According to Julie Huval, Director of Marketing and Communications at Beck Technology, her team uses “a rifle instead of a shotgun” approach to sales. In other words, they use an account-based approach.
“We know exactly who we’re going after and we know exactly who at that company we’re going after,” Julie told us in a recent phone interview.
But what makes their approach unique, is that they’ve learned to do it without using any of the major marketing automation platforms often used by companies trying to execute account-based marketing.
What follows is Beck Technology’s five-step plan for successful account-based marketing—without Hubspot, Pardot, Marketo, or the like.
1. Build the Account-Based Marketing (ABM) List
Beck Technology, based in Texas, sells software and services that help construction companies and general contractors create estimates for complex building projects, and its account-based approach starts with a very detailed ideal customer profile (ICP).
For instance, they’re searching for companies with annual revenue of $200 million and up, located in the U.S. and Canada, doing vertical-based construction. And finally, they’re searching for very specific job titles, such as pre-construction directors and chief and senior estimators.
The problem is: these contacts can be hard to track down.
Julie explained she’s often approached by lead generation vendors. She gives them all of the parameters and then, “More times than not, the vendor comes back and says, ‘Sorry, we can’t target that because the information’s just not out there for a crawler or a robot or an A.I. solution to find.’”
Instead, they often find contacts old-school ways. They use Dun and Bradstreet, industry journals, and strategic industry partners to gather lists of companies. Then they turn to LinkedIn to find the right titles and contacts.
Or, they start with LinkedIn, using the LinkedIn Sales Navigator solution to find both the right companies and the right individual to approach.
Of course, some prospects find them. Companies find Beck Technology via their active LinkedIn profile, as well as industry conferences.
Companies will often visit Beck Technology’s website from LinkedIn or after a conference, and Julie’s team is then able to use Leadfeeder to learn what companies visited and if any match their ICP.
“We’re able to pull information from Leadfeeder after a company visits,” Julie said. “We can see companies that are hitting our website, what they are currently looking at, what they are interested in, how long they are staying on the website. If it’s someone we haven’t seen before, we’ll build out their account record. Part of our marketing automation is that we’re assigning lead scores to these accounts as they’re warming up.”
This allows Julie and her team to begin building a plan to develop contacts at a company that has shown interest in its solutions. It’s a key step because, as Julie told us, big impactful enterprise sales don’t usually happen from someone simply calling and asking to place an order. Those kinds of sales usually need to be developed over time by the marketing and sales teams.
“For someone to pop up on our doorstep, and they’re this huge, massive company that wants to buy several licenses of software — I’m going to say 99 percent of the time, that’s not going to happen.”
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2. The ICP Gut Check
Each month, Beck Technology’s sales development representatives select 20 accounts each to target. But, before they’re added to the sales funnel, they go through an “ICP gut check” to make sure they’re actually a good match.
The marketing team evaluates each account based on the parameters of the ICP to see whether the company would be able to successfully use the software and can afford it.
If all the boxes check off, then they place the account in Salesforce.
Initially, Julie’s team tested Pardot for two months, but they found the reporting features weren’t aligned with what they needed.
“For the cost that we were going to spend, we wanted to be able to see a lot of detail that Pardot wasn’t able to give us,” Julie explained. “We were starting our efforts in account-based marketing and were taking it slow. Pardot is a great tool but we needed something that would teach us along the way instead of jumping in with both feet without knowing how to swim.”
Ultimately, Beck Technology decided on Net-Results, a platform that’s smaller and less expensive, but provided the features and support the team was looking for, especially when added to the data they gathered from Leadfeeder and LinkedIn.
Once appropriately tagged, their target accounts enter the marketing funnel starting with a primer campaign, which is run by Net-Results.
3. Marketing Campaigns Prime a Prospect for a Sale
“Primer campaigns are meant to get people primed and ready before entering our sales funnel,” Julie noted. These campaigns are sometimes 90 days in duration and include an introduction to Beck Technology, its software, user stories, and case studies.
While much of the process is automated, these campaigns are still uniquely created per company and include “tailored content pieces written for the needs of that customer.”
The goal of these campaigns is to convert an account to an opportunity. A few of the prospect accounts being primed enter into the sales funnel most often when the campaign starts promoting customer testimonials and case studies.
“It’s usually whenever they start to see some of their peers and their competitors that are using our software and talking favorably about it, that they want to know what’s going on. ‘I want to know why this big behemoth of a company that keeps winning projects from us switched over to this estimating system.’”
At the end of the priming campaign, the accounts get handed off to the sales team. The conversations go much smoother than they did before Beck Technology started using these primer campaigns.
Basically, prospects understand Beck Technology. They’re primed for the sales call.
4. Sales and Marketing Teams Work Together to Equip Account Champions
During and after the sales process, the marketing team continues to create account-specific content. They focus on identifying “what was the old estimating platform versus what our software can do, the vetting process, how to make sure that this is the right fit for the company, and why making a technology switch is a priority.”
Marketing tries to ensure the account champion inside the opportunity is well-equipped to make a solid case for Beck Technology’s software. Every prospect company is invited to an on-site event to explore the software. This is a mandatory part of the buying process as the prospect can touch the product, visit with Beck Technology staff, develop a detailed implementation plan with an implementation specialist, and focus on their needs in a new estimating platform.
At the end of the event, attendees are given a survey which allows them to score and rank Beck Technology’s software compared to their competitors. They can use that survey when they’re discussing the purchase with their company’s decision makers.
5. The Account Is Passed to the Customer Success Team (But Marketing Remains Involved)
Once a purchase is made, Julie continues to track the customer’s engagement with content and their website. “If we see they’re not coming to our webinars, or they’re not clicking on emails that we’re sending them, or they are not coming to the website, where is that disengagement happening?” They know it’s time for customer success to check in.
Each account is treated with importance. For instance, all customers get at least one-to-two in-person visits per year. In the end, the entire account-based customer funnel boils down to building and maintaining a tight relationship. And, according to Julie, it’s what the industry has grown accustomed to.
“A lot of people in the construction industry are used to the way you go out and win work in commercial construction, which is still a lot of relationship building. They want to know they like you as a person, because you’re about to build a multi-million dollar project together, and they’re going to deal with you for the duration of the build. There is a lot of trust in construction and trust starts with a good relationship.”
For Beck Technology, their best customers are partners, not just customers. For that reason, a purchase is not the end of the account-based marketing process for Julie and her team.
“We’re not going away,” Julie told us. “We want to partner with them. So, we go to their offices; we sit down with them. They know us, and we know them. They have our cell phone numbers.”
“It’s not about software and how we’re using it,” Julie added. “We’re definitely a part of their system, and we don’t want to go cold on them, just like we don’t want them to go cold on us.”
To do that, Julie and her team have been very careful about what tools they adopt—seeking to find the right tools, not just the ones that are most popular.
Had the expensive marketing automation system worked well for them, it’s likely they would have stayed with it.
But after trying one for themselves, they found it wasn’t necessary. The combination of Leadfeeder, LinkedIn, and Net-Results is giving them what they need to be successful—at a fraction of the cost.
“We’re always on the lookout for the next tool,” Julie said. “We go through a very stringent process of figuring out what our processes are and then going, ‘This feels very manual. Is there a tool out there that can fix it?’”
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