Reaching the ideal customer and closing the deal has always been both an art and a science. How you achieve sales and marketing success evolves with the digital economy, the speed of technology, and the changing ways we do business.
By Nirosha Methananda, Vice President of Marketing at Influ2
Most B2B marketers today are familiar with Account-Based Marketing (ABM), where sales and marketing teams collaborate on target accounts to convert them into customers. While ABM is a vast improvement over the traditional needle-in-the-haystack quest for new leads, ABM is far from a panacea for reaching the decision makers within target accounts. To reach decision makers with deftness, you need to ratchet up your strategy chops. Buying Group Marketing (BGM) is one way to take your established ABM approach to a whole new level of precision. As its name suggests, BGM focuses on finding and engaging on buying group members – meaning the key decision makers inside your target organizations – and on monitoring their engagement and sentiment for actionable insights.
What is the difference between ABM and BGM?
The following example illustrates the difference between ABM and BGM. Let’s say, you want to close a deal at Microsoft. Worldwide, Microsoft has around 190,000 employees. You’re only interested in reaching US employees, so that figure drops down to 107,000 people. Let’s say if only 33% of Microsoft’s US workforce were within the product R&D department, it would take yourtarget count to just over 35,000 people. With an ABM approach, this broad population is where you’d begin your marketing outreach. But with BGM, you focus on the specific people you would like to reach at Microsoft–only the members on the buying team are the ones you need to engage to close the sale, perhaps this is only a handful of people.
When organizations engage a target account through an ABM approach, they must educate all members within broad segments at the account. But a BGM strategy builds a holistic and personalized experience for only the members on the buying team. While both these strategies are big lifts, BGM is more strategically precise.
Three pillars to keep your BGM Strategy on Track
BGM fuses what was once separate marketing and sales initiatives to create a more relevant, buyer-oriented process through the entire funnel. It requires a closer collaboration between the sales and marketing teams at every stage of the buying cycle. Together, the two teams create a unique buyer journey based on distinct decision-maker personas and individual buying power at every stage.
The goal is to increase your marketing-sales communications relevance, customizing it to the context of individuals on the buying team. Putting them front and center with an experience that is valuable to them, not only improves prospect engagement and education, but also conversion, opportunities, and sales.
These three pillars can offer a framework to work through how you can move your organization to a BGM approach:
- Strategy: Establish an ideal customer profile (ICP), breaking out personas for each buying group member and tie your marketing strategy to business goals.
- Experience: Craft creative, context-rich, personalized, and relevant content for each persona in the buying group.
- Smarketing (sales and marketing): Develop aligned and shared metrics across sales and marketing teams from the top of the funnel to the bottom.
If you are still unsure where to begin, consider what’s most important to the buyer and start to strategize — mapping and planning the orchestration of their journey. Because by putting the decision makers first, you can’t go wrong.
About Nirosha Methananda
Driven by a strong urge to Always Be Learning (ABL), Nirosha Methananda is a proud marketing generalist.
With a career spanning close to 15-years, across many marketing disciplines and industries, she recently joined Influ2 as its VP of Marketing… and is taking on the challenge to build out what the evolution of ABM looks like.
In her most recent role, Nirosha was responsible for creating Bombora’s distinctive brand and establishing it as the leading global provider of B2B Intent data. Prior to this, Nirosha led marketing for PwC Australia’s Tech Consulting practice, dabbled in PR and journalism at Power Retail and gained an interest in digital and data at Experian Hitwise.
Not a morning person, Nirosha enjoys stimulating conversation, adores witty sarcasm and is passionate about creating magical marketing moments. She took great joy in putting together this bio and jamming in two ‘AB’ acronyms! And tries to take a Rule #6 approach to work and life.