Turning execs Into ABM sellers

Laura Moss, Manager of Content Marketing, EveryoneSocial

According to an Information Technology Services Marketing Association survey, 84% of businesses say account-based marketing (ABM) delivers higher ROI than any other type of marketing. And, when this strategy also involves an executive engagement program, ABM can attract new business, increase deal size, and shorten closing time.

These findings are impressive. But they raise the question–why do socially active execs make ABM efforts so much more effective?

Because executive involvement in employee advocacy adds a layer of authenticity, credibility, and authority to any ABM strategy–allowing you to amplify your company's messaging, drive meaningful engagement, and strengthen relationships with target accounts by showcasing leadership's expertise and enthusiasm while leveraging their influence and networks.

The best part?

Chances are excellent that you can transform executives in this way within your organization.

Read on for five different ways to make it happen:

1. Educate execs on ABM and advocacy

Turning executives into ABM sellers is a strategic process combining training and ongoing support. In fact, EveryoneSocial has put together an extensive guide on how to activate execs on social media.

But it's always a good idea to start with the basics if you don't already have an employee advocacy program in place — or if your C-Suite isn't actively involved with it.

To begin, schedule time on execs' busy calendars to help them understand how their personal brand and involvement can enhance the company's reach and credibility in the eyes of target accounts.

Then, educate them about the fundamentals of this focused growth strategy, how it aligns with the company's goals, and provide them with case studies and other resources that showcase successful ABM campaigns and their impact on revenue. Even leadership that has already enrolled in your advocacy program and is active on social media can benefit from a little refresher, which can help crystalize executives' vital role in ABM.

Finally, ensure leadership is well acquainted with the company's ideal customer profiles (ICPs) so they can successfully identify the accounts they need to focus on social media.

2. Provide social media training

It's common for members of your C-Suite to have varying degrees of social media experience and different levels of comfort when it comes to engaging on social media. Therefore, turning every exec into an ABM seller means meeting each one where they are:

Offer customized training: Tailor training sessions on effectively using social media platforms and other communication channels for advocacy based on your execs' social media experience and comfort levels.

As part of this customized training, be sure your execs are familiar with your social media policy and best practices for creating and sharing content, engaging with prospects, and handling inquiries. For more here, check out this guide to social media best practices.

Encourage executive engagement: Executives often have extensive professional networks, so engagement is at the heart of transforming them into ABM sellers.

Outline the variety of ways your execs can get involved on social media, including posting, commenting, liking, joining groups, and participating in discussions they find valuable.

Make sure to connect executives with members of the sales team as well. By doing so, execs can help initiate conversations with key decision-makers at target accounts.

Emphasize authenticity and consistency: People follow executives on social media to connect with a real person behind the company and get updates they wouldn't receive by simply following the brand page. Make sure your C-Suite understands this and provide examples of execs who get it right. (Check out this post for some examples of executives with an incredible social presence.)

Authenticity on social media is critical, so encourage execs to be themselves and write — or, even better, create video content — in their own voice. Explain that it's okay to get a personal and that the occasional typo will happen. The point is to be themselves and be human — not a sanitized corporate drone.

Example: See how Cameron Brain, CEO and Cofounder of EveryoneSocial, uses video content to amplify his message.

You should also emphasize the importance of posting regularly. Ensuring their content is regularly in users' feeds will help your executives establish recognition and give people plenty of opportunities to engage with their content. Setting up a social media calendar can help them stay on task and ensure they always have something to share.

3. Show what’s in it for them

Turning executives into ABM sellers is about boosting sales. But, ironically, you need to highlight the benefits of social media that exist outside of the bottom line if you want your C-Suite to excel at social selling.

Examples include helping them grow their personal brand, enhancing their thought leadership, establishing them as industry experts, and creating new networking opportunities.

Plus, when executives are active in the organization's employee advocacy program, other employees tend to follow their lead, increasing the program's adoption rate company-wide. And that pays off by increasing web traffic, improving search rankings, increasing content downloads, and more.

Do your execs need even more convincing? Show them these stats:

  • 81% of people believe socially active CEOs are better equipped to lead companies

  • 77% of consumers prefer to make purchases from a company where executives are active on social media

  • 80% of employees say they’d rather work for a CEO who engages on social media

  • 76% of senior executives believe that having a CEO on social media gives the brand more credibility

  • 93% of consumers believe that CEO engagement on social media helps communicate company values and shape a company’s reputation

4. Arm them with insights and plenty of content

If you want your C-Suite to regularly create, share, and engage with content on social media, arm them with the tools and resources they need.

Equip executives with data and insights about the target accounts, such as recent news, industry trends, and account-specific challenges, so your C-Suite is informed and can easily participate in online discussions.

Work closely with marketing to develop content, collateral, and personalized marketing assets that executives can use for their posts, as well as their personalized outreach.

Collaborating with executives to create content that resonates with their networks and target accounts is also important. This could include thought leadership articles, success stories, industry insights, and relevant company updates.

5. Make it all as easy as possible

Finally, one of the best ways to turn execs into ABM sellers is to make their social sharing as easy as possible. This means providing tools and platforms that make it a cinch for them to share company content.

Our recommendation? Khoros + EveryoneSocial.

This partnership combines our industry-leading social suite with the number one employee advocacy platform, maximizing your content and its reach.

With EveryoneSocial, your execs have all the content they need at their fingertips, and they can share it to their personal networks with just one click. Plus, you’ll get invaluable insights into exactly who’s engaging with their content, so you know who to target and what’s resonating with them.

In other words, our solution easily turns your employees into influencers — and your execs into ABM sellers.

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