Account Based Marketing is a B2B marketing and sales strategy that is an alternative to the classic purchase of online and offline advertising space, allowing you to bypass high advertising costs and reach a carefully selected target audience based on your needs.
Account Based Marketing for raising capital is a useful tool for finding investors, but it is a strategy that can also be implemented for finding customers with whom you can directly get in touch to offer your product or service: once you master the technique, it becomes an additional resource for all your company's activities.
As always, there is no magic formula: ABM is not easy, nor fast, nor free. Exactly like crowdfunding. And just like the latter, it gives great satisfaction and requires close collaboration between the marketing and sales departments. Let's see how.
Account Based Marketing: what it is and how it works
The key to Account Based Marketing is the reversal of the conventional marketing and sales funnel: traditional marketing targets a broad audience to create brand awareness, stimulate the interaction of interested users, connect with them, and ultimately lead each of them to purchase; in contrast, ABM identifies an ideal customer profile and initiates a search for all and only those users who match those characteristics and whose contact data must then be collected in order to send targeted marketing communications to each one and turn them into customers (or investors!).
This reversal allows you to allocate your marketing budget more efficiently, deliver more useful and personalized content to your target audiences, reach them directly on the channels where they are most active, have more control over your relationship with them, and shorten the sales process. The concept is "few but good."
Account Based Marketing is not free because it shifts the budget from the cost of buying online and offline advertising space to the cost of audience segmentation, building ad hoc content and contacting each individual stakeholder. The expense, however, is lower and more efficient if the operations are done correctly.
First step: defining the target audience
The first step in an Account Based Marketing operation is to define the profile of the ideal customer to be reached. This depends not only on the type of company and product/service offered, but also on the objective of the operation: simply acquiring new customers, increasing the rate and/or speed of conversion, increasing the value of each conversion, selling new products/services to current customers, and finding investors are all objectives that may require a slightly or very different stakeholder profile. For example, a company with more or less spending capacity, with a larger or smaller team, with a larger or smaller turnover, with interests more or less overlapping etc.
The first thing to do, then, is to establish goals and based on these establish the basic requirements that the target audience must have. These requirements must then be grafted onto the marketing and sales data you already have: the characteristics of customers and potential customers are the basis for the ideal profile of any ABM target.
Starting with this information, which provides an initial skeleton of a sketch, it is essential to carry out accurate segmentation. There is also software that helps to build and organize special databases to carry out this task more easily, for example by collecting data from search engine searches related to your product/service, data from visits to the company website, etc.
Some of the questions that are useful to answer about the target user are:
- what does he/she need most?
- where is he or she most present online?
- what content does he/she value?
- how is he or she positioned in the market?
- what does he/she invest most in?
- what are his or her suppliers?
The final sketch you get must be accurate, yes, but not too stringent, nor even too general.
Second step: Sourcing
"Sourcing" means searching for contact details of users who match the profiles identified in the first step. There are several ways to find them:
- purchase from databases that collect data on companies and the people who work there (e.g., Atoka)
- use of Email finders (e.g., Findthatlead) that extract email contacts from websites, Google Maps or LinkedIn profiles
- use of LinkedIn premium dedicated tools (e.g., Sales Navigator).
A complementary activity to this research is so-called "data enrichment". It is not a compulsory step, but it is very useful to make subsequent communications even more efficient: having obtained the necessary contacts, they should be organized in a database where as much information as possible about the target company and the individual contact should be entered, so that the marketing approach can be customized as much as possible for each one (and avoid bad figures).
Third step: the contact
The last key step in Account Based Marketing is to use the collected contacts to initiate a relationship with new potential customers or investors. To make the communication truly effective, a robust preliminary phase of content and strategy preparation is required: customized content (in whole or in part) must be prepared for each contact and the most appropriate communication channels chosen.
It must be kept in mind that we are doing cold communication, to people who may have never even heard of our company and have not given consent to receive messages. Such communication must have three indispensable characteristics:
- be personal and natural, not coming across as standard or automated, but at the same time professional and respectful;
- convey messages that are clear and complete with all useful information, as well as directions for the next steps of interaction to which you want to direct the interlocutor, but not verbose;
- provide content that is truly useful to the interlocutors, to alleviate the discomfort of unexpected contact and encourage openness to dialogue.
This means not immediately adopting a commercial and aggressive approach, not spamming, stimulating responses and actions with clear calls to action.
The goal is to demonstrate to the interlocutor how useful the offered product/service can be for him to solve a problem he has, offer him free content and material to support that demonstration, and finally lead him to purchase or invest in the crowdfunding campaign.
The means of contact can be different:
- hard copy material
- phone call (to be avoided cold, but can be used for re-contact after an initial approach by other means).
How to use Account Based Marketing for raising capital
For crowdfunding capital raising, it is quite easy to outline the ideal profile for Account Based Marketing, since we know that a company's best investors are precisely its customers and potential customers. To this we can add that other stakeholders, for example, suppliers, might also be interested in investing in the company, perhaps with work-for-equity formulas, and this makes it possible to identify other target profiles, which will then have to be refined according to the above indications and with a level of detail that depends on the starting needs.
In the preparation of the contact phase, then, it is useful to devise (in addition to the rest of the materials) a front-end product (we have discussed it here) as "bait" to gain interest in the crowdfunding campaign (and a new customer) and rewards consistent with the users' needs as immediate gratification and thus stimulus to investment. The path has to be particularly gradual, to gain the trust of potential investors little by little: initially you have to give them a lot (free content and materials) and ask for little (e.g., a simple response to an email), and then invite them to perform increasingly "challenging" actions (e.g., participation in a webinar, filling out a survey), to slowly engage them in a solid relationship to the point where you can make business proposals.
Turbo Crowd, as a crowdfunding marketing agency, also provides support in building Account Based Marketing operations aimed at raising capital: find out what we can do for you by booking a free initial consultation with us!