How to Balance Personalization with Customization in Account Based Marketing and Sales

Here's are some of our favorite examples of personalization in sales and marketing.

One critical component of Account-Based Marketing is to reach the right people at your target accounts. But not all conversations are created equal. Talking with an associate is obviously much different than talking with an executive. You don’t maintain a conversation at this level with generic messages, or with slick content that signals ‘generic marketing.’ Programs that win at this level include personalized emails, reports and content that use everything you know about the company to prove you understand their most pressing challenges.

Below, we’ve outlined a few examples of personalization, which you can use in your own marketing orchestration and sales efforts.

Example 1: 3 Executive-Level Conversation Starters

Let’s say you see a relevant article that’s relevant to a topic that particular executive cares about. By including it in an email and pointing out its relevance, you can establish contact and credibility.
For account-expansion, a great piece of content might be a case study showing how another division or group within the same company is using your solution.
Mentioning your connection to the prospect is a strong opener for ABM conversations. “Bob Apollo mentioned you in a conversation about XYZ yesterday…”
This kind of interaction will often out-perform your more automated marketing, even when it’s personalized.

Example 2: Selling to Starbucks

This is an example of how a salesperson created a compelling, personalized story by taking the extra step of showing how their technology could specifically help the target company (in this case, Starbucks.)
Based on this email, the company was able to set up a meeting with then CEO, Howard Schultz.
…share some ideas I had on how Starbucks could leverage <Company>:
Mobile app distribution – reduce friction by allowing your website visitors to download your mobile app by texting the download link to their phone. We intelligently detect whether a phone is on iOS or Android OS and send them to the right app store.
Picture message a coupon to your customers on their birthday. Why tell them how good a frap will be when you can show them the gooey ribbons of caramel?
New VIP service: text your order in to your local Starbucks. Get your favorite thirst quencher sooner.
Picture message Starbucks coupons w/QR codes to your friends on special occasions.
Leverage geo-location services to MMS special deals to consumers when they are in close vicinity to a Starbucks. …
Even if the ideas aren’t 100% right, they show you’re thinking about their business in an intelligent way.

Example 3: Simple Personalization

You can turn a relevant but broad piece of content into a super-relevant piece with some simple tweaks, including:

  • Targeted title or subtitle
  • Imagery that reflects the target industry
  • Case studies from the target market
  • Tweaked introduction and conclusion
  • A targeted landing page and email

This allows you to scale up your content personalization efforts without breaking the bank.

Example 4: Super Personalization

Content prepared ‘ just for you’ can be the most compelling of all. Consider using your company’s unique expertise, resources or assets to produce a special report specifically on the target account and its key challenges.

For example, OpenDNS created a custom visualization of the network for each target account and used that in their campaign. If you were a network security company, you may get meetings by scanning a client’s network, finding vulnerabilities, highlighting some of them and asking for a meeting to go over the rest.

Other vendors make highly personalized ‘Annual Reports’ for each major account (especially powerful for existing customers.) While this might be labor-intensive exercises, you may also find an automated approach. For years, Hubspot’s Website Grader was a top-performing content asset that auto-generated a report from the target’s website URL. However you create it, a custom report is often an irresistible offer:
“I just ran this. Here are some of the recommendations. Can we set up a 15 minute call to discuss the rest of the report?”

Example 5: Personalizing digital media

There are more and more platforms that can help you personalize digital content at scale.

  • Email tools and service providers can deliver highly personalized message flows that adapt as the audience interacts.
  • Vidyard can insert a person and company name into videos.
  • MarcomCentral lets you personalize marketing assets like postcards and signage.
  • Many digital print vendors can create cross-media campaigns that personalize across print, email and landing pages, at scale.
  • PDF documents like eBooks can be personalized from a file of target profile data
  • Personalized landing pages are a great way to drive conversion.
  • Content curation platforms make it easy to assemble an entire content hub targeted at a single account.

These are just a few examples of personalization in action. If you’d like to learn more about personalization, we’ve created a playbook that takes a deeper dive into the topic. You can download it here.