Content marketing is transforming the world of B2B marketing like never before, allowing marketers to initiate conversations and develop relationships earlier in the buying process. Today’s content marketing meets content selling, and, to put it frankly, it’s pretty awesome.
Content selling gives salespeople the ability to deliver the right content at the right time for each contact, adding real value to the conversation. In both cases, content harnesses your company’s expertise to help your prospects do their jobs better – and reap the rewards of that.
75% of executives will read unsolicited marketing materials that contain ideas that might be relevant to their business – ITSMA
Every sales process is the sum of its engagements. Dial up the relevance and resonance of your interactions through content and you’ll increase not only the quantity, but the quality of your engagements as well.
Creating appropriate and unique content for Account Based Everything is a critical step in this strategy, yet only 56% of companies create content for their ABM needs, according to SiriusDecisions.
What kind of content is right for ABM?
Every kind of content you’d use in a normal sales and marketing process will be effective in your ABM program – as long as it’s targeted and relevant – including emails, eBooks, webinars, white papers, web pages, blog posts, Slideshares, videos, infographics, podcasts, social media posts, interactive content, surveys, quizzes and graders…
The key is to focus on tactics and formats that your audience will respond to. Some personas devour eBooks, while others don’t. Some will happily watch half-hour videos; others won’t even watch a 1-minute video.
“You need to create stories that the right people in your targeted companies would actually like to read and share.”- Johan Sundstrand, Freya News
Don’t forget these key parts of your account based content plan:
The sales presentation is still a critical conversion point in most sales processes. ABM teams can help arm salespeople with more informed, relevant and insightful pitches that speak directly to particular audience types and match the presented content to everything that the prospects have already been seeing from the company. Using a generic corporate deck to follow-through on a highly-personalized ABM process would be nothing short of malpractice.
Freya News, the ABM marketing agency, recommends industry-specific content hubs that contain content for all personas and buying stages. Uberflip, a content marketing company, creates content hubs for specific named accounts. You can use targeted advertising, email and social media to drive your ABM contacts to a hub like Uberflip, where they will find the right content for them.
“You can then link content into series or nurture flows to see how a prospect progresses with your stories,” says Johan Sundstrand, Freya News CEO.
A Content Playbook
Another important part of any ABM account plan is a content playbook that maps messages and content to key personas and purchase stages.
A quick outline of key themes, stories and existing content summarized in one place can ensure that front-line sales teams have access to the right messaging to use in every communication.
An internal content repository can make it easy for sales teams to discover and access the content or stories they need to support each interaction.
Content creation checklist for ABM
One of the primary uses for the insight you generate is to create content that will be super-relevant to the key people inside your target accounts. The process looks like this:
- Conduct a content audit
- Discover all of the potentially relevant content you have right now.
- Tag it by account, persona, purchase stage and issue.
- Identify content gaps that need filling.
- Adapt existing content
- Pick content that’s relevant and usable as it is.
- Identify content that needs simple revisions to make it account-relevant.
- Create new content
- Prioritize themes and issues for accounts based on existing content gaps identified in the audit.
- Identify sources: subject matter experts, existing content, etc.
- Create an editorial calendar for content creation.
- Create content briefs and assign these to your internal team or an agency.
Of course, content is only a small piece of a solid Account Based Marketing strategy. Top-performing companies are moving beyond the hype of ABM and implementing strategies that work in their organizations. We’ve laid out how you can do this, soup-to-nuts, in The Clear & Complete Guide to Account Based Marketing.
What are you doing to create or adapt content and messaging that is targeted specifically at the buying teams in each of your key accounts?