted content. Although, the most unconducive outcome from this is consumers losing respect towards brands. Brands need to hit the panic button! Industry atmosphere is calling for a change – a change in branding and marketing methods and ABM is emerging to be an authentic solution for brands to gain back lost customer trust.
48% of consumers don’t trust promotional content from businesses, anymore. 83% of customers now only rely on peers, friends and family members for reviews on product quality. Businesses today cannot thrive without ingesting the power of authentic customers. Enterprises need to start building customers that feel strongly about their brand followed by discovering, nurturing and mobilizing these trusted sources as brand advocates. This is important so that advocates persuade customers that are a part of the ABM funnel to buy products.
We wanted to delve deeper in order to understand a way in which customer voices can be seamlessly integrated into ABM campaigns. We reached out to Terminus and had Sangram Vajre, Chief Evangelist & Co-Founder of the company, exclusively speak with us. Terminus is one of the global leaders in ABM platforms, especially the Account Based Execution sphere. Sangram is also the Host of the daily FlipMyFunnel podcast.
“Know your future customer pain points and articulate back to them with your current customer. Let’s say you have a great case study in the financial services industry with tech buyers and you are trying to get more customers in that sector. The best 1:1 campaign you could ever run, is showing another company in the same industry- how your customers are making “magic” happen while they are struggling to make a dent. Imagine showcasing the case studies and stories through 1:1 advertising, direct mail, an industry-focused webinar focused on their pain points with their peer (and your customer) as the keynote. The conversation quickly moves from what your products do to how do I get similar results as this customer of yours,” Sangram said.
Running ABM Programs With the Advocate-First Approach
One of the best things about running Advocate-first campaigns is that they work at various parts of the ABM funnel. Here is a quick glance at how advocates work in different parts of a funnel-
Advocates can be kept at the center of a story during the awareness stage of an ABM funnel. When brands leverage advocates to narrate powerful stories about them, the process becomes extremely engaging. Reviews, in-person events, and referrals also work really well.
Getting in touch with bigger companies or senior people becomes extremely challenging for BDRs. This is where brands can utilize the power of referrals. Brands can engage customers by developing creative referral campaigns. So, instead of running a plain referral campaign, brands can ask for suggestions from customers that would transform a brand. This becomes a game—a fun activity and garners a lot of leads.
Reviews work really well during the consideration process. Brands in this stage, essentially try and speed up the process of a customer in an ABM funnel to convert into a sale. In order to consider buying a product, potential customers love to read reviews. Customers are reading from advocates/influencers that they resonate with.
Hence brands should channelize a large volume of reviews for its customers. Companies like Influitive facilitate platforms for the right customers to connect to the right reviews. Historical data proves that these initiatives work really well.
Webinars or live events are also some effective methods to influence customers in the consideration stage. Live events do really well wherein brands can connect advocates with prospects and make them interact. Such events typically work really well with a lesser number of prospects. Larger audiences are noisier and less intimate. Hence, it is highly recommended for brands to use the text (instead of a video) format for larger crowds.
This works like magic to attract prospective buyers. It is far better than prospects interacting directly with business-centric content or sales representatives
The key step for every brand out there, the purchase section of the funnel can get tricky. Customers are always looking at a brand’s closest competitor before making a purchase. How do brands close the sale?
Nowadays, brands are leveraging on tailored reference calls to close that sale. It’s a great way to gather a bunch of people and connect them. It’s a far better strategy than calling your prospects and asking them to buy something just to meet the numbers. Instead, a better way to do this is to connect two people, one an advocate and the other a prospect and have them speak. The result – a healthier conversation that doesn’t exclusively revolve around business. Advocates and prospects conduct a regular conversation to find common interests other than discussing business. They connect and increase their network-perhaps even become friends. Such an initiative speaks volumes for brands pertaining to a human-first approach. Not just that, it reinforces brand authenticity and brand value.
Can advocate powered ABM strategies be applied post sales? Absolutely!
Education is a huge faction of post sales to ‘delight’ consumers. As a B2B brand, if you have an organization who you already work with your product for certain departments, invite people from other departments to educate them about what you are doing. Even for teams that you work with, imparting post-sales product knowledge is the key that users become consumer-advocates for your brand.
Videos are another major part of customer delight! This works really well for multi-product companies. Satisfied customers can speak great things about certain products that they have bought. Looking at such testimonials automatically results in more sales to an audience that resonates with the video testimonial.
Ulrika Bergström, Head of Customer Experience, Vendemore, exclusively spoke to us to provide insights on how advocates change buyer decisions in an ABM Funnel. Vendemore serves clients globally providing their expertise on ABM.
“The importance of finding and supporting advocates if of course crucial for any customer journey. One of the purposes of doing ABM is to create and find advocates. Using the right messages and adapting these based on the audience’s reactions, one can influence and support these advocates. Thereby the probability of a positive response to your campaign and offer will increase.”
Changing Nature of Buying Products
B2B buyers are changing. Unlike just a few years back, when B2B buyers used to go to trade shows or read large reports from analysts etc. that’s not the case anymore. Buyers are increasingly visiting websites like G2 Crowd to read authentic reviews on B2B software. G2 Crowd has managed to get around 2 million customers to its website, monthly.
One of the main reasons B2B software review sites are getting popular is that people are investing in software that defines their job roles and careers. 90% of B2B software users are doing their own online research to buy products.
According to Forrester, 50% of B2B buyers who are looking for reviews online are searching for peer experiences. Every marketer will always vouch for their product to be the best. Sales representatives will always give fantastic product demos.
But the reality is people are looking for authenticity in a product review. So what are some methods by which advocates can be integrated into this process?
Three Capabilities to Fully Utilize the Power of Advocates in ABM Strategies
90% of business buyers state that when they are ready to buy software they would contact the vendor, and not vice-versa.
LinkedIn can match existing intent data sets to user personas. This list can be uploaded to LinkedIn’s campaign manager. Further, marketers can create highly personalized campaigns using this data, but with the customer’s voice. The beauty of this technology is that it maps the right advocate to the right persona depending on which section of the ABM funnel the customer is in.
Sales grew by 19% after websites were providing personalized advocacy content.
Today, websites will be the last step that business buyers will visit. But when they do, the last thing that they want to see is a static website. Website personalization includes inserting a personalization code from a marketing automation tool. This is followed by creating buckets of targeted accounts. This setup allows personalized advocate data to website visitors. Personalization really accelerates brand perception.
Video Marketing strategies are ensuring revenue growth of 49%
Video marketing is going to be the most utilized technology by marketers. However, most brands get frustrated because they make excelling videos but do not get viewership. Publishing a video on YouTube or a website’s home page will not get viewership.
One of the best ways to target correct advocate videos to correct prospects is-
- Matching company names downloaded from intent data to your existing database
- The email addresses of the accounts matched can be taken out
- This combined information can be further imported in a preferred video publishing tool
- These videos then, via ABM capabilities will get to see target video content with advocates speaking in it
As a result of targeted video marketing, businesses are seeing a huge spike in all their statistics.
Increasing Advocates by Converting Customers
Retaining existing customers and adding new ones is basically Marketing 101. But, loyal customers account for 10X. It is these loyal customers that brands should look at to transform into advocates. Typically, only 20% of customers fall under this criteria. So, how do brands get more than that number of customers to turn into advocates?
One of the biggest challenges for marketing teams is to focus on the first part of a customer’s buying journey. Stages in a consumer’s buying lifecycle post the purchase stage are where customers can be transformed into advocates. The resources to achieve this are rare but there are some great methods to get this done.
If, buyer goals are mapped with buyer stages then, marketers can gauge the right content to target to them.
This content can be transformed into programs for different stages. Brands should know the correct metrics to gauge program performance. ABM capabilities can also, other than getting prospects, track customer engagement for campaigns that brands initiate. Lastly, brands should ensure that all stakeholders are engaging with customers.
When it comes to ABM, the core strategy for marketing teams should revolve around advocacy. One of the best aspects of ABM is that advocate voice can be injected in every part of the funnel. Structuring the advocacy community becomes a cakewalk. Consumer and peer reviews are key ABM assets. These reviews can be comprehensively applied across each and every marketing channel. Advocates need to be convinced to be advocates. Marketing teams should be thoughtful while designing advocate community campaigns. Customer engagement should be tracked dynamically. ABM is an extremely powerful method to bolster ROI.
We reached out to Madison Logic to access valuable insights on ABM-powered ROI. Madison Logic’s ABM platform is the only global ABM Platform currently.
Jenn Steele, CMO, Madison Logic, spoke exclusively with us regarding the subject.
“Account-based marketing promises to deliver real ROI for marketing spend. It allows a B2B marketer to target only the accounts that matter most, and the most robust platforms can identify both accounts actively researching relevant products and solutions AND the individuals in those accounts doing that research. These platforms deliver content and messaging only to those researching, relevant individuals. With platforms that deliver targeting like this, you’re not hitting the mail room or the sales team. You’re avoiding the receptionist. You’re only getting the relevant members buying committee. Interestingly, you can use the same data to identify unknown companies you didn’t even know researching products like yours. Fully-leveraged ABM allows B2B marketers to prioritize their efforts, concentrating on the accounts and buying committees most likely to be in-market for specific products. Getting the right message to the right people at the right time increases close rates and decreases time in the funnel—big wins!”