How to Improve Response Rates with Account-Based Content

In B2B marketing, when you improve response rates, you tend to see better downstream results including: more qualified leads, more pipeline, and more deals won. But how do you achieve higher levels of engagement? For many marketers, it remains something of a mystery.

Let’s take a look at exactly how you can produce better response rates in your marketing activities with account-based marketing (ABM) strategies by leveraging account-based content (ABC).

Better Data and Better Response Rates

A high performing account-based marketing strategy starts with accurate contact data. After all, you cannot execute an account-based strategy without identifying the your target accounts.

The crux of achieving better response rates with data is not just more data, but better data. The pitfalls of bad data are numerous: inaccurate contact information, out-of-date job descriptions and titles, and mistaken organizational hierarchies. Good data, on the other hand, provides valuable organizational context and intelligence that enable cross-selling and upselling within existing accounts, and fresh avenues to expand with net new accounts that would otherwise be closed and opaque.

Market intelligence data allows businesses to make ABM plays that are effective and specific. If you understand the pain points addressed by your solution, and you’ve created ideal customer profiles and segmented your buyer personas, you can tailor messaging and repurpose existing content.

Simple changes can amplify how much the content resonates with different stakeholders within the account, and how likely others are to demand your solution.

Let’s say you crafted beautiful content for the CIO of a target account by speaking to their need for security compliance and remote accessibility – and it worked. They want your solution! Wonderful!

But before the account signs off on your expensive enterprise-level software, it also needs approval from the COO … whose priorities are different than the CIO. Well, what does the COO care about? Operational cost and reliability. Therefore, you can edit your content to remove mentions of compliance and accessibility and add quick hits about cost of ownership and solution up-time. The tone, format, and overall messaging may remain exactly the same; by swapping out the benefits, you can win the support of other key stakeholders. By the time the proposal reaches the CEO’s desk, the CIO and COO have already bought in.

account-based content works

That strategy is made possible by robust data that gives you granular visibility into the account.

Let’s take the account-based analogy a bit farther: Say you offer a solution that is perfect for HR applications but of little use to Sales. Sales intelligence allows you to identify the HR stakeholders within the account and target your messaging to them, speaking to their specific needs – not just as HR professionals, but in a way that is specific to their industry.

Which pitch is more personally resonant: “HR professionals love Solution X”; or “Senior HR directors at midsize American financial services companies love Solution X”?

When your data reveals details and context about stakeholders in your target accounts, you can target them more effectively, identify more cross-selling opportunities, and improve response rates.

Account-Based Content for Account-Based Marketing

Once you have identified target accounts – and more important, the key stakeholders at all levels within them – your biggest operational focus shifts to high-quality, tailored content. You’ve built your race car; now you need high-octane fuel.

As the smartest minds in marketing continue to shift towards ABM strategies, the need is rapidly emerging for effective account-based content (ABC).

There are two primary methods for tailoring specific account-based content:

  1. Vertically, through the Content Pyramid
  2. Laterally, within a known account

The Content Pyramid

Account-based marketing, and by extension account-based content, is all about speaking to the highly specific needs of your buyer. Content that addresses their actual needs is infinitely more effective than content that requires them to imagine how it might theoretically be applied to their needs.

The Content Pyramid is a powerful way to improve response rates by tailoring messaging at each level of your account stack.

The Content Pyramid method allows you to create broad content and simply make it more specific as you move higher up the vertical, instead of creating brand new content each time.

For example, let’s say your product automates workflows so operations are more productive and efficient. At the top of your funnel (and the bottom of your vertical strategy), you create broadly appealing content that speaks to the widest possible applicability of your product: “Our solution can help any business of any size automate their workflows. Here’s how …” At this level, it’s a good idea to use broad descriptions so as not to exclude possible opportunities.

Next, you begin to make it more specific. Identify specific industries you intend to target and tweak your content accordingly. Let’s say you’re pursuing customers in the healthcare sector. Your messaging might change: “Our solution can help healthcare providers automate their workflows, like billing, appoint booking, and referrals. Here’s how …” This simple uptick in specificity increases the message’s resonance with its audience by orders of magnitude. Now, your targeted stakeholder – a healthcare operations professional in the weeds everyday dealing with workflows – has a tangible image of how their life would be easier if your product were a part of it. Specificity makes it real, and reality makes it desirable.

Let’s go further up. If you’ve segmented exactly which kind of healthcare providers are most likely to convert, your message can get increasingly specific. For example: “Our solution helps enterprise-level corporate healthcare providers in the Pacific Northwest automate their workflows, like submitting documentation to the PNW Healthcare Consortium, scaling billing for hundreds of patients, and medical marijuana referral processing. Here’s how …”

The objective is always to speak with searing specificity to exactly how and why your product will benefit the real, actual person you’re selling to.

Role-based content

As with cross-selling and up-selling, if your data is granular enough to identify key stakeholders in different departments within an account – say, the CIO, CFO, and CHRO – you can tailor your message to speak to the needs and pain points of each.

For example, take a telecommunications solution for enterprises. Here’s the same message written for specific buyer persona roles:

For the CIO: “Would you like a more reliable teleworking platform that boosts the productivity of your remote employees?”
For the CFO: “Would you like a telecommunications platform with a lower total cost of ownership than your current solution?”
For the CHRO: “Would you like a teleworking platform that is easier to use and limits the frustrations of your employees?”

In each pitch, you simply highlight role-specific benefits within the same messaging framework to improve response rates.

Survey-based lead generation

At Campaign Stars, we’ve used an enormously effective way to improve response rates: Survey-Based Lead Generation. Survey-based lead generation is a means of generating account-based content (ABC) in reverse. Here’s how it works.

Identify the personas of the customers you wish to qualify.
Create a simple survey – typically three to ten questions – about the respondent’s role. These questions should have sales value to you, such as: pain points, budgets, strategic initiatives for the coming year, or previous experience with similar products.

Incentivize participation by offering a small gift as well as free access to the resulting report. Professionals are genuinely interested in trends within their industry, and respond at a much higher rate when compensated with new, proprietary data.

As customers answer, they qualify themselves. They are telling you, in their own words, exactly what they need help with, what they can spend, and what they already think about products like yours. This information is invaluable when it comes to crafting targeted ABC that speaks to specific needs.

As data comes in, you can reach out to those who did not respond the first time: “Here’s a glimpse at the fascinating data we’ve gathered so far! Won’t you help us continue to build the report, and keep receiving updates?” This method has been observed to be 44 – 84% more effective in generating responses.

If good marketing is about generating responses, better-qualified sales leads is better marketing. By following these helpful tips, anyone doing ABM can achieve better response rates, qualify more leads, and more deals.

It’s as simple as ABC.

Campaign Stars offers on-demand content creation, asset tracking, and version testing: content as a service. CEO Henry Bruckstein contributed to this piece.

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Jason is an experienced copy writer and has worked in content marketing all around the world, from China to Washington, ..read more