One of the top B2B marketing challenges is getting your message in front of the right audience.
That’s why account-based marketing ABM is so popular right now. It enables you to focus your marketing efforts on your ideal customers (and bypass the bad leads). According to the 2016 State of Account-Based Marketing Study, 58% of B2B marketers have made ABM a top priority this year.
But it’s not easy to capture the attention of your top prospects…especially if they’ve never heard of you and don’t know how you can help them.
So, how do you show them your value?
Advocates: Your account-based marketing secret weapon
Your advocates – or your evangelists, fans and happiest customers – are your ticket into your most sought-after accounts.
Today’s B2B buyers rely on their peers for recommendations, and your advocates have a distinct advantage over your marketing materials: they are trusted. Advocates help you establish credibility because they have real experience with your product or service.
When you combine advocacy with ABM, you can:
- Make your ABM efforts more successful
- Better align your sales and marketing teams
- Drive revenue
- More effectively cross-sell and upsell to your customers
How advocates can help you break into new accounts and expand existing ones
Advocate marketing is a powerful strategy that can help you target accounts and generate referrals. But to do this, you must first lock down your ABM goals.
ABM involves identifying your target accounts or customers and then developing personalized marketing programs for each account. These accounts can be:
- Named accounts that you want to convert (new business)
- Existing accounts that you want to penetrate further
- Industry segments in the same vertical (new or existing accounts)
Once you’ve identified these accounts, you’re ready to bring in your big guns – your advocates. Here’s how advocates can help you target key accounts:
- Named accounts
Your advocates can help you break into new accounts. For example, they can give you introductions via LinkedIn and referrals to their peers. Our research found that referral leads from B2B advocates convert better, close faster, and have a higher lifetime value than other types of leads.
Make it easy for advocates to refer you to your named accounts. Educate advocates about the types of referrals you want. You can also turn referrals into a game, where advocates compete against each other to send you the most qualified leads. In return, you can give them points, recognition and access to your company.
In addition to referring you to new accounts, your advocates can help you decide whom to connect with. Since your advocates are your happiest customers, you can create new account profiles based on them. Then, you can target more people who are like your advocates. This increases your chances of making your new customers happy and building more advocates.
- Existing accounts
Your advocates can extend your reach within an account by connecting you with new departments and decision makers.
According to the CEB, it takes an average of five decision makers to approve a purchase. By introducing you to more decision makers, your advocates can speed the sales process. This can increase your cross-selling and upselling revenue.
Plus, when your advocates give their co-workers great referrals, they can look like heroes at work. It’s a win-win!
- Industry segments
Advocates can connect you to new industry segments via referrals and recommendations.
They can also provide you with first-person insights into an industry or segment, which gives you an advantage over your competitors. To gain these insights, figure out which of your advocates are connected to which of your targeted industries. Then seek to understand the profile of a customer in a particular industry, and get connections to new potential accounts within that industry.
For existing accounts, advocates can help you better understand the needs of a chosen segment or vertical, or even help you sell deeper across multiple divisions of a company. An example is Chris Peltz, Customer Success Operations Manager at HP Software, who was a power advocate for our platform and helped us better understand the needs of HP as a whole, eventually allowing us to serve multiple parts of the company.
Advocates can help you sell deeper across a large account with multiple verticals, to land and expand your products or services.
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- Advocates: The Secret Weapon of Account-Based Marketing - May 21, 2016