Recently, I began receiving LinkedIn overtures, direct mail, and phone calls from a technology company trying to sell me its SaaS solution. Of course, since Yesler helps our clients create and execute ABM campaigns, I realized right away that Yesler was a target account for this company, and I was part of an integrated campaign across several different channels. My coworker, who also has a director title, received the same attention, so we knew contacts had been picked by title.
In becoming a targeted contact for another company, I learned a lot about what to do, and what not to do.
1. Timing is everything
I first realized I was being targeted by this company when its sales rep kept peeking at my LinkedIn profile. I peeked at hers (who doesn’t check out someone who is checking them out?). The next day, a package arrived for me, and I recognized both the company and rep name when I received the packaged. I knew it was a gift and I recognized who it was from. Cool!
2. Direct mail works
I opened the package and was delighted to receive a relatively quirky gift from the company along with a handwritten note from the sales rep. The note mentioned that she had “noticed” me on LinkedIn (even though as far as I could tell she had just started checking me out the day before—the gift was already on its way when she looked me up), and made a silly joke. I immediately felt like I knew the company's brand voice (quirky! cute! funny!) and that I also knew the sales rep a little better. After all, she’d sent me a letter herself! This is the kind of thing that builds a ton of rapport between your target prospects and your sales reps. At this point, I looked up the solution and was curious about it, so the direct mail did what it was intended to do: it got me to find out more.
3. Keep your sales and marketing playbook tight
We’ve written about this before, but what impressed me about this campaign was that the sales rep seemed to be in lockstep with the marketing team because, sure enough, after receiving the package, I began receiving emails and seeing ads on LinkedIn for the solution. The ads were likely because I had visited the website, but the emails were definitely timed with delivery of the package, something that is possible to automate with integrations between your automation platform and your direct mail provider.
4. But remember, your target is a person, not a play
All of the above worked great, and I really felt like I was warming up to the brand and to the solution. Then, the sales rep (who was in New York) called me at 7:30 a.m. (I’m in Seattle). I have a Seattle area code as well, so she should have checked. I use my cell phone as a work phone, so you can imagine my annoyance at receiving a sales call at 7:30 in the morning while at home with my family. But even if that had been my work number, she certainly wasn’t going to get me on the phone that early at the office. It felt like she was just checking off the next step in her playbook without really thinking about how to actually get me on the phone. My initial warmth toward the brand cooled. I told her I wasn’t interested in further conversation, and that I’d call if the solution was something I was at all interested in.
You can see, based on how my feelings changed over the course of the campaign, that it takes quite a lot of effort to warm up a cold prospect (and I was entirely cold—I’d never interacted with this brand or solution at all), and you can lose your hard-earned credibility with mistakes that are easy to make, like the time-zone screw up. That’s why writing down your playbook, getting sales and marketing alignment, and executing a pilot are all things Yesler recommends to tighten up your execution before you really go after those target accounts.
Make sure, when launching any kind of ABM campaign, but especially one targeted to cold prospects, that you are looking at the full experience of the person and your brand. Using direct mail, handwritten notes, and good, targeted media buys to get attention works wonders to warm up your prospects, but it’s a very delicate line you’re walking—any misstep can cause prospects to rapidly close the door to further opportunity.
Getting ready to spool up ABM or just want to talk shop? Get in touch.