Account based marketing (ABM), sometimes called account based selling (ABS) has been around for years.  It works on the assumption that it's easier to get more business from an existing customer, rather than winning new customers and logos.

Many businesses have two sales teams, one that is incentivised to win new business, these are the ABM accounts of the future and a team to work purely on growing business in existing accounts.

How to ace ABM

I often hear about ABM programs that are in trouble, partly because the a number of assumptions have not been set early on and the teams are not given the skills.  A company might get an outside agency in to kick start the program, where a high-level strategy is provided, but real expectations are not always set.

How can we build relationships at scale as part of ABM with social selling?

1. Because ABM is often driven by a "marketing agency", that agency will be there to drive their own agenda.

Because ABM is a "softer sell" it is about building relationships.

At my last corporate role, we had 7 people from our sales team that always made their number, in fact they would always make 200%.  We set up a project to understand why this was and found that in every account they worked in they had over 200 contacts.

We recently did an experiment here at DLA Ignite to see how fast we could get 500 contacts within one account.  The answer, only 3 days, using LinkedIn.  This DLA Ignite salesperson is now connected with the CEO of both the US and UK groups of this target account, as well as the Board on both sides of the Atlantic.  Now we know with ABM that this does not guarantee us we will win the business, but it does mean our influence is circulating in that company.

How do we get content at scale for ABM with social selling?

The other issue with ABM is that you need content.  In most cases, content is seen as marketing's job.  With an ABM program the amount of content needed accelerates and it cannot be supplied by the marketing department.

That's where you trusted marketing agency will be there waiting for you and your check (cheque) book.  This is the second mistake companies make.

The thing is, nobody is interested in the "corporate content" that is being created.  The buyers certainly are not.

I've just off a call with a marketer who said "our people are way to reliant on company created content. If one of our clients are connected to 6 of our people, they will probably see the same content six times."   We call this corporate spam. 

A sales guy I'm coaching keeps saying to me "if only I could get the messaging in front of the client, they will buy".  Sorry, they won't and the client won't read your messaging.  It also makes one huge assumption.

Let me say that again. Your client is unlikely to ever read a piece of corporate content and say "wow, this is amazing, please can I buy?"

The only unique selling point (USP) your company has is your people.

ABM (and ABS), works and it works at scale. You can build digital dominance in your accounts, without the need for expensive (or cheap) marketing agencies.

All you need to do is to empower your sales people and your technical people on social.

They will have great social profiles that rather than people ignoring and merging into a sea of sameness, people will walk towards.

They will have built a wide and varied network in the accounts you want to influence.  With social, they can do this at scale.

They will create insightful, interesting, educational and human content, that will stimulate your chosen accounts.  You target accounts will see your team, not as corporate content pushers but business partners, trusted advisers, with the business acumen to help.