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With relationship building finally climbing to the top of the “priority” pile in B2B marketing, we have a lot to celebrate. It’s taken years for the twin sheens of spam-blast email campaigns and the “inbound with significant ROI” pipedreams to wear off, but it finally has. And here we are, starting over again as more than just account-based marketers.

We’re people looking to build relationships with others because we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that what generates revenue is engaging and selling directly to people.

But before we do any of that, we have to build the right relationships.

Fortunately, while some of us spent the last several years scratching our heads over how to build the “perfect” message to email to 100,000 sales executives, others have poured long hours into developing both the ideas and tech necessary to identify and connect with anyone.

And this is very useful to us. Not only does it give us insight into org structures and the ability to connect with decision makers within a company. It also allows us to simultaneously target and engage all 5.4 decision-makers involved in the buying process, increasing our chances of a quick, effective sale based on strong, strategic relationships.

4 Relationship-Building Strategies for Account-Based Marketers

1. Use Your Network to Network

There’s a reason there’s so much buzz about dividing ABM teams by social proximity territories – it works.

Developing an understanding of who you’re connected to (and who they’re connected to) allows you (and the rest of your team) to take more strategic approaches to outreach and decision-maker identification. Couple it with an address book that surfaces network changes in real time, and you have the intel you need to determine exactly which of your reps should engage which decision-makers within a target company.

2. Leverage Social Selling Tools to Discover Deep Insight into Your Targets

We may be on the precipice of something entirely new for B2B marketing, but many existent tools – especially those used for social selling – can provide sharp insight into the people behind our targeted accounts.

Things like social streams can help keep us informed on their every social thought and shared article they send while content recommendation and aggregation tools do the work for us of discovering and recommending personalized conversation starters we can use to pique their interests.

3. Deliver Personalized, Highly Curated Story Streams Via Social Media

Because, in many ways, account-based marketing strongly resembles very personalized B2C marketing efforts, we shouldn’t shy away from some of the tactics the savviest among them are leveraging. Take, for example, micro-targeted ad delivery.

Using either Facebook or LinkedIn, you can build and deliver ads that – say – push a relevant article directly to one person of your choice. If you’re looking for strategies to be top-of-mind or need to ensure that certain decision-makers see certain articles at exactly the right time, this is a strategy of choice.

4. Use One-to-One Email Campaigns

The cosmic opposite of the spam-blasts of the past, one-to-one email campaigns are exactly as work-intensive as they sound. You craft the perfect email – completely suited for your target audience and executive – and send it to exactly one person: the person you want to receive it.

While it can seem a bit excessive, 75% of executives have reported that they’d read unsolicited marketing emails so long as they were highly relevant to the business’ current needs. Add to that that execs are much more likely to read an email than an industry blog or social post, and the value of this becomes all too clear.

While this list of relationship strategies is far from comprehensive, it’s an excellent and effective place to begin building relationships with decision-makers for targeted accounts. By ensuring that you have a connection and unobtrusively delivering highly relevant, highly personalized communications in a way the decision-makers will actually see, you’ll be well on your way to acquiring the new business you want.


The author of this week’s guest post is Austin Duck. Austin is the Content Marketing Manager for CircleBack, an innovative address book designed specifically for networking and sales. He regularly contributes to StartupGrind, Business2Community, and elsewhere and lives in DC with his wife and army of cats.

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