As a professional services firm, marketing can sometimes take the back seat to servicing your clients. At the end of the day, it’s those clients that are keeping you in business. But when you start to look at expanding your firm and taking it to the next level, marketing and business development are the natural first places to turn to.
In looking to form or recalibrate your marketing strategy, knowing your firm’s audience is usually the first step. Understanding who you are talking to and how you can help them, helps you create marketing touchpoints for the entire buyer journey. While this is an important piece of the marketing pie, many firms could benefit from a more strategic and customized approach. Enter: account-based marketing.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategy that targets your marketing efforts on an account basis. This allows your firm to identify and target unique individuals or businesses that you think would be the ideal client for your firm. Through this approach, your firm can shorten the sales cycle, bring in larger deals, and free up valuable time for your business development teams. Below, we highlight the four reasons why account-based marketing can help your firm skyrocket to success.
1. Shorter Sales Cycles
According to Kimble Applications, the average sales cycle length for professional services firms has elongated from 88 days to 92 days in 2017. Sales cycle length can be an indicator of deal size or deal complexity, but it can also be an indicator of tighter budgets. Prospects will tend to move through the sales process faster when they have the budget to spare, and move slower when they don’t. While a longer sales cycle could mean your firm has larger deals on the table, it also means that your business development resources are bogged down throughout the process. So how can you shorten your sales cycle without sacrificing any additional revenue potential?
By targeting your sales and marketing efforts towards specific individuals through ABM, you can more effectively close deals in a shorter amount of time. Because the individuals you target through ABM are usually ideal fits for your firm, they are more likely that to convert than prospects who are unqualified. In addition, this affords your marketing and business development team to customize their approach for each key account, increasing the likelihood that the account will convert in the process.
2. Larger Deal Sizes
Deal size is a critical key performance indicator (KPI) for any professional services firm as it directly affects the bottom line. Depending on the quantity and quality of the deals you are able to close will directly influence your gross revenue and business value. Hopefully, your business development machine is closing deals at a steady rate to maintain the current state of things, but are those deal sizes large enough to propel your firm’s growth forward?
Through account-based marketing, your business development team likely already has a relationship or at least a mutual connection to the key account they are targeting. Because of this familiarity, your reps are able to strategically upsell new services and opportunities to create larger deals. Plus, if your prospects and clients share mutual connections, your reps can use this to their advantage and create new cross-selling opportunities, once again bringing in larger deals for your professional services firm.
3. More Opportunities for Personalization
Personalized emails can result in a six times higher transaction rate, but only 70% of organizations take advantage of them. Today, most of the remaining 30% of firms take advantage of personalization on a mass scale. By exporting client data from their CRM or another source, they can personalize a mass email campaign to address each client individually. While this is an important personalization step, firms can take personalization a lot further when using account-based marketing.
By identifying the key accounts you wish to target, you can not only customize each communication with prospects, but also customize your service offerings and buyer touchpoints. After doing your homework to determine the unique wants and needs of each key account, you can tailor your messages, conversations, and offerings for each prospect. This increased level of personalization ensures that you are solving specific prospect needs, increasing the chances that they will convert into clients.
4. Pre-Qualified Leads
Sixty-two percent of salespeople cite prospecting and qualifying leads as the most challenging part of the sales process. Imagine how much more effective they could be at their job if the qualification process and prospecting strategies were complete before they had to approach leads? That way, your business development and sales teams can focus solely on nurturing leads and closing deals.
ABM effectively pre-qualifies all sales leads, making sure that your business development team is efficient with their time and actively targeting only the best prospects. Because ABM requires a significant amount of initial research, once a key account is identified, they have already become a qualified lead. In addition, these accounts are chosen because they already fit your buy personas or have indicated an interest in your firm’s services, making them a more valuable lead.
Enable Fast Account-Based Marketing
Account-based marketing is the key to a customized, highly targeted business development strategy. Find out how CRM automation can give your ABM efforts a significant boost through business development and marketing alignment.