Connecting the Dots Between Account Based Marketing and Out of Office Leads

July 12, 2015 7:04:09 AM | By Matt Benati

In the business-to-business world, account based marketing or ABM is revolutionizing the way companies sell. According to a recent survey by LeanData, over 80% of B2B companies are now using an ABM strategy. These high adoption rates should come as no surprise, since ITSMA reports that ABM provides the highest ROI of any B2B marketing approach.

Many of the key principles of ABM are closely related to reply email marketing initiatives. Reply email marketing includes out of office emails, personal responses to notifications about webinars or other offers, automatic responses when individuals have left the company for another position, and more. Let’s focus for a moment on out-of-office (OOO) emails and their relationship to ABM:

  1. Account based marketing takes an account centric focus. A successful ABM campaign includes a wide variety of individuals, ranging from decision-makers, to users, and influencers. Within a target company, it is desirable to engage with as many people as possible. From an OOO marketing perspective, imagine that your marketing team sends an email campaign to a set of contacts within a target company. If an out of office message is returned, it is almost guaranteed that the individual identified in that message works closely with the initial email recipient. Sales and marketing teams that reach out to those OOO contacts and transform them into warm leads through relevant messages and content have just expanded the sales footprint within that target company.
  2. It takes a large number of people to influence enterprise purchases.According to the 2014 IDG Enterprise Role & Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker survey, it takes as many as 17 people to influence enterprise purchases. You may know who the key decision maker is for buying your product or service at a target company. Yet, you may not have clear visibility into the influencers. An out of office message from the decision maker is likely to contain the name and contact information of one or more influencers. Mining that information and taking the steps necessary to engage with those individuals are great ways to strengthen your account based marketing campaigns.
  3. ABM metrics focus on coverage and engagement within accounts.As Jon Miller, CEO of Engagio, noted in a recent blog post, leads and opportunities alone aren’t good metrics to measure account based marketing performance. Better metrics include coverage and engagement. Coverage is measured by determining whether a target account has sufficient data and contacts, while engagement quantifies the level of engagement at a target account. Out of office marketing initiatives can help boost metrics for both coverage and engagement. When companies convert data in OOO messages into actionable information, it enables marketing teams to convert new contacts at a target account into leads. Upon conversion, those individuals increase account coverage and engagement.
  4. With account based marketing, sales focuses on specific accounts.To partner with sales on this activity, marketing teams must develop tactics that will penetrate those companies. This translates into targeted marketing to small groups of people, instead of campaigns sent to mass audiences. OOO marketing fits perfectly into this paradigm, creating a closed loop mechanism for identifying additional contacts at a target account. If a marketing program tailored to a specific account generates out of office emails, those represent an ideal opportunity to cultivate relationships with new people within the company.

Account based marketing and out of office marketing are natural partners. Companies that follow OOO marketing best practices find that their ABM efforts are even more effective. Here are some tips for creating warm leads from OOO messages:

  • Engage with out of office contacts and encourage them to opt into communications from your company.
    The goal is to build rapport with the OOO contact and motivate them to complete an online form. Be sure to lead with your best email and call to action. Take into consideration the company’s needs, as well as the contact’s title if you have access to that information.
  • Consider what content will be most appealing.
    Your marketing team has a wealth of content available to share, ranging from presentations to webinars, videos, and white papers. Before sending information to an OOO contact, think about where the account is in the sales cycle and which specific lead spawned the OOO message. This information will help determine whether introductory content is appropriate, as well as whether the OOO contact may be interested in technical information or higher level materials.
  • If the OOO contact completes your form, stay in touch with auto response email campaigns.
    Once an out of office contact takes action and becomes a warm lead, use auto response email campaigns to stay connected. These messages are great ways to publicize blog posts, new offerings, and more. Don’t miss opportunities to deepen the relationship with your new leads.

You may already be leveraging the power of account based marketing. The next step is to strengthen those efforts further by leveraging OOO leads, as well as leads from other reply email marketing activities. Corporate email inboxes are noisy and often hard to efficiently mine for information. LeadGnome enables companies to efficiently create lists from email replies in an automated way. If you’d like to learn more about the LeadGnome service, feel free to contact us!

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