Get your website to resonate with large accounts

The corporate website is the go-to channel for B2B buyers.

Recent research found that buyers of complex B2B solutions continue to visit websites all the way through the buying journey, from start to finish and even after a salesperson engages with the buyer. (research source)

At first glance this appears like a good thing: B2B marketers can leverage the scale and reach of the corporate website for all buyers and all journeys. It’s a marketing slam-dunk!

Unfortunately, websites have some shortcomings, especially when using account-based strategies:

  1. Buyers expect 1to1 personalization. Buyers from large accounts demand it. As a broadcast medium, websites are not built for 1to1 account personalization. Salespeople step in and fill the gap. Account executives are the Google Translators of the B2B complex sale world: re-positioning messaging and assets and personalizing both to individual accounts.
  2. Sales & marketing are misaligned causing out-of-sync messaging. Marketing is flying at 20,000 feet and sales at 100 feet. Marketing communicates via the website at a generic or industry-specific level of personalization. Sales messages to accounts and individuals within those accounts.
  3. Websites are not an agile medium. Undoubtedly everyone in the organization is a design expert, voicing their opinion on the look and feel of the corporate website. The hands of marketing are tied. Getting consensus and making changes to the website can be like turning around a supertanker.

Websites vs. Account-Based Microsites

To riff on an account-based marketing (ABM) analogy, marketing deploys websites to fish with a net and account-based microsites to fish with a spear.

To illustrate this, let’s take a example of a B2B salesperson working an opportunity.

An account executive is selling a marketing solution with a $200K+ price tag to a US subsidiary of a German organization. The proponent of the solution is a mid-level marketing executive in a US office.

The buying group is spread across time zones, countries and continents. Although the decision will be made in the US, the head office in Germany can veto the purchase.

With a geographically dispersed buying team, the account executive will not be able to present the buying group in the same room. In fact, many stakeholders will not make the time or agree to direct sales contact.

The account executive typically communicates via email and pitch decks but knows that this can get messy. The salesperson relies on the champion buyer to forward an ongoing steam of content and messaging to the buying group.

Using this example, let’s consider the merit of an account-based microsite and compare it to a website

Buyers are time-starved and overwhelmed. The account-based website enables buyers to find answers to their questions expeditiously. Buyers only see what is relevant at that time.

Language is core to the identify of many buyers. Salespeople recognize that using the right language and choice of words can help connect with a buyer. With regards to the above example, most Germans speak English but appreciate the effort undertaken to create a microsite in German.

Some business terms or phrases have negative associations given internal acrimony or past failures. Conversations get de-railed on philosophical disagreements on terminology. Using an account’s favoured term for a solution or idea can keep a deal moving forward.

Persona-specific websites engage different stakeholders but can accentuate divisions between different members of the buying team. Account-specific microsites drives consensus amongst stakeholders with a focus on account-specific priorities & pain

An account-based microsite enables the champion buyer to sell on your behalf. The champion validates your solution and persuades invisible stakeholders with a shareable and visually impactful microsite. With ongoing updates, the microsite communicates one version of the truth and a unified sales and marketing message.

How to build and scale microsites

At my firm LAX (short for Large Account Xperiences), we have developed a framework that leverages your internal people, resources, marketing assets and martech to create account-specific microsites that augments your corporate website.

We help marketing and sales co-create account-based microsites and we fill in gaps with our account-based sales & marketing services.

The Account-Based Microsite offers a simple alternative to the corporate website for 1:1 account personalization creating a unified, shareable and visually impactful channel that can reach invisible buyer stakeholders. 

This post was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.

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