Whale hunting with account based marketing and creative inbound

8 minutes read
John - 03.04.2017

Imagine waking up and heading into the office to work with your perfect client, spending your time with a brand you’ve always looked up to and offering your skills to people you really respect within the industry. It’s the dream. If you adopt an inbound marketing strategy and complement it with account-based marketing (ABM), it’s also a dream that can you can fully realise.

And you can do it now, attracting B2B clients that both help grow your business and – more importantly – inspire you and your team on a personal level.


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It’s easier than you think with an inbound philosophy

All you need is a change of philosophy. The first step is to swap outbound cold-calling techniques with an inbound marketing model that attracts a targeted audience who are eager to listen to what you have to say.

What if you’ve already implemented an inbound model, though; have optimised your site and are producing informative, creative, helpful content on a regular basis to attract and convert a specific B2B market?

The answer may not lie in your tactics, but in your overall strategy and inbound philosophy. You need to target the right people; we feel adding ABM to your inbound strategy is the best way to reach out to B2B clients who you may think are beyond you. Whale hunting, if you will.


Account based marketing and creative inbound is easier than you think.


So, what is account based marketing?

Account based marketing, otherwise known as ABM, is designed to attract the attention of the brands and people you have your eye on by better refining and tailoring your existing inbound strategy to fit around a specific business and the key decision makers who work there. Kind of like personas, but then some…

Don’t be afraid. Instead of having a blanket strategy that generally targets companies and people who will naturally interact with and explore your business, instead focus on companies you have a serious ambition to work with.


Read more: Our guide to Account-Based Market


I’m scared… What if they don’t like me?

You’d be surprised at how many people shy away from ABM or simply don’t visualise working with the perfect partner. They may lack confidence or assume that everybody in the industry wants to work with the same brand, making it extremely difficult to even get a foot in the door because everyone’s trying to get noticed by them.

There’s also a first-impression fear. People may be so desperate to land that perfect client or be so focused on making the right first impression that they worry they will come across as desperate, or overcook the pitch and put the prospect off.

Very real fears, but fears that ABM can counteract if it’s introduced in the right way to your existing inbound marketing strategy.


You have a better chance of attracting brands with ABM

ABM can be hard work, but the potential rewards are enormous. It’s usually a long-term approach that requires a lot of groundwork to implement, with a creative approach and deep testing needed to perfect the ABM strategy.

Everybody in the company – especially sales and marketing teams – need to be totally in-tune and working together to focus on landing those quality leads instead of having a focus on general lead quantity.

From a technical level, content needs to be produced that focuses intently on your prospects’ industry trends and challenges, and how you can tackle them in a better way than any of your competitors.

A great level of research also not only needs to go into gathering relevant data that catches your prospects’ attention, but in making sure that it’s introduced in creative and interactive ways to encourage them to explore who you are and what you offer.

That content needs to either lead into data capture solutions on highly-optimised and well-tested web pages to introduce them to your funnel, direct them to a member of your sales or marketing team that has thoroughly researched the client and the industry to build a personal relationship, or other qualifier.


Account based marketing can be hard work, but the potential rewards are enormous.


Personality is key to account based marketing

It stands to reason that if you’re focusing on, say, attracting the attention of three decision makers in a company instead of 300 potential leads across the sector then your approach also has to be highly personalised.

Again, first impressions count. There’s little point in spending the bulk of your time trying to grab the attention of key decision makers only to act like a rabbit in headlights when they get in touch with you.

People appreciate it if you take some time to learn about them on a personal level, the challenges they face and the solutions you’re proposing to make their professional lives that little bit easier.


Read more: Our guide to Account-Based Market 


LinkedIn can help

LinkedIn will be the most important tool available to you as part of your ABM efforts, with the chances for success increased if you put some budget into your social efforts.

Inbound social media campaigns that utilise budget can make use of the incredible targeting tools available, allowing advertisers to target people based on their age, location, interests and other personal factors.

It stands to reason that LinkedIn represents the best option available for putting yourself in front of highly-targeted B2B clients that you’re especially keen to work with.

Not only are LinkedIn’s targeting options an absolute necessity for approaching the most important people in the companies you wish to work with but to also research them, their professional history, their role within the organisation, their likes, dislikes and more.


Isn’t that a bit much for a professional relationship?

Not at all, and that’s another reason why LinkedIn is the key ingredient in a ABM and creative inbound marketing campaign. People sign up to LinkedIn to discover new B2B opportunities, and the better use you make of the platform with some budget then the more successful your approach is likely to be.

Again, that personalisation is essential for your targeting efforts, especially when LinkedIn not only offers you a range of options to target professionals, but also provides filtering technology to better refine your campaign and make sure it reaches the people that matter to you most.

LinkedIn is also doing some in-house cleaning of its own since its purchase by Microsoft and is constantly updating its services, algorithms and the way it processes data to provide marketers with better analytics to make LinkedIn targeting more measurable and provide better information to refine inbound and ABM strategies.

Features such as email-based targeting and trending stories are also being rolled out to increase the chances of you being seen and interacted with by key decision makers within the companies you want to work with.


LinkedIn is the key ingredient in n account based marketing campaign - so read up.


Creating the perfect inbound ABM strategy

Sounds good, right? It’s a strategy that’s helped us at Six & Flow to attract and work with the clients we like and who we genuinely believe we can help improve and grow with our marketing services.

You can do it too if you follow and implement these key steps:

  • Ditch the outbound cold-calling marketing strategy that’s disruptive, interrupts potential leads when they’re busy and alienates people
  • Adopt an inbound marketing strategy that’s creative and produces interactive, interesting content that catches the eye of potential prospects
  • Be ambitious and dynamic and make notes of the quality of the client you’d wish to work with instead of attracting quantity leads
  • Research who you want to work with as much as you can, the problems they face in the industry and how you can make their lives easier
  • Complement your inbound marketing efforts with an ABM strategy that’s highly personalised and tailored to the people you wish to attract
  • Go where the leads are and target them with a creative LinkedIn social media campaign that puts you ahead of the competition
  • Work to build a long-lasting relationship that makes you indispensable to the people you most want to work with, and begin to look forward to going into the office every day

Six & Flow can create an account-based marketing strategy that will open opportunities for you to work with your dream clients. Contact us today to find out more.


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