Personalization is the heart of ABM. Because it’s the process of crafting custom experiences that sets ABM apart from other marketing strategies.
It can sound intimidating — after all, it’s like trying to buy a meaningful gift for your new colleague equipped only with the knowledge that she has a pet cat and is allergic to cheese. Many well-intentioned ABM schemes (and workmates) have cracked under this pressure. “We’re all so busy and we have limited capacity. It’s really easy to set the list, set the initiative, and then when push comes to shove, everyone ends up getting similar messages again,” Stefanie acknowledges.
Here’s the secret: The number one resource you need to make your ABM campaign work is resilience, reinforced with intentionality, planning, and resourcefulness. Do your homework, think creatively, and you can pull it off.
Study Up on Your Buyers
Wait, wait, don’t close the ebook. This type of studying is fun, we promise. Especially if you consider yourself an internet detective.
The first stage of creating a personalized marketing campaign is to find out about the company and the people you’re designing it around. This requires two types of insights:
The accounts you’re selling to are run by people. And unlike chatbots, those people have feelings. Think about their emotional motivators, including their fears, hopes, personal interests, etc.
This involves the more practical details, i.e. knowing how your target buyers work so you can deliver your message in a way that is most likely to resonate. For example, do they prefer emails or phone calls? How much time do they have to consume your materials?
These two types of insights apply at three key levels: company, buying committee, and individual.
You need to show your buyers that you understand their company’s past, present, and future. Knowing a company means knowing about their industry, including common pain points and disruptors, as well as details about them specifically.
- What makes them similar and different from their competitors?
- What are their primary goals for this quarter or the year?
- Have they been in the news?
- Have they made any big hires recently?
- Demonstrating this level of knowledge reassures buyers that you have looked closely into their company and concluded that your product is a good fit for them — and that you’re not reaching out randomly.
2) Buying Committee
The more members of the buying committee you can include in your ABM campaign, the better — and sooner rather than later. The earlier you engage everyone who needs to be involved in a deal, the more likely you are to close it.
But tracking them down is a tall order given that, according to research published by Gartner, it takes an average of 14 to 23 people to rubber-stamp a tech purchase. 6sense can help you identify the stakeholders you most likely need to engage with.
“We can say, ‘These are likely the contacts doing the research,’” Latané says. “We can also say, ‘This buyer is not currently doing research, but you typically need to get this role engaged, so here are people in that role we think you should reach out to.’”
Once you know who you want to speak to, start by considering their respective personas.
- Map out the buying roles: Who are the influencers, the champions, and the decision makers
- Be specific about each: Are they The Money? Are they technical? Operational?
- What kind of key performance indicators (KPIs) might someone in these roles be measuring?
- These factors can serve as a starting point for the profiles you’re building out on each person.
This is the really fun, nerdy ABM stuff. Put yourself in your buying committee’s shoes and consider them as individuals. See what you can find out about them online. You can start with LinkedIn and incorporate anything about them that’s relevant and publicly available.
- How long have they been at the company?
- What’s their background?
- Have they been promoted recently?
- What’s their specialty?
- What interests or hobbies do they have?
- Have they participated in any recent videos, podcasts, or webinars that will help you understand their unique perspective?
- Really critically think: How will my product or service directly benefit and serve their core objectives? Why would they care?
Using this research, write out a profile of everyone on the buying committee. All of this information can help you build a campaign and refine messaging that will capture their attention and hopefully, begin a meaningful relationship. Going the extra mile here allows prospective buyers to more quickly identify with your company, allowing you to build trust and alignment faster.
A lot of marketers fall down on the study stage and end up skipping ahead, only to realize that without this information, their ABM campaigns really aren’t that personal. Treat it like a creative exercise in empathy. It will serve your campaigns and your long-term relationships.
Power Personalization with Intent Data
Personalization can mean many different things, some more impactful than others. For example, slapping someone’s name on a landing page is a good start. But it’s not enough to convince them that you understand their unique challenges and goals.
Erin knows this from first-hand experience. She says that doing things like customizing a landing page with a buyer’s name and industry didn’t move the needle on conversions.