I’ve never been very good at saving money — unless I’m saving for something specific. Give me a defined target, and the intrinsic motivation that comes along with it, and I’ll get there. There is much to be said about the value of focus in achieving a goal.
The same philosophy is at play with account-based marketing (ABM). Everyone knows it’s important to bolster a business pipeline — just as it’s smart to save money — but lacking clear direction can be a hindrance. This is especially true at a time where B2B prospects crave personalization and tailored experiences more than ever.
As the saying goes, if you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one. ABM provides a focused framework for pursuing your ideal prospective customers. Here comes the twist: Influencer marketing can be the perfect pairing with the approach, providing additional voices who can speak authentically and credibly to the exact people you want to reach.
How Account-Based Marketing Works
There’s nothing too complicated about it. Basically, rather creating buyer personas and orienting your B2B marketing strategy toward companies that are similar, you instead identify specific companies you’d love to have as customers, then align your strategy more directly.
Once you’re able to win an account’s business, you can shift focus to growing the partnership through upselling, cross-selling, and referrals — a technique often referred to as “land and expand.”
This graphic, via SuperOffice, provides a visual explanation of how the ABM process differs from a traditional sales funnel:
The prevalence of ABM is growing rapidly as B2B organizations come to embrace the logic behind it. Research found that 61% of companies reported having an established ABM practice in 2018, up from 36% in 2017.
Combining ABM with Influencer Marketing
In general, B2B marketing is undergoing a fundamental shift — from quantity to quality. Savvy organizations recognize that meaningful engagement is far more valuable than overall reach, so they’re refining their strategies to connect with the right prospects, rather than emphasizing vanity metric volume.
At TopRank Marketing, we follow a similar mantra with influencers. It’s not about who has the most followers, or the gaudiest personal brand. It’s about who resonates most with your specific customers and prospects. ABM helps bring clarity to the matter because you can more confidently pinpoint individuals who are influential with the precise businesses you wish to win over.
Once you’ve defined a list of target accounts, you can begin to map out their buying committees and gather insight around the individuals who are likely to impact purchase decisions. When marrying your influencer strategy to your ABM program, you’ll want to consider questions like these:
- Who is influential to people within your targeted accounts? Based on their professional networks and social media activities, which influencers do they pay attention to and trust?
- What topics do your target accounts talk about most? Try to get as specific as you can, then seek out micro-influencers and niche experts with authority in that particular area.
- Who will the people in your target accounts be able to relate to? Authenticity is essential for influencer engagements. You’ll want to identify candidates at similar-sized companies, and with similar roles/functions.
When it comes to making a bottom-line impact, you’ll especially want to concentrate on finding partners with purchasing influence (i.e., they can speak from experience or expertise about your solution and its benefits) for co-creation of content. In essence, this knocks out two birds with one stone, assisting with the development of powerful assets that can activate the influence of your collaborators.
Bring Focus to Your Marketing Strategy
B2B influencer marketing isn’t about enlisting the trendiest Instagram celeb with the most followers. (Well, it is for some companies, but those ones tend to struggle with it.) Instead, it’s about finding the perfect alignment with your audience. Nothing brings more clarity and precision to understanding your audience than ABM, which swaps out theoretical personas for actual organizations and people.
This intersection of ABM and influencer marketing represents one of the most promising frontiers for B2B marketing, especially when it comes to the pursuit of enterprise customers. Not only do influencer partnerships help you break through and gain visibility with busy decision makers at these coveted accounts, but also drive engagement and persuasively move the needle.
The intersection of #ABM and #InfluencerMarketing represents one of the most promising frontiers for B2B marketing, especially when it comes to the pursuit of enterprise customers. @NickNelsonMN Click To Tweet
Influencer marketing plays well with numbers B2B marketing tactics. Learn how influence also intersects with SEO.