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4 steps to make your ABM more empathetic (and effective)

3 min read - by Minaz Tejani - Executive Client Services Director

We all love that feeling. It’s the buzz you get when someone surprises you with your favorite treats on a tough day.

Or when you get the birthday present you wanted even though you never asked.

That’s the feeling you want to give every account with your ABM. It’s the feeling that someone truly understands – and it’s all about empathy. In my recent article How data can unlock empathy in ABM, I explain the difference between sympathetic and empathetic ABM (and why empathy is so much more effective).

But if empathy can powerfully boost performance, how can you get more of it into your campaigns? Here are four steps you can start using right now:

  1. Choose your accounts carefully

When it comes to empathy, you can’t fake it. You really have to share something with your accounts to be successful, and that means having a clear idea of your own brand’s strengths, core aims, and benefits. Understanding why that customer fits your Ideal Customer Profile will teach you as much about your brand as it will theirs.

So first of all, work with internal teams and put pen to paper. Set out everything from your growth drivers in the next three years, their roadmap for the future to those little details that make up your cultural je-ne-sais-quoi.

Then, look at the accounts you currently target (and the rest of your market, too). Which firms are likely to share your values, experiences, or goals? From here, make a list of accounts you should win – and accounts you could win. And if an account is potentially profitable, but you have nothing in common? Be bold and cut it out.

  1. Get more (of the right) data

Now, you need to get below the surface with your accounts. Immediate challenges help, but you really want to know about concerns, motivators, and aspirations.

Use social listening techniques and careful research to dig up insights. Work out which successes get celebrated most inside your account. Identify key influencers. Take a close look at the language this company uses, building a picture of a casual, bold, or dignified brand. And if you’ve already worked with this account, then talk to your salespeople – do your findings map to their experience?

Then, check these values and drivers against the aims and strengths you uncovered in your own brand. Find the areas where you overlap, and use them as a springboard for your campaign.

  1. Show it, don’t say it

You know that you have a shared vision and shared values with your target account. But you don’t want to bore your audience with a list of stuff you have in common – after all, that’s no way to start a conversation.

This is where it gets tricky. Make sure you give your creative teams the insights you’ve uncovered. But when you judge copy or imagery, try to leave your knowledge of the campaign at the door. Imagine being someone at your target account – you want to be surprised and interested, at the same time as feeling understood.

So, keep your message in the subtext of your creative. Any bland claims like ‘we care about the planet’ or ‘we can do better’ should ring alarm bells. Instead, focus on showing those values through communicating common goals. Their customers, their business, their employees, their infrastructure, or their aspirations.

And most of all…do it in a tone they are familiar with. Theirs.

  1. Remember, remember, remember

When your account engages with you, they want to feel like you’re paying attention. So, set out a clear plan for how you can collect information through your ABM campaign. Ideally, you want to learn from every interaction.

Don’t stop with your digital marketing data, either. Make sure you’re communicating as much as possible with sales teams, too. Throughout an ABM campaign, you want insights passing smoothly in both directions between departments.

Want to learn more about the empathetic approach to ABM? Read Minaz’s full article here.

Ready to put more empathy into your campaigns? Have a chat (and a tea) with Minaz and work out the best ABM strategy for you. Get in touch below. 

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[1] IPA and the Financial Times, The Board Brand Rift, June 2019.