Account-based marketing (ABM) is one of the hottest marketing trends of 2017.
According to SiriusDecisions, 58% of B2B companies planned to invest in ABM technology or services last year.
However, many companies only use traditional tactics, like retargeted ads and email nurtures, to engage ideal prospects.
But these techniques won’t help you build authentic relationships with your most desired prospects. Buyers today are bombarded with sales messages, and they don’t trust what you have to say about yourself.
So, what do they trust? Recommendations from their peers.
That’s why incorporating your customer advocates into your ABM campaigns is crucial for success.
Advocates: your account-based marketing secret weapon
Your advocates are willing to put their reputations on the line to recommend you to their network.
Their positive word-of-mouth can impact every stage of your sales funnel. So, incorporating their voice into the campaigns going to your most desired accounts only makes sense.
According to research from Forrester, advocate marketing will figure prominently in 1/3 of ABM programs launched in 2017.
In this blog, I’ll outline how Influitive involved our advocates in six of our ABM campaigns to help us influence $2.3 million in potential business and close nearly $300,000 in new deals. (If you want to learn how we chose our target accounts, read this blog.)
P.S. If you’re wondering how we get our advocates to help with our marketing, you can read this primer about running a customer advocacy program, or download the Advocate Marketing Playbook.
1. Campaign name: Targeted Intro
Target audience: Top of funnel prospects
One of the biggest marketing challenges is getting people to notice you. If you approach cold prospects on your own, they’ll likely ignore your message.
Potential buyers are more likely to speak with you if share a mutual connection. Your advocates can help you get on your potential buyers’ radars.
Last year, we identified prospects we wanted to connect with on LinkedIn. Then, we looked at their connections to see if they knew any of our advocates.
We then reached out to advocates who knew the prospect, and asked them if we could include them in our first conversation with the prospect.
Here’s a screenshot of how we approached them:
To make it easy for our advocates to help, we sent them the LinkedIn profile of the person we wanted to meet.
As a form of recognition, we offered them leaderboard points in Influitive VIP, our advocate marketing program, which they could see how they stack up against our other advocates.
- 467 referrals we created from this approach
- 78 opportunities created, which influenced $1.2 million in pipeline
- 10 opportunities and $137,000 in sales
- 13 opportunities still in the works
2. Campaign name: ABM Most Wanted
Target audience: Middle of funnel prospects
If you read our last ABM post, you know we mailed some key prospects special packages, which included a review from one of their customers. We then added a note from a rep, asking if they wanted to discuss what they could do to get more customer reviews.
To encourage a response, we asked our advocates to help us engage them on social media.
Here’s what the challenges in our advocate marketing program looked like:
Soon, we had a swarm of advocates engaging with our prospects and encouraging them to reply to our note.
- 178 advocates reached out to 94 accounts
- 33 responses from prospects
- 6 opportunities created and $71,000+ in sales
3. Campaign name: Social Pressure
Target audience: Middle of the funnel prospects
In one of our ABM campaigns, we created custom videos for ten prospects whose product was ranked in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant.
We congratulated them on their standing on social media, and talked about how their advocates could help them move to the top rankings in the quadrant.
Then, we asked our advocates to encourage these prospects to respond to our message on social media.
Here’s one of our tweets with our advocates’ retweets at the bottom:
— Influitive (@influitive) July 29, 2016
By sharing the videos we had posted, our advocates validated our message and provided social proof to encourage prospects to respond.
- 21% response rate
- 1 opportunity created, which influenced $16,500+ in pipeline