How to Nurture Enterprise Accounts with a Multi-Channel Strategy

June 3, 2021

Nurturing enterprise accounts requires continuous education through multiple channels before they might see a need for your solution. Here we discuss the most effective ways to use multiple channels to nurture your target accounts.

Source: marketoonist.com

Nurturing enterprise accounts takes a lot of energy, segmentation, and a very precise list. These accounts require continuous education through multiple channels before they might see a need for your solution. The more content your prospects see, the higher the chances that they seriously evaluate your platform or service.


Here we discuss the most effective ways to use multiple channels to nurture your target accounts.


Enterprise Marketing = Multi-Channel Marketing


It can take anywhere from a month to six months, or even a year, to close an enterprise deal. For this reason, enterprise accounts need to be targeted across multiple channels to make a real impact. They begin as cold accounts targeted across multiple channels, as you drive awareness and engagement, they flow through the funnel and eventually become opportunities. 


Engaging these accounts requires multiple stakeholders and significant effort. Your course of action begins with identifying those key stakeholders (what are their titles? job roles?), and setting up a multi-touch program across several channels -- for example: emails, LinkedIn messages, and display ads. 



What is the goal of Account-Based Nurturing?


  1. Stay top-of-mind with key accounts for months or years: If you are engaging an account when they are ready to buy, you are already too late. Chances are your competitors are already engaging those accounts and guiding the decision process. When a company realizes they have a need and budget for your service, they already have a shortlist of vendors that they are ready to engage with - if you are not on that list you're probably already out. In order to be part of that shortlist you need to have already engaged before they were ready to buy. Send some content and have them visit your product page so they can start learning why your solution adds value to their company, ahead of time.        
  2. Educate key stakeholders on new solutions and processes:  Always target the right stakeholders. Not just the main decision maker, but also those who are going to influence the deal, and even other departments who may benefit from your solution. Everyone needs to be educated, not just the head of the department you’re targeting.
  3. Accelerate existing opportunities: Nurturing is not only for the cold accounts, you want to also nurture those existing opportunities that have gone silent over time.
  4. Re-engage lost opportunities: Always periodically re-engage lost opportunities even if it is just to touch base. It could be that those companies didn’t have the budget or weren’t ready to buy at the time, but that may change in a few months’ time. 


So what is the difference between lead nurturing and account based nurturing?



Traditional lead nurturing involves sending periodic content to inbound leads, while also encouraging them to schedule a demo. However, the problem with this approach is that it works better when trying to convert a specific person - not an account. Your focus should be what stage that account is in, not the one lead.

Account-Based Nurturing on the other hand, targets all the stakeholders in key accounts, and makes sure that the content, messaging, and call-to-action are all tailored to the account segments (enterprise, mid-market, cold, warm, etc). Your strategy and messaging should always align with these segments. 

 

ABM Plays

So what is an ABM Play and how does it work? Let’s say the goal is to engage cold accounts - which channels would be most successful to engage these accounts? Maybe it's emails and LinkedIn or Facebook ads. The main goal of this play is to drive engagement with the accounts that may have never heard of your solution. If you are trying to convert engaged accounts (such as lost or open opportunities), those plays might require different channels such as webinar invitations or direct mail pieces. 


Key Ingredient: Account Segmentation


The key ingredient for account-based nurturing is account segmentation. There are many ways to segment your target accounts and it can get quite complex, but this is the most important step. Here are some ways to segment your accounts:

  • Verticals
  • Market segment
  • Tiers (Tier 1, Tier 2, ect)
  • Territory
  • Use Case
  • Funnel stage
  • Intent


You can also combine those segments - for example you can combine Tier 1 segmentation with funnel stage segmentation, this is where you're going to “slice and dice” your account list. Here are some examples of how to segment based on tier and engagement:



One ABM play for each segment

You should have an ABM play for each segment. For example, let's say you want to engage cold accounts in Tier 1, you can use emails and targeted ads to drive engagement. Once you start seeing engagement, the next step is to try to convert that account using a different channel, like direct mail, to try to convert this engagement into a qualified meeting.


Multichannel campaign orchestration

With so many different plays and segments, it can seem overwhelming to start multichannel campaigns. We recommend beginning with monthly sequences, then bi-weekly, and finally weekly, (depending on your budget and volume). You should build all the assets upfront for each segment, allowing you to manage your efforts at the beginning, and optimize your sequences month after month.

It’s also very important that you work closely with sales on these campaigns - know when the sales team should intervene and define a clear handoff process, while keeping the data clean and updated. Keep in mind that one of the most important parts of orchestrating a multichannel campaign is to regularly review the account list with sales, making sure that both Marketing and Sales are aligned on the targets. 

Successful Nurture Plays

  1. Start with content (cold accounts)

This type of nurture sequence starts from building good content, and using it to engage cold accounts. Start by creating a focused list of accounts to receive this content, then start sending emails and running ads with your content to this list. This helps those cold accounts learn about your company and slowly engage with your team. After you start to see some engagement, SDRs should begin reaching out via email with additional content to add value. After a few emails is the perfect chance to send a direct mail gift with some swag, brochures, and informatives. This is a different type of personal touch where prospects can learn more and have a better understanding of your solution.

  1. Sales first (lost opportunities, engaged accounts)

For warmer accounts, such as lost opportunities or accounts that have engaged in the past, we suggest having your SDRs do the first outreach with an intro email. If it’s a Tier 1 account you could invite them to a VIP dinner hosted in different cities - this channel is very effective due to the productive conversations you’ll be having with Vice Presidents, senior executives, and directors. Tier 2 accounts could get a personalized webinar invitation. However, both tiers should get added to a nurture sequence.

  1. Well-timed direct mail  + dinner (open opportunities)

For existing opportunities that are beginning to go quiet on your sales team, we recommend sending a nice direct mail package and adding those leads to a follow up sequence. To complete the cycle, you can also invite them to a VIP dinner. Note, this VIP dinner takes a lot of organization but is an extremely powerful tool to engage high-level executives.



Experience Marketing



Experience marketing is a strategy that uses in-person events as well as experiences to promote products. Ben Jablow, Vice President of Alliance and Channels at Postal.io explained how to incorporate experience marketing in your ABM campaign. Why is experience marketing relevant? Businesses have been gifting for years - the power of gifting has been around for a long time and people recognize how effective it is. Direct Mail, custom gifting, and virtual experiences are perfect ways to incorporate experience marketing into an ABM Campaign. Postal.io allows you to manage the logistics and data of your direct mail campaign in a scalable way that's automated, traceable, and provides valuable metrics.

How can you incorporate an experience marketing strategy into an ABM campaign?


When it comes to experiential gifting, personalization is key. One example of an idea for gifting is a nice wooden box with the recipient's name and company logo; this is an effective way to build trust and relationships with your targeted contacts, because recipients will enjoy the personalized message and effort. Another effective experience marketing strategy is virtual events. As employees decentralize due to the unexpected pandemic, virtual events have become the new way of engaging with possible prospects. For example, Postal.io held a St. Patty’s whiskey and beer tasting. Attendees were sent half a bottle of Irish whisky, an Irish stout, a Whiskey tasting glass, and many other goodies that added value to the experience. These events have the potential for a lot of engagement. 



Conclusions

  1. Segmentation is the most important step in the process
  2. Enterprise accounts cannot be nurtured only using emails: multichannel is the key!
  3. Create a separate nurture play for each segment
  4. Analyze and optimize every month (no “set and forget” approach)
  5. Start with monthly cadences, then increase the output
  6. Build all the assets upfront
  7. Campaign orchestration can become very complex - scale gradually!
  8. Align your efforts with sales but keep control of the process within the Marketing team
  9. Leverage experience marketing strategy = Automation
  10. Choose an automation tool that provides a multi-channel approach to manage your cadence for you.


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