This week, marketers from all across the globe are descending on the Bay Area for the Marketing Nation Conference. This annual event is sponsored by marketing automation software provider, Marketo, and brings together today’s top marketers to discuss the digital transformation of marketing, and the ways in which marketing is shifting and evolving in the face of new technologies and social media.
One of the top topics of discussion at this year’s conference is the emergence of key account marketing. For those unfamiliar, the name is rather descriptive – key account marketing is the direction of marketing activities and efforts towards identified targets that are essential for the company or organization to reach at that exact time.
In most cases, these targets are companies or individuals that are top sales targets – identified for a number of reasons including, but not limited to: available budget, current need, or previous expression of interest.
Although this isn’t a new concept, it’s a hot topic at events such as the Marketing Nation Conference for a few very good reasons.
First, sales teams are no longer the primary source of information for customers – at least not like they used to be. Long gone are the years where a prospect would have a question, and pick up the phone to call a sales person at a reputable company to get the answers. Today, that role is being increasingly filled by social media and search engines.
Just look at your own personal Facebook page, or any Subreddit and you’ll get what I’m talking about. People aren’t making a single buying decision today without first asking their peers, friends, associates and acquaintances for advice and recommendations.
Between Googling and polling their social networks for recommendations, customers have a wealth of information at their fingertips before a phone call to a sales person is even contemplated. In fact, they may have already made a purchasing decision.
This means that marketers have to be more involved and involved earlier in the process than they ever have been before. And key account marketing – putting messages in front of a prospect while they’re intelligence gathering – is more essential than ever.
Then there’s the advancement of technology. It’s easier than ever before to identify a sales target at an organization. Need to know who the decision maker is at a corporation? You can find them utilizing a combination of the organization’s Website and different social networks – such as LinkedIn. With a little intelligence for the sales team – such as the titles of the individuals that are their usual purchasing decision makers within organizations – a marketer can identify that individual – and how to reach them online.
But technology is doing more than just shining a spotlight on a company’s potential customers and prospects.
Using today’s available tools, marketers can author and publish content just for them, push it directly to them and then measure on the backend to see that they’ve read and engaged with that content. They can work to move that individual into a nurture stream utilizing marketing automation packages – such as the offering from Marketo, the sponsor of the Marketing Nation Conference. They can build a profile for that person, and when they meet a lead-score threshold, send them to a more informed salesperson right at the time that they’re most likely getting ready to make a purchasing decision.
Key account marketing could be the ultimate difference between landing that dream account and never getting them in the door. With the age of the more informed consumer upon us, utilizing today’s advanced marketing technologies and innovative tools for programs focused on an individual or account could be the only opportunity for a sale – and lead to an easier sale for a sales team.