Marketers know that it’s important to identify target markets and tailor campaigns to reach them. One discipline within 90octane’s specialized approach to Top Pursuit Marketing™ is Named Accounts. Named account marketing programs are hyper-targeted, with marketers creating a short list of ideal prospects and delivering precisely the information they need, right when they need it, through just the right channel.
A focused LinkedIn program helps you create a strong inner circle of first-degree connections, initiate and advance conversations with them, and eventually drive revenue.
Here’s a basic process for using LinkedIn to target named accounts:
1. Set realistic goals. Your goals might be specific, like advancing 25% of your named accounts forward in the sales funnel, or broad, like increasing awareness of your brand.
2. Create your short list. Using data about current customers and your brand’s personas, identify the top five or so ideal prospects and put them in priority order. Who would you love to have as a loyal customer? When choosing them, also consider who is likely to respond to engagement online. You’re starting a pilot program here, so limit your list to specific individuals or a confined region.
3. Track your prospects on a sales funnel map. Are they aware of you? Interested? When we executed a LinkedIn strategy for our own business development, we documented where each prospect fell, watching them move from the “awareness” stage to the “close” stage through time. It allowed us to see that 45% of the named accounts who had “little or no awareness” of us advanced to the “Awareness” stage in one month, and of those, 56% advanced from “Awareness” to “Interest” and beyond in the following months.
4. Research your named accounts’ online presence. See what people are sharing, engaging with and how they’re using LinkedIn. Tailor your communications plan to fit how they interact and engage with the platform.
5. Start the conversation. Using your research, discover their interests and determine what type of story makes sense to put in front of a key contact. Once you identify an opportunity, send out a friendly, valuable, personalized message. Offer value with no sales pitch or ask in return. If you have superb data on a field that is relevant to a particular target, offer it to them through paid or organic means.
6. Advance the conversation. Once targets are first-degree connections and responding to your communications, continue to engage with them. How you do this is highly dependent on your business and goals.
7. Roll out the program. Once you’ve refined your strategy and seen it advance one or more prospects, document and share the strategy with your sales team. Offer tools to the sales team (training, scripts, information, etc.) that empower them to effectively engage with the named account contacts on their own.
8. Assess and optimize. Finally, evaluate how the relationships evolve on a quarterly basis and fine-tune your program accordingly. During one pilot program, 90octane saw an 89% increase in first-degree connections among named accounts, many of which resulted in revenue within a few months of advancing the relationships.
With thoughtful, strategic planning, LinkedIn can effectively move online connections into revenue-driving relationships. Have you created a LinkedIn campaign to target named accounts? We’d love to hear about it.