How well do you understand your prospective customers? These days, it’s not enough to brush up on top-level insights from a target account list. You have to meet your future and current customers where they are and on their terms.
To do that, you have to do your homework to uncover the broader insights that will cue you into their pain points, whether they’re actively looking for a solution like yours, how immediate their need is, and what may have triggered that need.
This is where a 360-degree approach comes into play. By committing to understanding how your customer accounts function, you’ll begin to see through their eyes what they’re interested in and when, what roadblocks they’re facing, who they answer to, and who answers to them. Armed with that knowledge, you’ll discover ways your team can eliminate friction, create hypertargeted and personalized messaging, and prevent missed opportunities like never before.
Let’s take a closer look at how taking a 360-degree approach can improve your customers’ buying experience, shorten the sales cycle and increase deal sizes:
Understanding How Accounts Function
When marketing campaigns are built on a narrow view of the target account, without a complete understanding of who they are and what they really want and need, you typically fail to hit the mark. At worst, you risk losing their business altogether.
Let’s paint a quick scenario. Let’s say you go to a nutritionist for assistance with meal planning, and rather than look at your chart for insights on tailoring care specifically to you, she hands you an in-depth monthly plan with — you guessed it – multiple foods you’re highly allergic to. On one hand, props to her for making a detailed effort. But on the other, it was useless because she ignored your specific needs. Not exactly conducive to a positive experience. You’re clearly not going to implement the food plan or trust her with your health in the future.
Nobody likes to feel misunderstood. But this is how it feels when the company trying to sell you a solution really doesn’t know you after all. And while being unprepared won’t cause you physical harm like a nut allergy might, it can sure increase the odds of killing a deal.
By now we’re in agreement there’s no one-size-fits-all plan for every prospective customer that comes your way, so it’s critical to spend the time to understand how your customers function. In other words, you need a 360-degree view of your accounts.
Developing a 360-Degree Approach
The formula for account-based marketing success hinges on a three-prong model of Fit, knowing your target accounts; Intent, knowing which of your target accounts are actively researching or buying so you can prioritize these accounts; and Engagement, creating engagement with the right people in the right accounts.
If you’re at this point, you will have already created your ideal customer profile (ICP) and built a target account list based on fit. That leaves intent and engagement as the two concepts key to a 360-degree approach.
How would you discover if your accounts are interested in what your company is selling? It starts with monitoring for indications your accounts are searching for services or products similar to yours, or are looking for information on third-party websites about the issues they’re having that your solution could potentially solve.
Here’s an example. Imagine you sell a SaaS product for physical therapists. Based on your ICP and research history of your current customers, you know your prospective customers are likely searching for content about cloud-based electronic medical records, streamlining documentation, billing and outcomes tracking, among other concerns a clinic director might face. Intent data can arm your team with this key information to help inform decisions and next steps.
More specifically, with the help of technology, you’d also have the ability to suss out different types of intent signals to help your sales team determine where the account lands in the funnel, giving them the visibility they need to tailor their strategies.
While intent is all about identifying interest and catching it early to help inform your sales and marketing teams’ strategies, engagement insights demonstrate the ways in which accounts are currently interacting with your brand, online and off.
With engagement insights, you’ll know which accounts are visiting your website, attending your events, opening your emails and downloading content — all signaling a high level of engagement. This data adds to the 360-view of the account by revealing exactly what the account is interested in and when, providing tremendous value to your marketing and sales team so they may take steps to tailor their messaging and improve the customer experience going forward.
Leveraging Your 360-Degree View
It sounds like a heavy lift to gather all of these intent and engagement signals, but your organization likely has all of this information. You just need to break it free from its silos and organize it. Getting into one central hub that everyone has access to will enable the entire team — marketing, sales, customer success, etc. — to gain a 360-degree view of the customer and help you work as one team to build a deeper relationship with that customer.
Leverage the data from your CRM, marketing automation platforms, any predictive or listening software you may already be using. Whether you use a spreadsheet or more sophisticated ABM platform like Terminus, gathering information from all of your current sources will help your team make informed decisions and determine what the next move needs to be.
Building a 360-degree view of your best-fit accounts takes some work, but the return is significant. You’ll be able to leverage this data to create hyper-personalized messaging, and adjust your strategy as needed, which will improve the customer’s buying experience, shorten sales cycles and increase deal sizes.