Account-Based Marketing: Using Content to Increase Customer Retention and Profitability
Engaging accounts throughout the entire customer journey can be a challenge. How do you not only engage but also grow the accounts you manage?
Join Jeff Coyle and Vin Turk, COO and Co-Founder of Madison Logic for a discussion on leveraging content, technology, and data for your media strategies. You’ll learn:
- The role content plays based on user intent (not to be confused with intent data)
- How to leverage data to educate your audience across the buying journey
- How to measure the effectiveness of your content strategy across the funnel
Madison Logic is an account based marketing platform that enables B2B organizations to reach through the dominant channels that revenue marketers focus on using their content as vehicles around account based marketing, display advertising and ABM on LinkedIn for social engagement.
Madison Logic’s account based marketing strategy stays ahead of the maturity model for most B2B companies with regard to account based marketing, and includes elements that touch your website, direct mail, sales acceleration, chat bots, paid media content strategies, intent data.
Jeff Coyle asked Vin Turk how companies typically develop lists of accounts. Turk answered that sales and marketing organizations will discuss who are the most important targets and how to replicate that across potentially net new logos. They’ll use different data sets to help them with this process.
One of the more common use cases for install base or technographic data is when a target account has already made a purchase, such as marketing automation after they’ve already put in place a CRM system.
Turk says that they a lot of use cases for technographic install based data, third party intent data, and historical performance engagement data. These data sets can be used for conquesting, competitive takeout, and understanding how folks at certain accounts are reading articles, consuming e-books, or listening to analyst reports.
Madison Logic’s strategy involves analyzing how often a company gets targeted with a certain message on a channel tied back to that topic, and how they respond to and engage with that content.
Jeff asked Vin how he connects with personas, stages, understanding the buyer journey, conquest competitive landscape dynamic, and how to create content after you know that.
Vin explained that when his company takes on a client, the more they can share, the better position Madison Logic is going to be in to make recommendations. Understanding the buyer journey and the key personas that get engaged at those stages are very critical.
“To increase conversion rates, you have to understand your buyer personas and their problems, and then align your content strategy to solve those problems. We look at all the different steps when a client connects their CRM their platform into, and the historical performance that drove those outcomes and those historical performance moments. This helps us understand which content worked best.”
Jeff comments that a lot of teams could take the advice Vin just gave and use that for their organic search or their organic content strategy.
Vin agrees with that and believes think one of the newer challenges for B2B marketers is content curation. He thinks it’s important to look at the outcomes of your content and then trial and test and optimize as you go.
The way Vin sees it,”If you have a hundred articles, how do you choose the right one for them right now? There are many platforms for getting it in front of them, including paid media, strategic recommendations on your, popups web popups, notifications, or integrating links or recommendations engines.”
Jeff wonders how Vin thinks about content strategy for individual companies and how he advises them.
Vin reveals that his company likes to get to know their clients and prospects very deeply, and then create content that aligns with their objectives and their needs.
“When we look at the persona side, there’s both a professional view and a personal view. Using platforms like LinkedIn, you can derive back to the persona inside the account of how they’re actually engaging with your updates, your content, your ads, all your company information.”
After 18 years in business, Vin has noticed that brand advocates are the highest converting leads. Some of his clients have moved up in the organization, some have moved on elsewhere, but the best thing he loves to see is when someone reaches out.
Jeff offers a parallel explanation in that, over the years, the number one converting lead source at MarketMuse has been someone who has taken the leap from Director of Marketing to Senior Director or CMO, and is bringing MarketMuse with them at another company.
Next, the conversation moved on to syndicated content and how to best use that channel. Vin describes it as hitting the accelerator and distributing your content into the venues, the outlets, the media publishers, where you know your target accounts consume content.
“It’s very performance oriented, so only individuals that take the time to register, consume and read your content, are passed along to you. Then you put them into nurture activities, different nurture tracks, and oftentimes, additional emails are sent to them.”
“The ultimate goal here is to build up engagement with the account, not just with the one contact and the one lead, but at the account level such that now we know they are ready to engage on the human side with the sales executive,” says Vin. “Marketers have learned that buyers may be entering early stages of evaluation education, and they need a lot more information before they are ready to engage at a sales. So bringing in additional channels to accelerate the time of nurture has really benefited marketers.”
An audience member asks how this dovetails with marketing automation or CRM platforms, and whether these inquiries are marketing leads or are these sales leads.
“It’s common today for folks in the content syndication space to send in real time the lead information right into either marketing automation or CRM,” explains Vin, “and the time delay of when a lead is generated, validated, and then delivered, should be as short and narrow as possible.”
Jeff inquires if Vin sees account based marketing as an approach that eliminates the need for customer fit modeling. Turk responds that “one of the necessary components of even starting an account based marketing program is to understand your best customers.” Furthermore, “if an inbound lead comes in of someone that’s interested, but doesn’t fit directly inside your ICP, you may want to evaluate whether they fit in other approaches, other models, that are still conducive to how you want to sell and engage with potential clients there.”
Jeff wonders how Vin thinks about user intent data and how that connects to journey acceleration. In response, he cautions people, “before you dive right into the pool, it’s worth testing in isolated environments to see what topics are the right ones to focus on for your solution set and your segment of customers.”
Jeff added that, “If you start with the kitchen sink, you’re likely to be overwhelmed and not be able to focus on the most important topic at hand. Instead, start with a few topics that are relevant to your solution and narrow your focus. In order to exhibit expertise, you need to have content that tells the story that all the personas wanna read, that you’re focused on at the each stage of the funnel.”
“My big question,” asks Jeff, “is how do I decide what channels to promote a middle of funnel concept, like a blog post about how to deal with the Google helpful content update?”
Vin recommends setting up the tools and processes to measure the outcomes in the highest fidelity that you can, and then testing if you can run a campaign on a specific channel without the influence of other channels.
He further reveals that companies selling to the middle market SMB space have to be very specific and intentional on where they’re putting their money. If they know their average order value, time-to-close and conversion rates, they can reverse engineer this mathematical formula for every dollar they put in a channel. “We guide clients through a lot of evaluation and testing approach to move up the maturity curve.”
Along those lines, Jeff explains, “we take clients on a journey for organic search via content, where we put the data back in, so they know how much content they need to create on what topics, at what level of quality, and so on.”
Next, the conversation turns to other mediums, besides LinkedIn, for content distribution. Vin suggests marketers “think about the length of the content you wanna put out there, and where they are on the buying process. You might want to put a 45 page e-book on LinkedIn, but a case study on content syndication might be better.” He confesses that “if I go to LinkedIn, if I’m on my favorite B2B website, the content that I’m receiving from that same vendor changes dynamically as I move downward in the buying process.”
In addition, “some of the newer channels that we’re starting to think about are ones that have been growing in popularity quite a bit, especially over the last two to three years. We believe that a marketer’s objective is to capture the attention of their prospects, their accounts.”
As the conversation shifts to account-based management (ABM), Vin reveals that “the top of the pyramid are the most strategic accounts that represent the highest value for your company. Make simple tweaks to your landing page to make it feel more personalized.” To make the most of your budget, consider repurposing your content. The best way, according to Vin, “is to identify the biggest influencer in your buying committee and focus efforts on that persona. You can do this by creating three different campaigns, all targeting the same set of accounts, but with different personas.”
For example, if you’re selling a marketing technology software, run one campaign for each different set of personas. The marketing folks get content specific to their needs, and the security folks get content written in a different style.
“In the latter stages of the buy cycle,” says Vin, “when a prospect has already whittled down and shortlisted which vendors they’re talking to, it becomes even more important to show why you are unique and provide unique value compared to anyone else in this market.”
Jeff asks Vin how a client will parley their success with Madison Logic and he responds that “most clients will use Google paid search, YouTube, LinkedIn and contents indication for their paid media efforts. These channels are very competitive and the cost per keyword can get really high, so you might be priced out of that market.”
Jeff wonders if that is really account based and Vin acknowledges that “many platforms support onboarding of data, but it can be challenging to decipher which accounts were reached and which accounts took an action.”
Jeff proceeds to take some more questions via Twitter, which you can hear more about in the video.