The art of selling has become much more complex for life sciences companies now that there are more stakeholders in the buying mix. Because of this complexity in a highly competitive landscape, life sciences companies are in an ideal position to deploy an Account Based Marketing (ABM) program.
ABM addresses the natural progression of how life sciences’ sales reps must sell and communicate with their different buyer groups. Gartner defines ABM as using a variety of techniques to “target and engage identified accounts and individuals across all stages of the buying process.” This differs from more traditional marketing activities by being laser-focused on individuals at accounts chosen by both sales and marketing teams to be most valuable.
ABM not only incorporates components of Marketing and Sales to facilitate better alignment and improve the chance of closing deals, but also creates more meaningful and tailored interactions that resonate with key decision-makers at identified accounts and each stage of the customer journey.
By treating buyers as individual markets, an ABM program will:
- Promote a higher level of engagement
- Align the go-to-market (GTM) strategy across the organization
- Accelerate the sales cycle
Although the benefits are clear, figuring out where to start and whom to discuss ABM initiatives with can be overwhelming. To successfully implement an ABM program, here are four best practices to get you started:
1. Bring all key stakeholders to the same table
Bringing Sales, Marketing, and C-Suite individuals together should be a top priority when creating an ABM program. For the program to be successful, it’s imperative that everyone is on the same page, particularly sales and marketing leaders, who will need to work closely for ABM initiatives to be prosperous.
During these conversations, important topics to address should include:
- Discussing the level of alignment and impact an ABM program will bring to the organization
- Determining the amount of coverage available for dedicating resources to ABM efforts
- Agreeing on responsibilities and roles for every team member involved
- Devising data points and benchmarks that will provide helpful insights to gauge the program’s success
ABM is all about alignment. By making sure all relevant parties are consulted up front, life sciences companies will curb avoidable headaches down the line.
2. Determine target accounts
Defining target accounts can be difficult for a life sciences company since whom they market to are not necessarily labeled as “accounts”. However, let’s broaden the definition of accounts beyond individuals in the same organization.
For a life sciences company, an account can be viewed as:
- Orthopedic surgeons that accept the same payer insurance
- Physicians operating out of the same Integrated Delivery Network (IDN)
- Patients in a region that received heart surgery during a certain time period
With these “accounts” defined, life sciences companies can begin to identify the commonalities and differences tied to their ambitions, pain points, and interests.
3. Prepare and execute
Taking the time to understand the best methods for implementing an effective ABM program will surely reap its rewards and benefits. After target accounts are defined, the tailored content and optimal distribution channels will need to be established. This will allow sales reps to pull product-specific content, such as case studies or whitepapers, based on the buyer journey and level of engagement.
Creating pilot programs will also be helpful as they narrow the scope, thereby limiting potential failure. Stakeholders will be able to evaluate the program’s benefits and ask questions as implementation is further rolled out.
4. Measure its impact
Measurement is necessary to understand which efforts are successful and which need fine tuning. Therefore, it must be present within every single activity that is undertaken. With an ABM program, insights that surface from interactions and engagements will provide opportunities to further refine and improve strategies. Armed with these insights, a sales rep can prepare the relevant talking points, objection handling, and next steps based on engagement. This allows life sciences companies to manage risk, validate the promised benefits, and evangelize change as needed.
Having the necessary infrastructure in place to launch an Account Based Marketing strategy will allow life sciences companies to hit the ground running and provide everyone involved with a strong chance for success. Effectively implementing ABM requires dedication and planning, but when done right, it produces results that make it all worthwhile. It inevitably takes precision medicine, or rather precision selling, to a whole new level.