This is the third in a seven-part blog series about selling technology and software into the financial markets sector.
Colin Slight of The Realization Group, Carl Rogers of Finceler8, James Hounslow of Harrington Starr and Debbie Brown of Broadridge Financial Solutions discuss how firms can use account-based marketing to target and reach the right audience.
Introduction to Account-Based Marketing
In large, complex, B2B transactions, usually there is not just one budget holder or decision maker. More typically, there is a multiplicity of different personas who come together to influence a decision, with a number of senior practitioners involved, often from different geographies across the global enterprise. So how can all of those individuals within the organisation be included in the sales and marketing strategy?
“You need to find out who these people are and where they operate, particularly where they might be active across social channels, where they hang out, what they talk about,” says Colin Slight, Co-Founder and Managing Director of The Realization Group, the specialist financial services and fintech marketing agency. “The goal is to engage them in conversation, either face-to-face or digitally, find out what they’re interested in, and what aspect of their operational responsibilities will be improved or otherwise made better by what you do. And frame things in their language.”
In other words, adopt an account-based marketing approach.
Have Multiple Touch Points
“Account-based marketing helps marketing and sales teams work more closely together,” says Carl Rogers, Director at Finceler8, a London-based fintech accelerator. “Part of the sales team’s job is to know who are the decision-makers, who are the influences, what are the job roles of the people they’re targeting, and so on. Account-based marketing can help support them in that function. Often salespeople will have identified the people they want to speak to, but marketing can help to engage with that contact in a less threatening way. They can start that initial conversation, and help build up trust and evidence of competence through thought leadership, with webinars, with white papers, with videos. Even if you’re a small fintech, you can punch above your weight by constantly having good content out there that is relevant to the customer.”
James Hounslow, Managing Director at Harrington Starr, a global specialist in fintech recruitment, agrees that when targeting a large account, a team approach is best. “You need to quickly understand who is going to be involved in the sales cycle, and have many touch points with those people, which is going to be much easier than one person trying to run around talking to everybody.” He recalls a conversation he had recently with the CIO of a trading business. “One of his biggest fears was that he didn’t have his finger on the pulse for technology anymore. So for that account, just trying to get to him won’t work because he’s relying on other people in his organisation to tell him what they need and why, and he just signs it off. So you need to be talking to those people.”
Use the Right Tools
But there’s only so many calls one person can make, says Hounslow. “And now that everybody’s at home, you need mobile numbers, people are away from their desks, and so on. It’s physically impossible for me to be able to make enough calls that could generate the same amount of interest as the right content to the right people at the right time on a platform such as LinkedIn, for example. And the great thing about LinkedIn is that you can set up very specific campaigns to target particular types of organisation and then specific individuals within those organisations.”
Debbie Brown, Global VP Marketing Asset Management at Broadridge Financial Solutions, a financial services technology company, explains how Broadridge approaches account-based marketing. “We customise messaging for accounts that we’re targeting, we have a mini marketing plan that we create, so we’ll identify the people within the account that we think are key to the buying decision, and then we’ll put together specific messaging based upon job function, for those specific groups. Then we’ll create tailored emails and various social media posts so that we can have a ‘surround sound’ for that particular account, using highly personalised and very targeted messaging.”
Part four in this series will look at why it’s essential for vendors to evolve their messages to stay relevant to their target audience.
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