For many marketing organizations, ABM is a powerful acronym these days. To helps marketers harness that power, we hosted a few ABM marketing expert panelists last week to chat about account-based marketing, and the secret weapon you can arm that can make your ABM program truly remarkable in 2017. This is a recap of that webinar session.

What is Account-Based Marketing?

Before we can get into the experts’ discussion on how to take your ABM program to the next level, let’s back up a bit. There are varying definitions of what account-based marketing is, so to provide valuable insights for your ABM strategy, it’s best to define it for the purposes of this blog: ABM’s focus is on generating awareness and demand within targeted customer accounts rather than individual leads. Instead of the ‘spray and pray’ mentality of putting your marketing out there and hoping you’ll hit someone who’s interested, account-based marketing is more like a ‘dart gun’ approach, where you determine which companies are most likely to become customers, and then you target them specifically with your marketing efforts.

Is ABM imperative to your marketing efforts?

You could stick with ‘spray and pray’ marketing, but did you know that 92% of marketers worldwide believe account-based marketing is important to their marketing efforts? That’s because lead generation, which focuses on marketing to individual leads, doesn’t typically account for how the decision-making process in enterprises works; the average B2B process now requires 5.4 signatures, according to Harvard Business Review! So if your marketing is just attracting one person, it may be the wrong person who doesn’t have the decision-making influence you need to close the deal.

Account-based marketing is also focused on advocacy; you can truly drive revenue when you focus on the most valuable accounts, engaging them on a deeper and more personal level so they not only become customers, they become advocates. This leads to more opportunity to up-sell, cross-sell, gain referrals, and build a long-term loyal customer base.

ABM is an exciting opportunity for marketing organizations. So how can you take your ABM program further and create engaged advocates? Here are a few takeaways from the recent webinar:

Takeaway #1: How ABM works using the ‘flipped funnel’

Sangram Vajre, one of the panelists of the webinar, is co-founder and CMO of Terminus. He is also the founder of the #FlipMyFunnel community. #FlipMyFunnel focuses on flipping the traditional marketing funnel for the purpose of account-based marketing:

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The traditional marketing funnel’s stages typically include: Awareness, Interest, Consideration and Purchase. A few years ago, Sangram recognized that this may not be the most effective way to reach the leads who would be most likely to become customers. In fact, Sangram said, 99% of what we do traditionally as marketers doesn’t drive revenue for the company. That’s not a stat any marketer would be pleased about. So, feeling inspired and trying to work through and explain his idea, Sangram drew the funnel, but flipped, on a napkin, and renamed the funnel stages to Identify, Expand, Engage, and Advocate.

What do these new funnel stages mean?

To do account-based marketing well, you have to know what to focus on at each stage.

  • Identify: This stage is all about identifying your best-fit customers. Sangram says that it has never been easier to determine who these customers are; there are lists you can buy and companies you can work with if you want extra help figuring out who you should be targeting and who would benefit most from your product or service.
  • Expand: In the Expand stage, this is where you put your focus on the right people. Unlike typical lead marketing that hopes to attract someone who might be interested, this ABM funnel stage focuses on finding the right person. So many people can influence the decision-making process in a company, so if you’re focused on just one or two people, you may be talking to the wrong people rather than the decision-makers. This will slow down your processes and ultimately limit how much revenue you can bring into your company.  
  • Engage: The Engage stage is all about getting the right content out on the right channel. Sangram also says that this is the most fun part of the funnel. We get to be creative and focus on creating content that will wow our customers, like videos, case studies, landing pages and more. And, since you’ve now identified the accounts you want to target, and you have determined who the right people are, you can figure out how to engage them in the ways that will get them to take notice. Sangram advises that you engage with people on their terms; not just through email and phone calls, but over social media, in videos, on mobile…make sure you’re marketing where your audience is, instead of praying that they will come to you.
  • Advocate: In this stage, your focus is on creating raving fans! Since you’ve engaged the right people with content and through channels they enjoy, they’ll remember you and become your fans. This is key because as smart marketers know, you can’t really force someone to buy something. Instead, you have to create strong relationships by creating a strong experience over time.

Takeaway #2: Video is key to creating that strong experience.

Panelist Tyler Lessard, one of Vidyard’s top marketing experts and thought leaders, discussed why video is essential to any powerful ABM program. Video helps marketers build trust because it’s more human and personal. Potential customers can hear your voice and see your face, and that helps pique their interest better than other content mediums. That’s key with ABM programs, where you need to get attention, hold it, and invoke an emotional response: you need them to want to do business with you. After all, when was the last time you thought, ‘wow this templated prospecting email really blew my mind’, and when did a whitepaper make you laugh or cry?

Video is also such a great ROI generator because, as Tyler points out, it respects your audience’s time. You can explain complex ideas, and tell visual stories a lot quicker: one minute of video is actually the equivalent of 1.8 million words! What does that mean? You can get the maximum value in minimum time!

Video sets you apart from your competitors who are only doing the basic things. And one of the best things about it is it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or require a lot of resources. You’re probably even carrying around a camera in your pocket right now! You can take it from Sangram himself, who won a ‘Big Bang, Small Budget’ Video Marketing Award at this year’s Viewtopia. (You can find out more about why he won the award in this post.)

Takeaway #3: Use video in 5 ways to amp up your ABM program

Tyler wouldn’t leave you wondering how to use the most powerful medium in your ABM program. Here are 5 different ways you can use video to achieve your ABM goals:

  1. Video in email nurture campaigns

Video can take your basic email nurture campaigns so much further. You can leverage the content you’ve already been creating, upping the excitement and engagement of plain emails that are text-based or just include static images. Add videos like explainers, testimonials, product demos, and fun promos into your videos. It works well: we’ve seen results like a 200% to 300% lift in click-through rates. Now who doesn’t want results like that?

  1. Personalized video email campaigns

Video can do some amazing things, but even video can be taken further. If you personalize your videos with content about the viewer, like their name, their company, or even their company logo, you’ll attract and hold your audience’s attention like never before. In fact, emails that include a personalized thumbnail image of the video have seen a 300% to 1000% lift in click-through rates. Not only that, but audiences watch longer, because you’ve woven them directly into the story you’re telling. Want to see for yourself what a personalized video is like? Check out this one, which was personalized for Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing:

The value of personalized videos can be greater than you might think; some Vidyard customers have reported that, surprisingly to them, holiday and cultural videos have led to the biggest accounts of the year being won. It’s all about engaging your audiences and building a powerful experience.

  1. Direct mail: Video in a box!

Believe it or not, direct mail marketing is back! And yes, video can—and should—be a part of your direct mail approach, too. How? You can create custom video cards that can be shipped through direct mail. Your potential customers can hold it in their hands and watch your video. 

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  1. Outbound sales: Personal video messages

Video shouldn’t just be used near the top of the funnel. You can send personal video messages as part of your outbound sales efforts. It doesn’t have to be some fancy, over-produced video; if you’re using ViewedIt, for example, the easy way for anyone to record, send, and track video, all you need is your computer’s webcam. Personalized thumbnails work wonders with this kind of video email, too: get a small whiteboard and write the prospective customer’s name on it, and they’ll be bound to click.

Check out this video that Tyler created as an example. Imagine if he had just watched a webinar from Sangram about account-based marketing. Tyler, who for the sake of the video pretended he worked for a translation services company, then created this ViewedIt video that recorded his computer’s screen and his face:

So much more engaging than a text email, right? And it cost nothing to create! This tactic is great for targeting key accounts because it shows that you’re going above and beyond and creating something personal just for them. The typical results of these videos have shown a 5x to 8x increase in response rate, helping you to better engage your key people.

With ViewedIt videos, you can also see if and when your potential customer watches your video, and how much they watched. Then you know when to follow up and what to follow up on, helping you focus your time effectively and tailor conversations for awesome results.

  1. Video engagement: Who, what, how long

Engagement data is key to a strong ABM program. You need to know how each person is responding to your efforts, and what they are responding to. That’s exactly what video engagement data gives you: who watched, what they have watched, and how long they watched each video (someone who watches 10 seconds is not as engaged as someone who watches 90% of your video!).

If you include this data inside your CRM system, like Salesforce, your sales team can learn who is engaging with you the most, and when. They can collect this information all all your accounts to follow up accordingly to close the most important deals at the most opportune time.

To learn more about video in your ABM program, including how to use video when planning a major event, check out the complete on-demand webinar!

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Emily Ross