Over the last six months, we’ve been making major transformations within our marketing team. Not the structure of our team, but in the way we approach customer acquisition. Up until this started, we’ve been a nearly 100% inbound-driven team (assuming you include PPC as inbound).
Then we started doing more account-based marketing with outbound calling, company targeted ads on LinkedIn, mailers… In all, about 60% of our demand now comes from account-based marketing, up from maybe 10% a year ago.
We’re a marketing team of 8, with 4 content ninjas, which is an unusually high ratio. As we’ve moved to be primarily account based, how has our content approach changed to keep the team productive?
Content as Part of an Inbound Model
Before we get into account-based marketing, it’s helpful to know how content was a part of our inbound model. Like Moz and Hubspot our focus was very top of the funnel, with high-level, ungated educational content about our space. It was (and still is) rare for us to talk about our product. Organic search and social would generate traffic to the post, which would flow to content upgrades (ebooks) and leads, which would then be nurtured and sold.
Total lead flow has increased 6x from the blog in the last six months, but opportunity counts remain relatively the same -- which is counter to pipeline marketing. As we’ve become more specific on the ideal customer, we’re throwing away more leads than the amount we’re nurturing.
So, how do we approach it now?
We still follow a similar model to the one we have been using, but we’ve transitioned to focus on targeting specific keywords that buyers are likely to be searching during the sales process. For example, targeting “Marketo multi-touch attribution” which was the keyword target in a recent post, over other keywords that may have had higher volumes. In other words, getting specific on a very targeted customer’s organic search journey. Almost immediately, we’ve been able to capture a top 5 (if not 1 or 2) position for some very relevant keywords.
In the same vein of being more specific, taking a persona focus for successful account-based marketing is almost a given, and that’s come to content as well. We’ve spent more time developing ebooks and survival kits for specific personas in our target customer list. Being more relevant increases offer take rates, e.g. click-through rate and when you’re reaching specific companies in media, large improvements in take rates make a big difference.
Hiring a dedicated product marketing manager has certainly been a big catalyst to focusing more on sales enablement. More content resources are being put to sales enablement content like our new customer stories page and even content for individual sales pitches.
As our outbound team has grown, the need (and importance) of supporting them has grown as well. Content downloads are a great reason for the inbound sales reps to reach out, but they don’t help the outbound team much at all. They do work, however, as a “second chance” engagement opportunity. Don’t want a demo of Bizible right now? Sign up for a product webinar instead. We’ve also started packing up key blog posts as PDFs for the outbound team. This approach has helped our outbound team close longer term deals, by keeping them engaged and interested, without having to go through a full product demo.
Notice a theme? Content doesn’t go away when you do account-based marketing. In fact, it gets more important -- content isn’t just for generating search traffic, it’s generating revenue through more relevant engagements.