Personalisation of content for an identified prospect is a major challenge for account-based marketers. The costs can be high, but without some level of personalisation, the enterprise sales process is likely to fail. We discuss the issues below and offer some potential solutions.
Identify Target Contacts
After identifying key accounts, the next step is to isolate the main contacts within those accounts. Specifically, you need to know:
Who are they?
What is their function?
What is their influence?
Who do they interact with (others on your target list?)
Where are they in the process?
What are their information needs?
Where do they look for information?
As any good salesperson knows, it is also useful to understand their interests outside work.
Internal and external salespeople will hold most of the information. If you have an existing CRM system or sales platform it should hold much of the information you need. But be careful the information may be out of date or incorrectly tagged.
information will probably need to be collected across departments. Each operational section of your business will hold some information on your key contacts. This information can sometimes be more relevant and up to date than sales information.
Data and Technology
With a profile for each key contact in place, the next challenge is to store that information. Whoever interacts with that contact must be able to read or update the information. That might be sales or some other operational department.
Experience shows if an interaction is not recorded within minutes it will probably never be recorded. Therefore any recording system must be simple to use for everyone. The problem with many CRM and sales platforms is they have so much functionality they can be bewildering.
Whatever system is in place, it must raise a flag when an action is due.
Personalisation and Content
If we assume just twenty key accounts and eight key contacts within each of those key accounts then supporting the unique needs of each of those individuals soon becomes an onerous task. To deliver unique content to 160 contacts that relate to their stage in the sales process is not practical.
Instead, prepare some general overview content for use across all contact (or groups of contacts). Then build blocks of content that sales or anyone who interacts with contacts can pull together to address a given situation.
To achieve this requires information storage and retrieval systems. Again, this must be simple for everyone to use.
Awareness and Brand
Unfortunately, personalisation is not enough. The way a target contact perceives the information you supply depends on your profile (your brand) or lack of it. If you have built some awareness of your business and the services it offers then content will be better received.
Content for brand building campaigns is different to content personalised for a target prospect. Distribution methods are different. Brand and personalised marketing must work in unison.
Personalising content for account based selling can be a resource-intensive and costly exercise. Success depends on identifying relevant prospects and installing systems to simplify the process. Those systems must be simple to use, or they will soon become out of date or crammed with useless information.