How To Reach Out To the B2B Decision Makers

Written by Burcin Genc

As we always mention: It’s all about GROWTH.

And when it comes to B2B businesses, the biggest indicator that triggers growth is increased sales and profitability. However, in B2B sales, your target audience is companies, not end-users. Unlike B2C, in the purchasing process in companies, the decision mechanism may depend on many people or departments (let’s say: we need to find all the related buying roles). 

According to the Harvard Business Review, the average number of decision-makers for B2B purchases has increased from 5.4 to 6.8. Thus, finding key decision-makers who decide when, where and what to buy can be quite challenging. When planning your sales processes and marketing strategy, it is important to correctly determine who you are going to sell to and whom you need to reach.

At this point, account-based marketing (ABM) comes to the rescue of B2B businesses to reach and attract key decision-makers and even be able to guide their purchasing decisions.


Account-Based Marketing in B2B Business Growth

Account-based marketing (ABM) is at the core of B2B business growth. Results of a survey conducted by ITSMA show that 87% of marketers say ABM yields better returns than any other approach. So what exactly is account-based marketing?

“A growth strategy in which marketing and sales work together to create personalized buying experiences for a select set of high-value companies.” - HubSpot Academy

The basic principle of ABM can be summarized as follows: prioritize, customize and personalize marketing and communications plans specific to each buying role for the most promising leads.

While selling a product or service costs a lot, the purchasing process mostly touches a buying committee. There B2B businesses need to win multiple buying roles over personalized touching by understanding each one's different pain points.

In order to do this, marketing teams and sales teams must be in close cooperation as in growth marketing. 

For the most promising leads, sales and marketing teams should be aligned on such questions: 

  • Who will be on the buying committee (for each high-value account)? 
  • What content will you need for each member of the buying committee?

Because only in this way they can create flawless, end-to-end, personalized experiences for high-value accounts. In fact, at this point, it would be right to focus on how growth marketing and ABM complement each other.


A Pitch-Perfect Match: Growth Marketing and Account-Based Marketing

Whether the target audience is a person or a company, you will need content and visibility to engage and influence them. Growth marketing focuses on all potentials and communicates more generally, while ABM deals with high-value accounts and provides a more personalized experience. 

Remember that your goal is always to grow. Therefore, ABM strategy should be built with a growth-oriented mindset and on top of growth marketing. Only an ABM strategy that makes use of all the tactics and tools used in digital marketing can be successful. 


Benefits of Account-Based Marketing

Now that we’ve clarified the concept of ABM, let’s take a closer look at how B2B businesses can benefit from it.


Aligned Marketing and Sales Team

According to Forbes, for the manager who has to buy from another company, more than 50% of the decision comes from the trust. And to be able to build that trust, it is significant that the marketing teams and sales teams are aligned and speak the same language. 

From determining the target high valued accounts to closing sales, enhanced interdepartmental collaboration, communication and transparency provide many benefits to grow your business.

But the most valuable part is being able to create consistent and harmonious communication at every point that can touch potential customers. This is the ultimate proof that your sales and marketing teams are correctly focused on the common goals of the company. The alignment will be much more efficient in terms of increasing the interaction with high-valued accounts and ensuring trust and customer satisfaction among them.


Improved Relevance

The main purpose of account-based marketing is to ensure that the buying committee finds the product or service highly relevant. For this reason, all communication content is shaped and personalized according to the expectations and needs of the target account.

In fact, visionary businesses that know the target market and potential needs well can make their products or services indispensable by enabling the accounts to realize their needs that they are not even aware of. This also triggers them to become thought leaders and gain trust and loyalty.

ABM generally ensures that your business is perceived by target accounts as the most ideal and relevant option, thus accelerating the purchasing process.


Reduced Time Waste, Increased Revenue

The approval of the finance department is required for the purchase of products or services in the B2B sector. ABM also makes approval mechanisms work much faster as it makes the product more relevant and creates reasons to buy. 

Even if a product or service is expensive, a customer who believes they really need it or thinks it will help them overcome a major problem will be more likely to pay the required fee. This will increase deal sizes and revenue and minimize the time and effort required for sales.


Building a Relevant Account-Based Marketing Strategy

To design a relevant ABM strategy, it would be wise to follow the established path to create the right growth strategy and take advantage of its methodology. Now let's take a closer look at all the necessary steps for an ABM strategy that will be shaped by a growth mindset.


1- Finding the Best ABM Technology

The first thing to ensure is a synchronized team. And using ABM technologies can help B2B businesses to create flawless and transparent workflows to ensure efficiency. With the help of ABM software, you can manage ABM actions in the most accurate way and increase productivity by optimizing the operations. Besides, there are many other advantages that can be added to the sales journey by using online ABM tools.

For example, ABM technology allows accounts to use digital channels instead of just contacting them via phone and email. Therefore, it helps to increase communication options with target customers. This is extremely important to sales teams.

It also provides the ability to connect with the entire account, even if the contact information is not in the database, rather than just an individual lead.

By using the versatile structure of ABM programs such as Hubspot, it is possible to easily personalize all marketing activities and to have uninterrupted control of all processes from end to end. It provides teams with a much more holistic perspective as well as a transparent process.


2- Determining the Ideal Accounts

Finding out which sectors and which accounts your product or service can appeal to is the primary goal of a B2B account-based marketing and communication strategy. Because this is how you determine which companies you should talk to and which can be your potential buyers. 

The answer to finding high-value accounts is lying on using the best ABM tool. B2B businesses deciding to shift to an account-based approach need to answer the following questions:

  1. What high-value accounts are your inbound channels already attracting? 
  2. What open deals would you like to move faster?
  3. What are the 10 biggest deals you've closed recently? Is there more value you could provide to those accounts? 
  4. What traits do your most successful customers have in common? Where can you find more companies with those traits?

Defining the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

The ideal customer profile is actually the profile that the solution you produce with your service addresses most directly. After determining the ideal accounts for your product/ service, it is essential to define the ideal customer profiles who can be the decision makers or buyers inside your targeted companies.  

The biggest indicator of the right implementation of the ABM strategy for the right ICP is that these targeted profiles automatically show interest in your product. This is the perfect opportunity for your company to focus on sales.

The secret ingredient here is finding the best-fit high-value accounts and be able to focus on the right trigger points for your ICP.. Therefore, current insights and data can just help you find answers. Thus, asking yourself the following questions will definitely help:

  1. What is the lowest price you can ask your customers to pay for your product or service?
  2. Which are your target markets or markets that you would prefer to stay out of your focus?
  3. Are there any specific regions where you want to sell or do not want to sell?
  4. Are there any legal barriers such as age limit that will restrict you from selling your product or service to your target customers?
  5. Do you need to respond quickly to your customers under the service level agreement (SLA)? If necessary, does your company have the capacity to meet this expectation?

With an ABM roadmap with well-defined ICPs, these accounts can be easily turned into buyers. This shows that the whole strategy is working and that success will be achieved with the increase in sales.


3- Selecting the Channels and Activities

You've identified the target accounts, and now it's time to determine what kind of journey you're going to create for these potential accounts, with what methods and through which channels.

Execute the following steps to successfully implement the ABM strategy:

  • Specify buying roles, including decision-makers, for each account.
  • Plan role or account-specific actions by considering channels and activities - e.g. plan how to reach out to the blockers to turn them into influencers. This is because you are now aware that blockers need to be convinced to influence decision-makers at the end of the day. 

It would be appropriate to utilize personalized content such as emails / direct mail, social media, website, videos, blogs, e-books, whitepapers, display ads, search engine ads, webinars and virtual events. No matter which marketing channel you use, if all personalized content is created with the feedback from the sales teams (sales and marketing alignment comes into play here), then gain will be achieved by going to the buying roles determined for each account, with pain points specific messages.

Therefore, the core of the ABM strategy is reaching out to the decision-makers through reaching out to the other buying roles as well. 

Account-based marketing tools allow you to track all these activities online and access your target accounts anytime and anywhere to manage the process in a personalized and efficient way.

Account-based marketing plays a key role in the growth of B2B businesses. With the right strategy and a holistic, growth-oriented perspective, you can enable your product and service to reach its potential and achieve success by meeting with the right target accounts.