Many social media and social selling experts say “volume” is the key to success on social media platforms like LinkedIn. In an article in Content Marketing Institute’s magazine, Jonathan Crossfield compares this scattershot “volume” method to a realtor’s flyer marketing efforts. He talks about how once a week, his mailbox contains at least one real estate flyer mentioning that they recently sold a house in his area and if he has considered selling his home. Now, Jonathan is renting so I’m sure his landlord would have something to say about it. You see, it’s a wrong message to the wrong audience. And, the same thing happens when you do not take a rifle approach and focus on targeted audiences on LinkedIn.
A shotgun approach may be better when you have a lower cost product or solution when you need as many leads and subscribers as possible to get a return on your social media investment. But when your programs have a nice-sized investment and when you have a complex sales process, then you better be sure you’re focusing on specific audiences and that you are relevant. A targeted, account-based marketing approach is key in this case.
Recent studies show that account-based marketing approaches generate a higher ROI.
- An Alterra Group study shows that 97% of marketers reported that account-based marketing approaches had the highest ROI.
- ITSMA reports that 85% of marketers who measure ROI describe account-based marketing as delivering the highest returns than any other marketing approach
- A LinkedIn study shows that social selling professionals that are taking an account-based marketing and selling approach gains 45% more opportunities.
So, why aren’t we taking an account-based marketing and selling approach on LinkedIn? Below, are some examples of how organizations taking an account-based approach are driving real revenues.
Managed service provider attracts a real estate management firm as a sales opportunity using an account-based marketing approach
Instead of having a resume-based LinkedIn profile that communicates no business value to prospects whatsoever or having a LinkedIn profiles that’s filled with commodity messaging to attract general audiences, we focused Single Point of Contact’s VP of Business Development’s profile on the accounts that he wants to target. One of these accounts was a real estate management firm in the San Francisco Bay area that ignored all other communications.
On Fernando Leon’s profile (the VP of Business Development for Single Point of Contact), you’ll learn how he helped Shorenstein Realty, the largest, oldest, most respected real estate management firm that was spending upwards of $750,000 on their IT infrastructure, cut IT OPEx by 43%. He discusses the challenges the real estate management firm was having, the mistakes they were making and the steps Single Point of Contact took to cut the expenses. Most importantly, the profile explained why their approach worked!
The managed service provider then created case studies and articles that spoke specifically to IT leaders within real estate management firms and he created relevant discussions inside the LinkedIn groups the targeted audience was part of. Because of the relevant discussions that was aimed at attracting the particular real estate management firm and because the VP’s profile was case study based, he was able to show his relevance. The local SF Bay real estate management firm reached out to Fernando to connect and asked specific questions based on the content found inside Fernando’s LinkedIn profile that dealt with Shorenstein Realty.
Positioning and Messaging Firm Attracts New Clients Using an Account-Based Marketing Approach
A positioning and messaging firm client of ours that serves B2B software and technology companies loves to create challenger content as he knows that challengers outperform all other seller profiles. Through the firm’s President’s content, our client challenges common positioning practices, thoughts and ideas. For example, he challenges:
- How IBM positions their TM1 solution and shows how it’s ineffective. By targeting specific resellers of TM1 on LinkedIn and sharing the challenger content, Lawson was able to attract a TM1 reseller as a client that was worth more than $30,000 in additional revenue.
- How Microsoft and may others are using the word “empower” in their positioning even though it has no business value to prospects
- The use of the biggest “me too” positioning buzzword: transform
- How technology marketers are confusing the market with multiple claims
He has also created market assessments where he evaluated the positioning of market leaders in the CRM, CPM/BPM, BI industries plus many others. In these assessments, he pinpoints the positioning and messaging weaknesses, shows how organizations are engaging in “me too” positioning and demonstrates how the market leaders are failing to make the value connection.
Now, our client targeted specific companies (especially those he mentioned in the assessment) on LinkedIn and provided prospects with challenger content that was specific to their issues. From there he invited prospects to join his LinkedIn community where they can get a sneak preview of my client’s approach to positioning.
But, it wasn’t enough to just challenge prospects and show them a new approach. Our client had to give prospects a reason to change. Using third party content (a Forrester research report), our client showed proof that tech companies are unable to make the value connection despite major branding overhauls. Then using his own original content, he showed how the prospect’s current approach created a disconnect. From there, he educated marketers on how their positioning is affecting their marketing efforts that they put a higher priority on (as our client found through his market research on LinkedIn that positioning is low on the priority totem pole.) He educated marketers and sales enablement leaders on how their current positioning is driving the wrong sales conversations and how it was affecting sales because sales showed that they were out of sync with buyers.
Then he coached marketers on a new approach through articles that provide a sneak peek inside his approach, white papers that were published on MarketingProfs, webinars with influencers like BoldPM, and a free eBook: How to Communicate So Markets Listen and Respond. Lastly, our client demonstrated that his approach works by using case studies.
You see, our positioning and messaging firm client targeted specific companies with specific issues–and showed marketing and sales leaders why they needed to change their positioning. As a result, the firm gained clients like Membrain, Mariner Partners, Shift Energy, Idea5, Rocket Software, and SmartOrg. Our client has had sales conversations with companies like Microsoft, Citrix, Symantec, Host Analytics, and many others.
SaaS Company Uses Account-Based Marketing Approach to Attract New Clients Like GoDaddy
A UK SaaS company focused on IT operations and ITSM implemented a prospecting strategy where they targeted key decision-makers and influencers that they wanted to work with–and make the connection when they might be most amenable to taking action. They leveraged trigger events such as holiday season outages from retailers like Amazon and eBay, outages by Delta and Southwest, the Brexit IT fiasco and the fact that CSC was opening a ServiceNow division with 1200+ ServiceNow clients.
They have learned that trigger events are a key driver to alter a prospect’s priorities. By using them effectively they were able to make connections with key IT decision makers from large enterprises and have them wanting to learn about rising technologies and new approaches (even though they were comfortable with the status quo).
As a result of their heightened interest, the tech company was able to convert at least 50% of their connections into members of their LinkedIn community where sales and marketing can continue to educate IT enterprises.
They also used a sales intelligence platform that provides them with data and insights into the companies that they should be connecting with. The platform told them what companies will be taking on a major IT project within the next six to twelve months and, more importantly, the specific type of project they will be performing.
This allowed them to reach out to specific IT leaders who would be responsible for these specific projects–and show these prospects their relevance. The SaaS sales and marketing team targeted these IT leaders with content that is specific to the challenges and issues that the prospect will be facing when tackling this new IT project. From there they provided case studies, webinars, and other content that is all related to the prospect’s specific IT project–and move them forward to having a sales conversation and demo.
Notice the key word here: “specific.”
- “Specific” companies
- “Specific” IT leaders
- “Specific” projects
- “Specific” needs
- “Specific” issues and challenges
- “Specific” content
By taking an account based marketing approach the UK SaaS company engaged in sales conversations with companies like Sky Telecommunications, British Telecom, Citibank, IBM, Bank of Ireland, Expedia, and many others. The sales and marketing team was able to go from connection to revenue with the IT team at GoDaddy. They were able to attract an RFP from JCPenney and they were able to create partnerships with IBM and ServiceNow.
Now don’t you think it’s time you take a different approach on LinkedIn so you can go beyond reach and brand awareness? Don’t you think it’s time that you demonstrate your relevance and provide specific value to targeted decision makers within targeted companies to drive demand and revenues?