Use Web Scraping to Fuel Your Sales and Marketing Growth Engine
For any business looking to scale, building an effectives sales and marketing engine should be top priority. However according to Hubspot, only 28% of sales people say that marketing is their best source of leads. This points to a misalignment between sales and marketing which poses an existential threat to a business if not addressed. Seperate teams with seperate KPI's lead to wheel spinning and slow growth which needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
How then can we align our sales and marketing teams and get this engine of growth firing? Use Account Based Marketing (ABM) to ensure you're targeting the right customers and close sales using the most efficient use of your sales teams time. Account based marketing flips marketing on its head. Rather than advertising to potential customers "out there" in the ether of a particular demographic or industry, ABM builds a list of named accounts - companies that can be directly targeted that are known to be a good fit for the service.
But there is a catch - you need data, and lots of it. Many ABM campaigns fail right out of the gate for failure to manage the massive collection of account data. Without automation and systems to collect and manage this data at scale, your team will quickly become overwhelmed and signals crossed. Thankfully, any business can implement tools like Web Scraping to allow them to quickly discover accounts, gain intelligence on those accounts and run high quality nurture campaigns to warm them up for sale. Lets dive in to how Web Scrapers can help you scale your ABM campaigns.
Step 1 - Finding Accounts for Account Based Marketing
As the name would suggest, step one in any successful ABM campaign is to find a list of accounts that you can begin educating about the problem you solve through your product or service. This is where collaboration between sales and marketing teams is absolutely critical. Sales people should be able to define how they qualify leads, the traits of companies who both buy the solution and are successful using it and typical decision makers involved.
From there, the marketing team can begin turning this information into an ideal customer profile (ICP), guiding the search for potential accounts. An ideal customer may be in a particular industry, of a certain size or use a particular technology. Searching on the internet for businesses with these traits can quickly feel like finding a needle in a haystack, but with a properly defined ICP, you can begin hunting for lead sources that a web scraper can automatically extract and monitor for new accounts for you.
Websites that compile companies based on their industry, location or size can be found all over the internet, as well as on social media sites like LinkedIn. To confirm for your use case, try a quick google search for “list of target industry companies in location". If you stumble across a valuable lead source, especially one with contact details, you can build a web scraper to automatically extract these accounts from the website, as well as monitor it for new additions. You now have a list of accounts to start your campaign.
Step 2 - Investigate and Educate
Now that you have a list of accounts that could be good targets for an account based marketing campaign, it’s time to start learning more granular information about them. This stage involves enriching your account records, using data from government sources, news or blog articles on their website or even their social media.
The challenge at this stage becomes the sheer amount of data that starts to be collected as you begin to build a complete profile of your target accounts. This profile will be critical for sales people, who need information to have informed conversations with prospects. The the sheer task of collecting account information can become overwhelming and without introducing some form of automation, can cause your ABM campaign to fail.
This is really where web scraping comes into its own. You can build a web scraper to extract information from these sources automatically, and add this data directly to your CRM. As the number of data points you collect begins to increase, you can run more detailed, personalised campaigns to your target audience.
For instance, if you know a target account recently raised funding, opened a new site or has made changes to their pricing, you can send timely, hyper target messaging to their key decision makers, putting your sales team in the best position to close the deal. Having the right information at the right time, at scale is the magic that makes account based marketing successful.
Step 3 - Engage and Close
As you are gathering intelligence on your accounts and nurturing them with hyper targeted outreach, you will begin to see accounts interacting positively with your content, including clicking through to your website, downloading your content and accepting calls with your prospecting teams. At this point, your sales team can spend their valuable time on only the most interested and qualified leads.
Accounts at this stage should have clear understanding of the problem you solve and how it affects them, as well as your company. This allows sales teams to have powerful conversations with these accounts, and turns the process of outbound sales into something resembling inbound sales.
Of course, not every account will be in a position to buy, whether it is the wrong timing, wrong decision maker or they don't fully understand the impact of the problem in their lives. Without being able to close a deal at this stage, companies who fail at account based marketing simply discard the account as a lost opportunity and cut ties with them. To do account based marketing right, ensure you continue on to Step 4.
Step 4 - Retain and Continue to Investigate, Educate and Engage
In account based marketing, no account is truly lost as long as they stay a member of your target audience. It is at this stage that it is important to retain the account, continuing to deliver value to them through your content and getting their permission to continue the conversation. This can be best done by addressing the reason they did not buy. For instance, a poor timing objection can open up an opportunity to do business together down the line.
Once they are retained as an account in your account based marketing campaign, you can continue to gather intelligence from these public sources using your automated system of web scrapers and monitor for the right time to re-engage them. If the account didn’t have the budget, they may well do after a funding raise. Monitoring these signals allow you to re-engage the account at the right time, without having to burn valuable salesperson time continually checking in.
As you continue to educate the account through outreach, your monitoring system will eventually tell you the best time to re-engage them. A re-engagment signal should go directly to your sales team, who can begin the process of re-pitching your solution and addressing any of their concerns with their increased level of intelligence on the accounts.
Should You Start an Account Based Marketing Campaign?
ABM campaigns are effective because they target directly the customers who could and should buy your service. However, they require a large amount of intelligence gathering to be effective, which becomes harder and harder to manage at scale. This is where web scraping comes into its own, allowing you to automate the detection of new accounts in your target market as well as gathering intelligence on them. Without the right tools, your ABM campaign may simply fail before it begins, or worse - after you've committed your sales and marketing team to building one. To put your best foot forward, introduce automation early and get super clear on your path to engaging accounts at scale.
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