Editor’s Note: This post was originally featured on The Funnelholic blog in November 2015.
As marketers, one question we always ask ourselves is “How do we expand our reach?”
For years, B2B marketing teams struggled to cast a wide net to as many people as possible to pour leads into the top of the funnel. Now – it’s time to flip that funnel on its head with account-based marketing.
Once your sales team has done the work to identify target accounts (most likely using one of the many account-based marketing solutions on the market), it’s the marketing team’s job to take that list of accounts and engage with them. This is where account-based marketing comes into play.
The second stage of the flipped funnel is expansion, which is what I want to focus on in this blog post. The expand stage involves maximizing your reach within the list of target companies and influencers identified during the first stage of the funnel.
In the B2B game, we often hear an analogy about how marketing is like going fishing. Knowing where trout are in a stream is a great first step toward identifying and catching the exact type of fish that you want, but how much easier would your job be with a fish finder? Not only can you see where the fish are located, you can also get more insight into the size of the fish so you know you’re on the right track.
This is the main point I want to address, as this is often the toughest stage for B2B marketers who are used to traditional lead-based marketing. In lead-based marketing, the expansion process begins by choosing marketing channels first — but that’s not the ideal strategy because we end up wasting valuable marketing dollars on leads that will never convert to customers.
Back to the fish finder analogy. Think about account-based marketing as your fish finder, except instead of using sonar-based technology, you’re using cookie- and IP-based targeting to track your target customers on the channels that they’re actively using. This allows you to target your marketing messages to your best-fit customers on the channels where your ads are most likely to be seen, whether that’s social media, display advertising, video, or mobile.
With this kind of tracking in place, you can do more than target individual leads — you can open the door to entire accounts. This is particularly important for modern B2B marketers given these two facts:
1. The length of the B2B sales cycle is getting increasingly longer.
2. Purchasing decisions now involve more stakeholders than ever.
In a survey of B2B marketers conducted by Carat Enterprise and Google, 76% of respondents indicated that it takes up to 6 months to research and make a purchase. This study also revealed that 33% of B2B decision-making units contain up to 10 people, and more 50% contain up to five. To top it off, according to the Buyersphere Report 2015, CEOs are involved in 38% of B2B buying decisions. That’s a lot of contacts in an account to try and build a relationship with.
The good news is, with account-based advertising, your company’s marketing messages can automatically be placed in front of all of the decision makers within an account. That way, when a pitch for your product is escalated to upper management, brand awareness is already present.
Want to learn more about how ABM and account expansion works? Click here to download the Beginner’s Blueprint to Account-Based Marketing now.