Last week I had the pleasure to attend an AIG seminar. AIG are a group of elite influencers from the British military and estimate there to be a total of 100 in total trained with their influencer capabilities.
The seminar covered all aspects of profiling, emotional techniques and specifically how you successfully influence. The final section involved being sent to a specific location in London to influence a journalist regarding a pressing CSR matter (they used actors to set the scene and provided background on the situation). The team author a great blog here on all things influencing.
The entire session resonated with b2b business, particularly the final role-play that involved prepping for a key target or 'account' and then 'pitching' or influencing.
This also aligns with the latest trend in marketing, Account Based Marketing. There are a number of definitions around ABM but all agree that the objective is to target specific accounts. Of course if you are selling property asset management services, enterprise cyber security or digital transformation projects there is only likely to be 10's of companies that you actually want to speak too. This is no different to influencing senior Taliban leaders in Afghanistan.
Without too much detail, the team at AIG exhibited fantastic third person selling throughout the day by relating the influencing back to their roles with senior intelligence targets from whom the team had to collect life saving, delicate information.
As you can imagine, the team spent a significant amount of time creating a plan, profiling the target(s), tracking influencers to the target, setting desired outcomes for the interaction, analysing what tools are available to execute the plan, what third party factors to consider and of course what to do after the meeting etc.
B2B ABM is exactly the same, importantly there is now a huge digital landscape too for the savvy to really take of advantage of. You might be surprised to hear that the military use social networks, blogs, websites to plan for their meetings, no reason B2B business should not either. As Jason Sahota, CEO Charles Taylor Insurtech says "The best sales meetings are when the client knows what you are going to talk about and who you are...". Essentially everyone has a brand online (whether they like it or not) and you can position how you want to be perceived ahead of time.
In business it would appear that majority of stakeholders utilise digital resources for research since they can easily interpret the behaviour of an individual given their available digital experience. The progression from this is contributing and instead of waiting for the meeting to influence why not start this in advance? Being forefront of mind, constantly providing value to your clients and prospects most certainly increase your chances of building pipeline and revenue.
SiriusDecisions revealed the results of its 2016 State of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Study. The key findings indicate that ABM adoption is rapidly accelerating and has gained fast acceptance in B2B: more than 70 percent of B2B companies have staff that are fully or partially dedicated to driving ABM-specific programs. Additionally, 58 percent have a pilot or test program and 41 percent have a full program in place. In comparison, last year only 20 percent of companies had full programs in place. B2B marketers report that ABM helps them achieve three key goals: increased revenue, increased pipeline and higher quality leads.