Quality rather than quantity: The mechanical engineering company Mooser is currently in the middle of planning its first ABM campaign and finds out how to define KPIs, identify and contact individual, valuable accounts – and also that ABM makes use of the oldest sales technique in the world.
A packed workshop day lies ahead for the fictional company Mooser. Today’s goal: identifying the most important ABM accounts. Prior to this, the first meeting clarified what Account-based Marketing is, how it differs from Inbound Marketing, and why these two methods still make a good pair.
Mooser chose this combination of Inbound and Account-based Marketing for an exceptional reason: The company is expanding with a new product range of industrial machinery and assets, which it wants to promote to key players in the market.
The first workshop day
Three employees of Mooser's marketing agency went to the main location in Salzburg for this workshop. At the conference table they are accompanied by their executives and members of the internal marketing department and sales team. This large team has been convened to enter the first phase of concept development and determine the account funnel – the starting shot for the campaign. To begin with, the funnel is called to mind once again:
- Define ideal customers
- Identify relevant accounts
- Expand reach
- Engage the network and encourage interaction
- Create advocates
- Measuring success
The funnel is often depicted as an inverted funnel, because from the very beginning everything revolves around a few, but well-researched customer profiles. Before it comes to who should be reached, it has to be clear what is to be achieved. Time for the first item on today's agenda:
Point 1: Which metrics should be tracked?
Start small and explore possibilities, that's the motto. Mooser wants to increase interaction with selected target customers. How successfully this is achieved can be measured with specified key performance indicators (KPIs) for different metrics. Today, for Mooser’s first ABM campaign, special attention will be paid to selected pre-sale metrics.
- Web Traffic by Target Account: How much traffic to the website comes from target accounts? Tracking IP addresses or cookies is the way to determine how well the ABM campaign is received.
- Target-Account Reach: An average of 17 people are involved in a sales decision within a company. Mooser plans to reach ten potential contact persons per account for the time being.
- SQLs in accounts: Comparable to Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) in Inbound Marketing, whole accounts are being evaluated. They can be Marketing Qualified Accounts (MQA) and have specific Sales Qualified Leads within the account. Mooser's goal for this metric: 3 accounts with Sales Qualified Leads in the next quarter.
- Deal Velocity: How long does it take from the first contact to contract closing? This data provides information about the sales cycle and the effectiveness of the individual measures. At Mooser, this figure was previously around 63 days, the new target lies at 50 days deal velocity.
- Average Contract Value: How profitable was the ABM strategy? This metric provides information as to whether the new strategy resulted in higher contract sums.
In order to map the complete sales cycle, the marketing agency briefly explains which metrics are decisive after the closing of a contract:
- Cross-Sells and Upsells: Insight into customer satisfaction, marketing efforts and sales team effectiveness.
- Referrals: The hallmark of customer satisfaction.
- Net Promoter Score (NSP): "To what extent would you recommend this product to friends and family?", the NSP is firmly established in B2C and B2B, when it comes to identifying brand advocates.
The Key Performance Indicators are set – time for today's main part: Who are Mooser's target accounts?
Point 2: Identify accounts
It’s the turn for the internal marketing department and the sales team: Their presentation is about the customers who are already important to Mooser. The employees have combed through the existing, well-maintained databases and have come to the following conclusion:
- Regular customers: There are nine existing customers, who have the potential to become regulars and who display a great demand for Mooser's extended product range in the manufacturing of machines and assets.
- Industry and sector: All of these are industrial companies in the pharmaceutical and medical engineering sector.
- Location: Among the customers are three companies based in Austria, four in Germany and two companies with headquarters in the USA.
- Company size: The companies are large enterprises with 800 to 3.500 employees and subsidiaries at various locations in Germany, Austria and the USA.
- Contact points: Currently, contact is made with these companies via email, contracts, industry trade shows and representatives.
These nine customers were not identified by chance. The sales and marketing teams know exactly which the important players in the international market are. In the conference bout a discussion is initiated, which is based on the focus group method. Mooser’s Marketing Agency takes over the moderation and wants to know from the participants what the profile of their desired customer should look like: By means of association exercises and open questions in the group.
Mooser’s target accounts
The discussion in the large team was long overdue. The management's vision has not yet been fully communicated to the sales team and internal marketing team. And vice versa: Not everything that the management has in mind is in line with the experience of the two departments.
Do we want to address individual or several companies in one sector? What values should our accounts represent? What are the parameters of the optimal customer profile? Do our different ideas also match the existing regular customers?
The discussion could have dragged on for days, but two hours later the group has arrived at a result, with which each party can identify. The optimal customer profile should be:
- Companies in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector, with a high demand for system solutions for machines in pharmaceutical plants
- Companies with +/-1000 employees
- Companies, which hold values of integrity, future-oriented action and agile management high
In addition, transnational companies with branches in German-speaking countries are also targeted: besides the geographical proximity, particularly Germany is home to many innovative centres. And some company names come up in the discussion: Thermo Fischer, Amgen and Bayer (editor's note: since Mooser is a purely fictitious company, these existing corporations are only potential accounts) are only three of the companies being discussed as future accounts. Before the coffee break, an agreement is reached: Four companies are targeted as accounts, in addition to the nine customers presented by the sales team.
Point 3: Key contact persons and where to find them
So how can Mooser make sure that the message reaches the right people, the so-called "key contact“ persons? The target for the metric reach are ten contact points within an account – but in most cases the necessary contact information is missing. Information, however, which is essential for Mooser's Account-based Marketing campaign in order to gear the entire sales cycle towards success. Three basic steps are needed to identify the key contacts:
- Existing contacts: When it comes to work with regular customers there is a big advantage: Personal contact points to representatives or employees from the purchasing department already exist! Of course, these must now be expanded in order to reach all important co-decision-makers in the Customer Decision Journey. Don’t hesitate to ask around: companies and corporations in the same industry often networked. Chances are that contacts to the desired accounts can be established through existing relationships.
- Research offline and online: Indispensable for every target account. Website research, articles in industry magazines and more provide information about the important players within a company. Do not forget: The first gatekeepers in a decision often are the secretaries of the company boards. In order to guarantee that the message from Mooser company gets through, as many names as possible must be researched. Employees from the administrative office, sales, marketing and also management.
- Social media research: Social media channels are not only helpful to stay in contact with friends. Especially networks like LinkedIn are suitable for contacting and exchanging information with potential decision makers of other companies. In addition, LinkedIn offers the possibility to create points of contact through targeted advertising. The result: No bold promotional requests, but an offering of suitable information. Another possibility: Mooser’s employees make use of their own LinkedIn accounts and network with contacts of the desired account. It is quite possible that they will subsequently refer to the company website of Mooser.
The oldest sales technique in the world
Mooser's marketing agency makes it clear: The possibilities of Account-based Marketing are only fully exploited when attention is paid to interpersonal relationships. This method is not new, it has always been used to build trust and long-term business relationships. What is also at the heart of Inbound Marketing becomes important in contacting key contact persons: Marketing is only effective when people receive the content that is currently relevant to them. The decisive components are a well executed content strategy and a stable campaign structure. Which content and which marketing strategy can Mooser rely on? Which requirements must be met for the campaign? How can the timing be set up?
The first workshop day is done. The core team will work out the answers to these questions tomorrow.