The Power of ABM Recruitment Marketing

The Power of ABM Recruitment Marketing

What is account-based marketing and why should recruiters be all over it?

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What is account-based marketing (ABM) you ask? You may not know the terminology, but as a savvy recruiter you definitely know the concept! Account-based marketing – a strategy where marketing and sales partner together to target high value deals in a company – could also be called ‘mushrooming an account’ or ‘cross-selling services’. But where the magic happens is in the fact that marketing and sales partner together to identify potential clients, then develop specific, targeted campaigns to grow the account and win business.

Account-based marketing is relevant today more than ever before as recruiters are again ‘hunting’ for jobs. Controversially, some people in the industry are saying that if you joined the industry post 2013, that you’ve never had to learn how to do proper business development (the jury is out on that one!). Still, job orders are scarce and recruitment teams potentially depleted, making it increasingly critical to maximise existing client relationships, particularly in medium or large sized companies with potential recruiting needs across business line, department or even geography. With more recruiters innovating to meet changing client needs by evolving their service offerings, account-based marketing could be a highly successful programme for those who do it well.

For recruiters with multiple areas of specialism – whether that’s a host of professional occupations such as IT, accounting, marketing, HR etc. or where teams are divided up by permanent and/or contract/temp recruitment desks – the ability to penetrate a company, leverage relationships and cross-sell services will be a more strategic (and ultimately more fruitful) approach to business development than market prospecting and cold calling alone.

It can also prove a sound strategy for targeting businesses with international operations. Having developed strong relationships with a company in one geography, it can create opportunities to fulfill mandates in other cities or countries, thereby providing a great platform to expand your recruitment business internationally.

Definition of account-based marketing

Account-based marketing is a business-to-business (B2B) marketing strategy to identify and engage specific but multiple buyers within a target organisation. Sales and marketing teams work together to identify the buying committee and their pain points, then employ marketing tactics and techniques across a host of digital and non-digital channels.

Unlike the traditional sales funnel, the account-based marketing funnel is turned on its head, where the first step is to identify the target company and then further grow the contacts and presence with hopes of converting the customer.

Account based marketing tactics: What you need to know

When developing your account-based marketing programme, there are a few general steps to get started. It’s critical in this stage for the sales and marketing teams to work together – where the sales teams understand the buyer’s cycle and can identify where the opportunity lies, the marketing team understand the wider market, the target personas and how to develop the value proposition and storyline.

When developing your account-based marketing strategy and tactics, it’s important to:

  • Choose a ‘few’ companies to target: Unlike marketing which is usually developed by target persona – e.g. accounting recruiters will target finance directors or controllers – the key opportunity for account-based marketing is in identifying and engaging buyers in a single company. To give the accounts the attention – and resource – they deserve, it’s important to limit the number of target accounts and focus on a few key organisations.
  • Use scoring to narrow down your choices: Developing a scoring system based on desirable company characteristics, like annual turnover, industry, headcount, organisational structure etc. will allow you to identify companies you may already be working with that are flagged up within your CRM. Make sure your CRM is synched up with your email provider for best results!
  • Identify your buying committee: Through the website, org charts, LinkedIn, Bloomberg or really any research or insights you can get your hands on, start building out the key stakeholders for your target company
  • Find solutions to pain points: Some pain points may be unique by department or function, some may be company-wide. It’s important to consider the challenges the company is facing and how your offering and value proposition can provide potential solutions.
  • Tailor outreach: Account-based marketing needs to be specific, targeted and personalised. It is anticipated that you will develop specific campaigns by target organisation, which may include specific website landing pages, email communications, even advertising.

Account-based marketing channels

The marketing channels used for account-based marketing are not new and are already used in any digital and/or integrated marketing campaigns. What differs however is in how they are used:

  • Personalised web landing pages: At the core of any ABM campaign is the website, a destination for all marketing channels and initiatives to point to. It’s possible, however, for the web pages to be customised for the target client, with names, specific examples or promotions included, and yet hidden from the main navigation and anyone who doesn’t have the specific URL.
  • Email marketing / marketing automation: Forget sending to 1,000s of people in your database; through ABM you can create specific and targeted emails and nurture funnels for your key target accounts.
  • LinkedIn: More about LinkedIn below, but overall, this social platform is great to help identify contacts, engage them through liking/commenting on posts, or even reaching them through InMail or advertising.
  • Display advertising: Building advertising into any ABM programme allows you to reach potential buyers whom you may not otherwise have the ability to engage. Through their IP address, it is possible to target companies through display advertising as well as remarketing to individuals who land on your website or landing page.
  • Event marketing and corporate hospitality: Not all ABM channels need to be digital. For some industries and professions, there is still great appetite for events, business breakfasts, networking evening etc. – even virtually! Consider how you can tie in some event marketing within your wider ABM strategy.
  • Content marketing: Developing assets including case studies, pitch decks, customised articles or visual content is perfectly positioned for ABM, allowing you to create content that’s specific for the target company and programme.

Account based marketing and LinkedIn

Unsurprisingly, LinkedIn is the perfect platform for ABM when combined with your Sales Navigator or Recruiter license. It does require some consideration though and it’s more about engagement and leveraging as part of business development – or social selling – than just posting content on your own feed.

4 steps for successful account-based marketing using LinkedIn

  • Run a search: Like any sales prospecting activity, it’s important to first identify your target prospects. At this stage you will have most likely already identified your target companies, so this is your opportunity to identify the buying committee and key stakeholders within the organisation
  • Connect with contacts via LinkedIn InMail: While InMails have risen in popularity and possibly reached their tipping point in turning contacts ‘off’ instead of ‘on’, with the right message, approach and tact as well as a link to a dedicated landing page for the company (see recommendation above), this could be a great first point of contact for engaging your target buyer
  • Engage with your contacts: Instead of relying on algorithms for what you see in your news feed, LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Recruiter allows you to follow your contacts’ social posts and like, comment or share posts to help increase engagement and subsequent connection
  • Extract them from LinkedIn: Yes, you heard correctly. Most of our target clients are not spending as much time on LinkedIn as are recruiters or business development professionals, but they are on email! Using automation tools like Dux Soup and Strive by Thrive, you can extract contacts, identify email addresses and include them in sales automation nurture sequences. Learn more about sales automation here.

Account-based marketing examples for recruiters

Ready to give ABM a go? We’ve curated a list of ideas specific for the recruitment industry to allow you to engage and convert customers with account-based marketing:

  • Get promotional: Consider developing specific offerings or packages based on the company structure or situation
  • Promote hot candidates: If you use MPC (most placeable candidate) eShots, why not build upon this in developing bespoke landing pages and curated profiles specific to the target company
  • Create mini value propositions: While you have your wider business offering and proposition, consider how you can tailor this to an individual company then pull through all of your promotional and outreach activities
  • Extend your reach: Instead of creating one-to-one email campaigns, consider developing personalisation and messaging that’s specific to the company and send it to the buyer’s committee
  • Get the word out: You can create paid advertising campaigns that are targeted by IP address; better yet, consider bespoke messaging specific for the target company
  • Go virtual: Host a (virtual) roundtable event on a key topic and invite representative(s) from your target companies; once complete you can develop the insights in a report that gives you a great reason to call them to discuss

Start socialising: Tag key decision makers in your social media posts or engage with your key targets by commenting, liking or sharing their posts

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