Human beings are social animals. Over thousands of years, we’ve developed gestures, languages, and tools to express ourselves to those around us. Our exceptional ability for communication has empowered us to exchange ideas like no other species on the planet. Given that this dialogue is at the heart of the human experience, it’s of little surprise that Conversational ABM is becoming an increasingly effective engagement technique for the modern-day marketer.
The following post highlights 8 useful factors to keep in mind when implementing a Conversational ABM process with your marketing team:
- Identifying target accounts
- Segmenting your account list
- Building boundaries
- Personalising ads
- Sentry surveillance
- Complete consistency
- Conversational ABM: Around the clock
But before all that — what is Conversational ABM anyway?
Over the past few years, there has been a fundamental shift (or rather, return) in the way prospects prefer to interact with businesses. Rather than static content like emails, ads, whitepaper, and webinars; buyers today want to have personalised experiences involving real conversations with real people. In fact, 90% of prospects identify live messaging as their most favoured channel of business communication. And as automation and live-chat technology continue to improve, this demand is able to be met through Conversational ABM.
Conversational ABM encourages marketers to engage with their leads — up close and personal — to promote a relevant experience across the length of the sales funnel. It’s an approach that substitutes static, volume-driven content with proactive, personal customer engagement and an objective of making your targets feel ~ special ~
So how does one go about implementing Conversational ABM? Here are a few guidelines to get you started:
- Identify your target accounts: As is the case with any ABM strategy, your first step should be to align marketing and sales through a collaborative identification of accounts. The target list is usually determined by a few, specific firmographic characteristics such as industry, revenue, and geography. Once generated, this list will dictate the tone and language of your messaging, content, and campaigns. So getting it right is pretty important.
- Identifying and Segmenting prospects: Once you’ve created a nice fresh list of target accounts, the next step is to identify prospects to reach out to within this list. Maybe you want to target CXOs, or maybe managers, or maybe engineers, or maybe a combination of a variety of such roles. Regardless, the optimal approach to take with each demographic will certainly vary. Hence, it would make sense to further segment this list of prospects by customer life cycle, sales stage, pain points, and most importantly — intent. This segmented list is then allocated among Sales Development Representative, who will device distinct marketing strategies for their targets.
- Building boundaries: One thing to keep in mind during this ABM process is that individuals build relationships with individuals — not companies. Setting strict ownership boundaries will be a valuable investment in the long run as your SDRs develop strong associations with their prospects. This will ensure that visitors are being routed to the appropriate SDR, and mitigate any risk of overlap in engagement.
- Personalising ads: Okay so far, you know who you’re reaching out to and why you’re reaching out to them specifically. Now it’s time to think about the approach for each prospect. This stage involves an intricate balancing act between personalisation and scale. Of course, every individual in every role across every company you’re targeting has their own unique preferences — but personalising ads at that level isn’t feasible. Instead, customising ads on a higher level — say, by role or industry, is the way to go. This entails running campaigns based on prospect-specific pain points and value adds. A CMO may care about marketing’s influence on revenue while a marketing manager may be interested in improving workflow and automation. Your campaigns should resonate appropriately with all such use-cases.
- Sentry surveillance: Your target list is ready and your personalised ads are running. Now, the second a prospect from your list is on your website, your marketing + sales teams need to be conversation-ready. The first step here is to make sure everyone has access to all the information they’ll need. This means all your CRM data, marketing automation data, and intent data should be consolidated, organised, and easily accessible. Once equipped with all relevant information about the visitor and their company, your SDR team is all set to engage with the prospect.
- Complete consistency: With a prospect now on your website, an important aspect of conversational ABM comes in — the personalisation never goes away. Assuming your prospects love your ads and visit your website, they should be landing on a homepage that’s relevant to them. Any decent content management system (CMS) will be able to identify a contact when they land on your homepage and cater the web flow in a manner that ensures a personalised experience.
- Chit-Chat: A relevant landing page will definitely help direct prospects towards your product. But a lot of the time, this won’t be sufficient. A target will stay on your website only for a few precious minutes and it’s important to make the most of it. Sure, you could wait until they make their way to the demo form and submit their details — but Conversational ABM encourages marketers and SDRs to proactively reach out through a relevant live-chat message. References to the contact’s role, the company’s signals, or a prominent pain point are all great ways to get the conversation going. This is the meat and potatoes of the Conversational ABM process. SDRs utilise target data to provide a genuine, relevant, and personal dialogue with their prospects to confirm a demo and push accounts through the funnel
- Conversational ABM - Around the clock: Conversational ABM involves interacting and connecting with prospects around the clock. While thorough research and proactive interactions are valuable tactics, you may want to employ AI-powered bots to render the process air-tight. So when you do happen to get that one inbound demo at 4 in the morning, you can trust that your chatbots will be up to schedule that demo for you. Oh and another thing — conversational ABM doesn’t top at conversations on your website. Linkedin is your friend when it comes to interacting with your target’s content posts. Feel free to leave likes, comments, and if appropriate, connection requests with prospects.
And there we have it. When executed well, conversational ABM can be a valuable strategy to bolster your marketing efforts and improve conversions. Though it’s definitely a lot more effort than traditional marketing techniques, conversational ABM pays its dividends in the long run. Prospects form stronger associations with the product and are almost certainly more likely to convert from a distant target to a tight-knit customer.