By Steve Palm – General Manager, MDR
I have spent my career in education, media, information services, and marketing services, most recently at NewBay Media, and at Scholastic before that. Since joining MDR in January, I have reconnected with many old colleagues and spent time with our customers. What continues to ring true is not only the passion we all have for this industry, but the changing landscape, environment, and technology that pose business challenges we all must overcome. Inevitably, success and growth in business today often means changing our approach.
It’s important to always be revisiting your goals, and the processes you use to achieve them. At MDR, we are in the business of helping our customers succeed in education sales and marketing. I believe every company needs to employ a broad-based marketing strategy to achieve brand awareness, thought leadership, and lead generation goals.
At the same time, it’s imperative to know which of your customers generate the most revenue— those that have the highest lifetime value— and acquire more like them. The best, most cost-effective way to do that is with an Account-Based Marketing (ABM) strategy paired with an Account-Based Selling organizational model. Our head of marketing recently posted an article introducing the concept of ABM and why it’s so important for education marketers.
In this article, I want to share some observations of my own from the lens of a General Manager.
77% of companies say ABM delivers higher ROI than other types of marketing.
Aligning sales and marketing is integral for any successful business. When sales and marketing resources are focused and then positioned to work hand in hand, personalized marketing messages and a higher level of sales engagement results in an increase in account conversions. ABM changes the sales cycle by focusing on qualified accounts versus a broad-based demand generation outreach. This approach allows both sales and marketing to better motivate targets to buy because they are already interested or primed for your solution.
One distinct advantage B2E (business-to-education) marketers have over consumer marketers is that most purchases, especially the large ones, tend to be linked to institutions or accounts rather than individuals. While the educator/end-user may move on, there is still a purchase history—and likely, a need—for the products or services at the institution. For a provider using an Account-Based Marketing approach, it will often be an institution or groups of institutions that are the target market.
So, although the personal relationship is important, so is the relationship or association between product or service, school and district. Tracking purchasing behavior throughout the entire enterprise is critical. During the buyer journey, there are critical engagement points from connecting with the audiences that have budget, propensity, authority, or intent to buy, to delivering personalized frictionless buying experiences.
Whether or not you maintain your relationship with the educator, keep in mind that change (read: churn) does happen, both at a school and within your organization. Keeping track of the customer journey from the marketing hand-off to sales, from sales to customer service to the warehouse is also critical. Data and insights deliver precision across the journey, especially at the critical engagement points.
That’s where MDR’s data can help— each piece of data that is captured can be correlated to an institution through one simple code: the PID number.
For any of you who may not be familiar with the MDR PID number, it is an 8-digit number that is assigned to each institution when it is added to the MDR database. Each PID is unique, and it is constant throughout the “life” of a building.
It’s the PID that can help education sales and marketing teams quickly zero in on the institutions that are their best prospects, and drill down to the educators in those buildings they want to reach. The PID is also crucial as a connector between systems used throughout an organization, from CRMs, to Marketing Automation Platforms, to ERP platforms. Further, the PID is critical to data hygiene and accelerating data updates with APIs and other third-party data connections.
The process is assisted by matching a customer file and establishing the linkage to the MDR database via the PID number. From there, you can identify those institutions that most closely resemble your best customers and select all of the personnel within those buildings that you want to reach with your messaging. Your Account-Based Marketing (and sales) efforts become about the institution and not a person that bought from you. Human relationships are important, of course, but as people move on, you want to ensure stickiness at a school and district. Also, since individuals may move on from a particular school, you want to evaluate your best prospects based on the entire sales cycle and not just the person who bought from you. You can find step-by-step details for creating an Account-Based Marketing program in this article.
The MDR PID number is a vital tool for any education marketer and sales department. It is the key to navigating the 250,000 education institutions and 7 million+ educators in the U.S. education market and cherry-picking the very best prospects for your business. PID numbers can be used to study those institutions that are your best customers, find similar institutions to target, pinpoint individuals within those buildings for your messaging, and evaluate your campaign results. You might even think of the PID as your own personal treasure map for growing your business.
Want to learn more about MDR can help with your Account-Based Marketing?
Steve Palm is the general manager of MDR. An education and marketing industry veteran, Palm brings more than 20 years of experience in strategy, business expansion and innovation.