14 meetings, with senior decision makers from Fortune 500 accounts.
PayPal. Suntrust Mortgage. Nationwide. Staples and more. All from 4 emails, a few banner ads (and a little bit of magic).
In this article I’m going to give you a deep dive into the strategy, tactics, and messaging we used to plan and execute an ABM program that did just that. So that you can do the same.
Want to know exactly how we did it?
Strap in, let’s go.
Big tech company. Sells to contact center executives. I don’t want to go through all the legal stuff it takes to get permissions so we’re running this one masked.
- The goal. Secure 15 meetings. (Honestly, this was an arbitrary goal.)
- The targets. 44 named accounts. Big companies all in the Fortune 500.
- The contacts: 980 contacts spread across the 44 accounts. Multiple decision makers targeted at each company. Majority were VP and above.
A Quick Account Based Marketing Tutorial
This write-up assumes you have some understanding of account based marketing, and given its place as the topic du jour in marketing circles, you probably do. But just in case you don’t, here’s a good place to start.
Definition of Account Based Marketing: In a nutshell, ABM means strategically marketing to specific accounts using offers that are tailor made for each account.
Anyone who has long sales cycles and/or the opportunity for big deals should be doing this as one of their primary tactics.
Since strategy should always come before messaging and tactics, here’s a window into how we developed ours.
The Questions We Asked Ourselves
Great strategies start by putting yourself in your prospects shoes. Here’s what we asked ourselves:
- What are these peoples’ pains and aspirations?
- How can we deliver a unique value to them?
- What would help them ignite change in their organization? Overcome inertia?
The above simplifies the process (we did research, reviewed the landscape, dove into data, etc.), but I don’t want to bore you with all the nitty gritty. The above are the key questions to answer.
So here’s where we landed.
A customized assessment. In the world of the Fortune 500 the customer experience is one of the major competitive battle grounds.
In our research we learned that contact center execs want to know how their experience stacks up against their industry peers, as well as like-companies at large – it’s a critical point of concern. No big surprise, but revealing enough to guide our strategy.
So we did something seemingly simple, but something no one else was doing. We did some legwork and called in to see what their experience was like.
Yes, it took some work. And a little time. But it was worth it.
The offer had such high perceived value, several folks even asked if they had to pay for it.
Here’s how it worked.
- Spoke with one of our client’s internal consultants. These folks know everything about how a great customer experience should be. You have these experts inside your organization too – whatever it is you sell, whatever their title might be.
- Created an assessment. In the end, we identified 7 key elements to assess.
- Called the companies. And rated what we heard on a scale of 1-5. We were honest in our evaluation because trust is key.
- Charted the results. And made a nice presentation to go along with them. Deliver 10X what people expect in terms of value and they’ll always be willing to chat with you.
- Shared the results. Then we reached out and offered to share the results with our key accounts.
An Example Slide from Our Offer
The Messaging Strategy
To get heard, and land meetings, we knew we needed to do two things:
- Connect emotionally.
- Connect personally (but do this at scale – we had 980 contacts after all)
Here’s the strategy and logic behind how we did it.
Our Strategy – Direct from the Client Brief
I won’t include everything here because it’s a ton of reading, but here are two of the key insights that informed our strategy.
Prepping Our Targets – Air Cover Messaging
To get our topic top-of-mind, we ran banner ads which were targeted based on our email data, as well as sponsored LinkedIn posts. The goal was to get these folks thinking about the frustration of a bad customer experience.
Then POOF! A customer experience assessment lands in their inbox. The ads below spoke directly to the phone systems (known as interactive voice response – IVR).
Now – see precisely how we landed the meetings.
How we Landed the Meetings – The Direct Outreach
The bulk of our responses came from email- yours will too. Here’s the flow of outreach.
- Simply make the offer
- Forward message number one as a second chance. Because people miss things.
- Raise the stakes to push on pain – in this case call out a specific area where they scored poorly (nearly everyone scored poorly in similar areas, so we standardized across the campaign. But you could segment if needed.).
- Show the value others have realized after modernizing their customer experience. In this case, we cited a success story with great proof points (big ROI numbers).
All emails were short and to the point. I can’t share them all, but here’s the first.
(Masked to protect the innocent.)
Quick. Simple. To the point. No oversell. Meeting requests came in the same day.
10 meetings. 8 unique accounts. Fortune 500 companies. Senior decision makers.
Not sure about opportunities yet as not enough time has passed. But if everyone plays it right, we should be in business.
Sales Conversations Reignited
Four additional accounts responded and said they were already working with our client. This allowed the sales team to advance the conversation.
So a total of 14 “next step” responses. We didn’t quite meet our goal (15 meetings) but who cares when you’re sitting down with companies like Nationwide and PayPal?
Go get after it and make your own program. Here’s the secret to success:
Provide unique value that others aren’t, so that you shake your accounts out of complacency and get them to take action.
Be authentic. Do it like no one else can. And write me went your first meeting request comes in.