Marketing to enterprise customers is a different game than when trying to land small to medium sized businesses. Backed by budget and manpower, enterprise level organizations have multiple layers of decision-makers to win over at every step of the customer journey.
In this article, you’ll learn about the benefits of targeting larger customers, and different enterprise customer acquisition tactics.
Benefits of enterprise customer acquisition
Although enterprise customer acquisition can be more complex and lengthy, it also brings more stability and revenue.
Enterprise contracts are usually designed to be long term, thanks to the more hands-on sales process. It’s expected and accepted to have year-long lock-in periods to justify the more customized approach to marketing and sales your team will have to do.
Thanks to the inherently long sales cycle for enterprise sales, each landed deal comes with more stability. Anyone else that wants to win the contract from you will have to go through the same rigorous process, and you’ll have more chances to retain each decision maker as your competitors try to move in.
Enterprise deals are harder to get, but well worth the effort. There is a reason companies still take the time to put together customized decks, talk to multiple people in an organization, and even tap internal resources to get whatever data an enterprise lead asks to see. It’s all about the money – in enterprise deals, there’s usually lots of it.
Enterprise customer acquisition tactics
As your target audience moves upmarket, your audience will outgrow the foundational customer acquisition strategies you had in place when targeting startups and small businesses.
Here are some innovative and eye-catching customer acquisition tactics that every company aiming for enterprise clients should try.
1) Inbound marketing
Although not usually enough to get an enterprise customer to sign up, inbound marketing is great for getting leads (of all sizes) through the front door and into your “Contact Us” inbox.
When done well, it can help you connect with decision makers in larger companies and position yourselves as the helpful and knowledgeable industry leader in the space.
Inbound marketing is also a good way to get enterprise customers more familiar with your brand, leveraging the mere exposure effect to build up more trust for when it comes time to choose between you and your competitors.
To get the most out of inbound marketing at an enterprise level, be strategic with your inbound marketing plan. Standard-knowledge SEO blog posts, infographics, and videos likely won’t be much use when targeting enterprise customers.
Instead, elevate your inbound marketing strategy with high-value content aimed at top decision-makers within enterprises. Consider conducting and releasing exclusive industry reports that key decision makers will want to read. You could also launch a free tool or product as a way to get a foot in the door with these high-value customers.
Take HubSpot as an example. When thinking about choosing new CRM software, HubSpot is likely one of the first companies that comes to mind. HubSpot offers enterprise-level solutions across their marketing, sales, customer service, CMS or Operations software.
However, they also produce valuable free tools that anyone, including enterprise customers, can use. These free tools let prospective customers trial HubSpot products before committing. But, these aren’t just a free trial, they are free forever.
HubSpot’s catalog of free-to-use tools includes email templates, chatbot builder software, and marketing analytics, to name a few.
Outside of free tools, HubSpot invests heavily in producing industry reports and guides. HubSpot will collate the latest marketing trends and benchmark figures in their collection of in-depth reports. Anyone can download these reports in return for their contact and business information.
This combination of free tools and resources ensures HubSpot provides enterprise prospects with valuable content, solidifying their place in the market.
2) Account-based marketing
More targeted than inbound marketing, account-based marketing (ABM) hyper-focuses on a single customer and gears all tactics around how to reach them.
You can enhance your inbound marketing efforts by pairing them up with an ABM strategy. Use inbound marketing to attract perfect-fit prospects and then ABM to nurture and secure those leads.
Account-based marketing is a proactive customer acquisition tactic. Rather than passively creating content and hoping the right prospects find it and take action, your sales and marketing team will work together to actively engage key prospects and nurture those relationships.
For example, you might rent a billboard in front of the headquarters of your target account, and use their brand colors to grab their attention. Or, you might send targeted ads exclusively to anyone with an email address containing your target account’s domain name.
Account-based marketing speeds up the customer acquisition process by shortening the length of the sales cycle.
Traditionally, the sales cycle would look like this:
- Generate leads
- Connect with leads
- Qualify prospects
- Nurture prospects
- Present your offer
- Negotiate the offer
- Close the sale
- Identify new potential customers
When you use ABM, however, the sales cycle gets shortened to:
- Identify high-value prospects
- Nurture target prospects
- Present your offer
- Negotiate the offer
- Close the sale
- Maintain and strengthen the customer relationship
As target customers move through the sales cycle, use ABM to deliver personalized content and create meaningful interactions through your marketing and sales channels. This could be done by creating valuable content for your target audience (inbound marketing), nurturing that audience with relevant ads and email campaigns, inviting them to a demo webinar, and arranging a sales representative call.
Tip: Create ideal customer profiles to identify high-intent accounts at the start of your ABM strategy to help reduce the sales cycle. Then, build buyer personas for each of the decision-makers at different stages of the sales process.
3) Lead generation and scoring
Use lead scoring to stop chasing poor-fit leads.
Whether you’re using inbound marketing or account-based marketing, lead scoring will ensure you’re going after the prospects that matter.
Lead scoring assigns a value to each of your leads based on the likelihood of them becoming customers. Leads can be scored across various attributes including their professional information, pages they visited, and how they interact with your brand across multiple channels.
Develop a lead scoring model
There’s no hard-and-fast rule for assigning points to score leads. You may, for example, award leads 10 points if they came through a referral link. That lead, however, may lose 5 points if they have less than 5,000 employees.
Build a lead scoring model that works for you. Speak with other customer-facing teams to establish a robust lead scoring model for your company.
Use lead scoring to identify high-value content
From the lead scoring model, you’ll be able to identify which content types have the most impact on attracting, engaging and nurturing perfect-fit leads.
If, for example, prospects gain 5 points every time they open an email, your team will know they need to prioritize effective email marketing content. Work out which content demonstrates intent and optimize this content to help get more prospects through the door.
Reduce customer acquisition costs with lead scoring
Lead scoring can reduce customer acquisition costs by pre-qualifying your prospects. Your sales and marketing teams will understand which prospects to pursue, and which ones to leave to self-serve.
Dialing in which prospects you nurture will naturally reduce customer acquisition costs by ensuring time isn’t spent on poor-fit prospects who have a low chance of conversion.
Chargee used Clearbit to establish a lead scoring model for their business. Speaking about the Clearbit implementation, Chargebee’s Senior Marketing Manager, Shrimithran explained:
“We used Clearbit to help us move from a ‘catch-all, anyone welcome’ style of acquisition to a more laser-focused, ICP-first demand marketing strategy.”
With a focused funnel they improved pipeline creation by 4x (or 300%) since the beginning of 2020, generated over 10,000 ICP leads, and lowered paid marketing costs. In 2021, Chargebee became a unicorn.
If you want to attract more high-value prospects while minimizing customer acquisition costs, build a lead scoring model for your sales and marketing activities.
4) Sales prospecting videos
Sales prospecting emails and messages can get boring very quickly. The same subject lines, opening sentences, and sign-off. It’s easy to turn a blind eye when your inbox is peppered with hundreds of identical sales emails.
Sales prospecting videos could be your ticket to standing out from the crowd and making sure your email is the one that gets a reply.
Sales video prospecting works by creating sales-oriented video content to prospects. These prospecting videos can be sent through a number of channels including email and social media. Plus, you can personalize the video to deliver a meaningful message to each of your prospects.
Video prospecting can be used at different stages of the customer journey. You might want to send a video to leads as an initial contact point, or you might choose to send videos after your initial email or messages goes unread. Sales prospecting videos are also useful for nurturing leads to send follow-up information, provide a sneak-peek product demo, or let them know about upcoming events they may be interested in.
In his book, Virtual Selling, Jeb Blount noted that video sales calls can make sales and account management processes more agile and productive — and an agile sales process is bound to improve customer acquisition.
Create unique videos designed for one prospect, or stakeholder, with video software such as Loom or VidYard. You could harness 40% more revenue from implementing personalized marketing tactics.
But take care to balance personalization with authenticity. Over-personalization can be seen as invasive or even boring, as found in Nielsen Norman’s research into the dangers of over-personalization.
5) Email drip campaigns
You can strategically use email marketing to nurture leads by creating email drip campaigns.
50% of leads are qualified but not yet ready to convert. If you have leads sitting in the pipeline, you need to think of smart ways to convert those leads into customers. Email drip campaigns can help keep prospects warm with highly-targeted, personalized emails.
Email drip campaigns differ from your usual newsletters and transactional emails. Drip campaigns, or drip marketing, is the method of sending your audience pre-written emails over a determined time frame. The email series may stop or change direction depending on what actions the audience takes.
As the name suggests, these emails drip feed information to your prospects. This teasing of information is great for keeping audience members engaged as you lead them step-by-step to taking action.
If, for example, a lead attends a webinar on productivity best practices, they could be added to a drip campaign where they receive relevant productivity information and resources. At the end of the email series, prospects may receive a request to trial task management software.
This method of constant yet careful communication keeps leads engaged beyond the initial touchpoint. Without a drip campaign, webinar attendees may attend the webinar then never interact with the brand again. With a drip campaign, however, webinar attendees are reminded of all the ways your brand can help them reach their goals.
The best drip campaigns aren’t just a constant stream of promotional emails. They’re highly targeted based on user behavior. They should mix sales strategies with story-telling to nurture prospects on an emotional and practical level.
6) Customer advocacy
How do your current customers support your new customer acquisition strategy?
Your customers have the potential to be your biggest advocates. Their advocacy and support can be a cornerstone of your long-term success — and it could be the missing ingredient in your customer acquisition strategy.
98% of consumers see reviews as an essential part of making purchase decisions. Throw in the knowledge that 88% of people most trust recommendations from people they know and it’s evident that word-of-mouth marketing is critical for customer acquisition.
Encourage customer advocacy to generate word-of-mouth marketing for your brand and attract more customers.
Build advocacy with loyalty programs
Bolster customer advocacy by creating a loyalty program that rewards customers for their continued devotion.
Consumers are also more likely to recommend brands who have good loyalty programs, according to research by Redux. Showing appreciation for your current customers could, therefore, bring you more customers through recommendations.
Encourage customers to create user generated content
Further generate advocacy by encouraging customers to share user-generated content (UGC) of your brand. UGC acts as a promotion for your brand. New prospects will see UGC as a trust signal for your company. Plus, hearing about other customers’ brand experiences could help new prospects make a purchase decision.
Buying enterprise-level products and services often requires informed decision-making so word-of-mouth marketing and advocacy tactics could really help get those new prospects over the line.
7) Referral marketing
Enhance customer advocacy and acquisition efforts by developing a referral program. This referral program will encourage customers to spread the word about your company, getting you in front of even more perfect-fit prospects.
Referral marketing uses word-of-mouth marketing to grow your customer base. In referral marketing, current customers are typically incentivized for encouraging other people they know to come onboard.
Referral marketing is a win-win-win situation. Prospects get product/service recommendations from a trusted source, existing customers get rewarded for recommending your brand to industry friends and partners, and your business will benefit from a growing customer base and happy customers.
Work referral marketing into your customer acquisition strategy to leverage customer recommendations and attract more bought-in customers.
8) Paid advertising
Many businesses will use paid advertising to attract and engage new customers. However, without the right targeting in place, paid advertising at an enterprise level can quickly become an expensive customer acquisition tactic.
Make paid advertising a powerful enterprise customer acquisition tactic by carefully planning your paid campaigns.
First, work out which marketing channels will get in front of the decision makers of your target audience. After all, there’s little point in advertising on Facebook if your target audience is active on LinkedIn. Review your buyer personas and the user journey to determine where enterprise-level prospects are most likely to be.
Next, evaluate the user journey in more detail then work out which campaigns you need to create for each stage of the funnel. Prospects in the awareness stage, for example, might benefit from social media ads that direct them to download a free report. Meanwhile, prospects who are further down the funnel could benefit from more sales-focused ad messaging.
To get the most out of paid advertising for enterprise customers, make sure you are targeting decision makers at the right time, in the right place, with the right message. Carefully craft your ad copy, landing page and assets to speak to your prospects needs and challenges.
Remember to set your advertising goals accordingly and monitor past ad performance to see what you can improve going forward. When advertising to enterprise-level prospects, you may want to use a funnel advertising strategy. In funnel advertising, you deliver valuable ad content to a highly-targeted audience group depending on which stage of the customer journey they are in.
As prospects progress through the customer journey, the ad messaging they receive should also change. These ads work together to guide prospects toward conversion, helping you acquire more perfect-fit customers for your business.
9) Viral social media marketing
Organic social media marketing is a low-cost customer acquisition tactic that businesses of all sizes can use. It’s no secret that social media plays a crucial role in acquiring new customers.
Viral social media marketing is the idea that social media content becomes incredibly popular in a short period of time. Viral posts amass high engagement levels and can lead to new followers, leads and customers. While many businesses may talk about viral social media marketing, only a small percentage of those will actually be able to achieve their goals of virality.
Viral social media marketing is thought to be a “free” way to acquire new customers and get more eyes on your business. However, achieving virality on social media often requires a strong social media strategy.
Invest in your social media strategy by developing key campaigns focused on achieving viral status. Develop campaign ideas that your audience, and the wider population, are likely to love.
Bring your campaign to life and launch strategically to ensure it reaches as many people as possible — seeding influencers will help here. Work with influencers to expand the reach of your social media campaign.
Chipotle won an award for its lid flip challenge that went viral on TikTok. They created this campaign with the objective of increasing app orders with Gen Z. Chipotle launched the lid flip challenge by getting an employee to perform the challenge. They then worked with TikTok content creators to promote the lid flip challenge.
In the first six days, this challenge resulted in 110,000 video submissions and a total of 104 million video views.
Some viral campaigns are audience-led. Keep a close eye on social media activity and find opportunities to boost your visibility.
Take inspiration from Arc’teryx, for example. Search “arc’teryx” on TikTok and you’ll find hundreds of videos of people showering in their Arc’teryx raincoats. These short clips are usually set to a TikTok sound by the rapper YT featuring lyrics about Arc’teryx.
This TikTok trend shot to fame after an Arc’teryx customer bought a jacket and put his coat to the test as he recorded himself showering in the coat. From here, the video snowballed and many other TikTokers recorded the same video. Arc’teryx is also getting involved in the fun and resharing videos to their TikTok channel.
Use viral social media marketing to expand the reach of your business and attract even more customers. While the examples above may be from a B2C perspective, there’s no reason why this couldn’t work with enterprise customers. Find the right angle, carefully plan your campaign, and work with relevant creators to seed your campaign idea.
Wrapping up — Enterprise customer acquisition doesn’t have to be boring
Land larger customers with a smart enterprise customer acquisition strategy. Developing personalized customer acquisition tactics requires more time and effort, but can achieve great results. Focus on perfecting highly-targeted methods of finding and attracting your ideal prospects.
Try different tactics and build a customer acquisition strategy that works best for you. Remember, the best customer acquisition activities bring sales and marketing together to create a harmonious strategy that appeals to your audiences’ needs, interests and challenges.