Sometimes it feels like your lead generation efforts amount to throwing money out the window.
If your sales and marketing teams are spending time and money to bring potential customers into the funnel, but your hit rate is single-digit, then it’s time to think about using Named Account Marketing.
The term ‘named account’ might have come up during your latest brainstorming session about a strategy for lead generation. And no, it’s not those off-color nicknames you might have for your more challenging prospects.
A named account is one that has been identified as a valuable potential customer, based on predefined metrics, such as sales revenue, location, ‘fit’ with your industry, strategy and current customer base, existing relationships and current needs (on both sides of the table).
Responsibility for calling on this prospective company – and all relevant decision makers from the CEO to the purchasing manager — is then assigned to a specific sales and marketing team.
At metadata.io, we call these opportunities ‘target accounts.’ We’ve outlined our approach for identifying buyer intent and developing persona insights in earlier posts. Our guidelines help you dig deeper than basic metrics to more precisely define your target or ‘named’ accounts.
Benefits of a Named Account Strategy
In a B2B world, decisions are rarely made by a single individual. According to the Harvard Business Review, “the number of people involved in B2B solutions purchases has climbed from an average of 5.4 two years ago to 6.8 today, and these stakeholders come from a lengthening roster of roles, functions, and geographies.”
A Named Account strategy improves the efficiency of your selling efforts. Here’s how:
Assigning responsibilities prevents duplicated efforts by your sales team,
The customer will have a single point of contact for streamlined communication.
The decision to move to a Named Account selling strategy can exist outside of Account Based Marketing.
But simply identifying potential customers to call on without a supporting marketing plan is like buying all the ingredients for a great meal, leaving them on the kitchen counter and hoping the meal appears.
Named Account Marketing acts as the ‘chef’ bringing together the right combination of ingredients to deliver a compelling, ‘tasty’ and personalized message for potential customers to savor, so much so that they return to the buffet for more.
Tailoring your informational menu to specific accounts can be completed manually, but data-driven approaches are more likely to improve your team’s efficiency as they develop targeted materials and strategies.
To get the most out of your named account marketing efforts, focus on these ideas:
Remember your customers are people – not leads. Although targeting activities may be data-driven, you’re still dealing with 3D, real human beings who, for the most part, are trying to do their best every day to fulfill their responsibilities. Establishing connections with customers – beyond the products and services you are selling – can start with simple actions like asking about their challenges or gathering reactions to issues affecting their business. Just as the chef chats with his customers prior to serving them food, your marketing efforts should include conversation, not a one-way monologue.
Be there for your customers when they need your help. The earlier conversation helps build trust and provides you with insight into current needs. With that context, you can develop and deliver content to make life a little easier for your customers, adapting information to reflect specific roles. As needs change, so can your content. Timely, relevant information deepens the relationship with the customer and enhances your team’s credibility and value.
Communicate in the customers’ language. The chef doesn’t tell you about the emulsified egg yolk, melted butter, water and vinegar reduction. He tells you about Hollandaise sauce, or better yet, he shows you the mouth-watering sauce and you’re nodding and saying, ‘yes, please’ to another spoonful.
Conversational, engaging, funny content makes you approachable and relatable. Even though we think the metadata.io approach demonstrates out-of-the-box thinking that will create a paradigm shift and leverage big data to generate high ROI, we try not to mention it.
Have a robust menu of content. While you can’t address all the styles of learning with online content, you can develop a menu of informative resources to meet the varied needs (and data appetites) of your audiences.
Infographics provide quick visual summaries of complex information.
Videos add a dimension of sound to images and have a range of uses, from product demonstrations to expert interviews, customer testimonials and personalized messages.
Webinars can facilitate social interaction and group learning.
Landing pages can also encourage interaction while delivering specific information in a variety of formats.
Case studies can act as a surrogate for ‘hands-on’ experience, since they illustrate through words and visuals how your solution helps address customer problems.
Whitepapers offer logical, fact-based and detailed explanations to download and read in a solitary and as-needed setting.
Determine the best methods for reaching your customers. At metadata.io, we know that getting the right message delivered through the right channel will make your marketing efforts more effective. We can quickly and easily evaluate your content menu across several online channels using multivariate testing to help you find the best combination for your customers.
Refine your ‘menu’ and communication approach over time. As conditions and customers change and evolve, you’ll need to tweak your named account marketing efforts. Even the chef adds a bit more salt (or butter!) to the Hollandaise sauce occasionally to improve customer satisfaction.
How Named Account Marketing Works for You
Named Account marketing facilitates conversations, fosters trust and builds relationships. It allows you to walk with customers in their environment, at their pace, and demonstrate how your company can help address the problems they’re facing.
When done right, Named Account marketing will lead the customer to turn to you and say, “Thanks, now, let’s draw up that contract and I’ll get you a purchase order.”
And the best news? You don’t have to go to the Culinary Institute (of Marketing) to provide a satisfying marketing program to your Named Account. We’re here to help.