It takes a long time to build an inbound lead funnel. If you’re a startup, it’s better to go to where your audience is, because drawing them to your website takes a long time.
If you want your marketing to have a quick impact, you need to hunt them down in their own turf.
I use a tool called Influ2, which helps us expose our audience to certain ads in all kinds of places. The idea behind it is that you select a target market, organization or individual, and the tool will hunt down your selection with ads. They call it Person-Based Marketing, and it’s remarkable.
One of the things we do at Cato Networks is an annual survey, the results of which we use for PR material. There are about 50-60 questions and a lot of them are actually qualifying questions.
The survey is anonymous but at the end we offer a free T-shirt. In order to receive it, people need to fill out their information. So now I know who the person is, and I’ve already qualified them as a lead.
We collect answers from 1,200-1,500 people, and about 60-70% will provide their information. Not only are we able to produce valuable PR content, but we also have a lot of market-qualified leads.
It’s important to be proactive when you’re starting out your marketing efforts. It’s so difficult to gain traction if you’re only relying on inbound leads.
Account-Based Marketing allows us to target specific companies with specific campaigns or ads. I can produce certain marketing content for certain companies, and for certain individuals within those companies.
At each organisation we’re trying to reach the CEO, the CTO, and specific teams. Each of these stakeholders needs to see a different story.
It’s not one-story-fits-all. People need to hear only what they need to hear.
Your needs change according to the size of the company, of course. For larger companies, ABM is something we make use of, and it delivers results. For the so-called midmarket companies, we don’t utilize ABM as much.
When it is appropriate, it can cost more initially but the potential gain is much higher than it otherwise would be. At Cato Networks, we like to run the ABM campaigns together with all the work we do on regular leads.
When somebody wants to download something from our site, they enter basic information like their name and email address, but they don’t enter whether or not they’re from a big company. It’s important that the experience is as friction-free for the audience as possible.
Instead, we use external sources like Zoominfo or DiscoverOrg to do further enrichment of the lead.
Once we’re completed this step we try and understand the kind of content and marketing material we expose them to.
We identify the content that the lead downloaded in the first place, and then work out how he found us. Understanding these two things helps us scale-up our efforts going forward.
There’s always a strong feedback loop, where we see which content is working, and whether to scale up or adapt our ABM efforts.
For example, we successfully brought in a lead through an ABM campaign. It was passed on to the Inside Sales team, who set up a meeting.
At that point, we had to change the content we exposed him to, from things that were more generally targeted at attracting his attention, to specific case studies and materials that were more focused on retention.
In this case, we could still use ABM, but we had to adjust it to fit our needs once he progressed through our sales pipeline.
Marketo is the bread and butter tool we use for our everyday marketing needs. It helps us manage our marketing campaigns and the customer engagement journey.
The entire purpose of all these tools is to get the right content to the right people.
Whenever I start at a new place, the first thing I do is start with a list of leads and input it into Marketo. Then I’ll create some sort of email marketing campaign like the annual survey we do at Cato Networks and track the engagement, while also beginning to build rapport. The important thing at this stage is to make the content feel sales-free.
We use a number of other tools like Influ2, Hubspot, and Salesforce. Not everything connects to Marketo so it’s often a case of building the ecosystem with your own hands. We hire a few freelancers to help with this.
We do a lot of A/B testing. We track everything in Marketo and Salesforce, so it’s very easy to identify when something isn’t working, and shut it down. Our system is pretty complex as we’re adding to it all the time.
We’re always measuring one thing against the other and we can see the results very clearly. Does it improve cost or conversion time? Every single movement or change is tracked in our system.
We don’t shut down things too quickly as sometimes it can take time for things to take off. The important thing is to be always tracking, always moving.
Idan Heshkovich is the Vice President of Marketing and Growth at Cato Networks. He is an expert in online marketing and demand generation and has previously held positions at Panaya and at Magic Software.
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