Imagine arriving at an important job interview without having Googled the company or perhaps even the individuals that you’ll be meeting. Such a lack of preparation is unthinkable, yet many companies still put together and attempt to implement an ABM strategy without knowing enough about who they’re speaking to, or how a relationship with them might best be built.
The foundations of every high-performing ABM strategy are laid by conducting meticulous and relevant research.
The more you know about the people you want to work with, the better you can tailor and personalise your approaches and the more powerful the results you can expect – it really is that simple.
Research doesn’t have to be an arduous task
At Ambition ABM, we understand that conducting research can be a daunting prospect, calling upon a set of unfamiliar and perhaps intimidating skills. The remit for digging into a prospect’s past, current practises and future potential is vast, so it’s also difficult to know where best to begin when tracking down the information that will help shape your ABM strategy.
Let’s start small and keep it simple with our top three tips for successful ABM research.
Structure your studies
It’s easy to fall down a social media rabbit hole and lose hours studying a prospect’s interactions across multiple sites. ‘Any old info’ isn’t what we’re looking for, however, so plan out your research carefully, identifying what type of data will be useful and actionable, and plotting out where this might be found.
Once you’ve planned out how you’ll proceed, don’t deviate! It’s tempting to gather as much material as possible regardless of subject matter, but all of your findings will have to be waded through at some stage, so be sure you’ve narrowed down your field of interest to include only what’s relevant.
Map out your DMU
A Decision-Making Unit (DMU) is the key to determining how hard you should be working to woo a prospect (or whether they’re worth approaching at all) so an important step in your research process is finding out what you really need to build a rapport with any one individual or a group of key individuals within a company.
This involves doing a little digging to uncover a target’s personality – what makes them tick and what values shape their business practice – so you can begin to make connections and build bridges.
While it’s important to map out a thorough, thoughtful DMU for each prospect, understanding the challenges they face and whether they have the inclination, authority and resources to invest in something new at this time, gathering tonnes of irrelevant information is a waste of time and will muddy the waters when developing your ABM strategy.
Exploring a prospect’s general interests (like what social media platforms they favour and what industry related groups they belong to) will help start a conversation. Knowing their shoe size and where they do their weekly shop is irrelevant, unnecessary and frankly unnerving – think courting rather than stalking and you’ll stay on track!
Join Industry Groups
The fruits of research aren’t always immediate, and often it pays to observe a prospect’s habits and preferences over a long period. And as always, an ABM approach feeds on forging long-term relationships that lead to sincere and authentic transactions, rather than rushing in with a hard sell.
Many buyers tell us that much of their decision making is influenced by social media interactions and discussions, so part of your research could be adding your company’s voice to the online debate, joining industry groups and following thought leaders in your sector on platforms like LinkedIn and Quora.
It won’t happen overnight, but you’ll learn a huge amount about the needs of your prospects by immersing yourself in their virtual world.
Researching your prospects for an ABM approach is an ongoing process that will continue, to some extent, as you execute your strategy.
If you need a little help with learning more about those you want to work, using this information to build your strategy or putting it all into practice – Ambition ABM can help. Contact us here