How the Golden Circle Rules Apply to Account-Based Marketing

Jun 4, 2015 · 4 min read

By Sangram Vajre

If you are a marketer and have ever been involved in branding or messaging, you have likely heard Simon Sinek’s TedTalk called “Start with why?” The highlight of the speech is his discovery of the golden circle. It is deeply rooted in a very simple rule of biology and not psychology — Simon clarifies.

Here are the three parts of the Simon Sinek’s golden circle.

The way we think, act, and communicate typically moves from the outside circle to the inside circle. This means that people start with explaining what they do and how they do it. And maybe, if you are lucky, they will eventually get around to explaining why they do it.

Forward thinking individuals and great companies do the exact opposite. They tell their story from the inside out. Simon describes this concept by using examples that inclue Apple, Wright Brothers, and Dr. Martin Luther King. They all started with the why before the what.

The same concept is evolving within B2B Marketing. Everyone is talking about the sales and marketing funnel in the same old tired way, which is from the top down. This way of thinking models Sinek’s outside in model. The focus is on driving more eyeballs, accumulating more contacts, collecting more leads, and trying to get in from of them through every single channel possible from the outside of the funnel to the inside.

The result is what we are all very familiar with — quite simply, very low conversion rates that we hope end up turning into customers.

But what if we looked at the funnel from a different perspective?

Imagine what would happen if we flipped the funnel — or looked at it from the inside out. A few weeks ago, I wrote about an idea called #FlipMyFunnel which stemmed from a conversation I had with Jill Rowley during the recent MarTech Conference.

My belief is that B2B Marketing is like yellow pages. We know exactly what companies are our best-fit customers and the persona’s that we want to target within those companies. Despite having this knowledge, we do a terrible job of targeting them because the only way we know how to do it is by blasting them with email and calling them repeatedly.

We are wasting a ton of money, time and effort chasing people who will never buy from us. In an era where our CEOs and Board of Directors are expecting real revenue on a shoestring budget, we can not afford to throw money down the drain with little results to show for it.

Traditional lead based marketing has to stop. It’s time to flip the funnel. — Tweet this!

Flipping the funnel involves marketers clearly defining the marketing persona of your best fit customer. Then, you create messages that specifically target those companies and roles. Finally, you engage them on their terms across all channels — on and offline.

Why should you market this way? Simply put, it is how your customers want to be marketed to and that is what will ultimately yield you the best results.

I took the liberty of modifying the golden circle using the lens of account-based marketing and here is what I came up with:

Let’s briefly run through each one of these circles:

1. Identify

First, we need to find our best-fit customers. That might seem like a daunting task, but trust me, it’s not as hard as you think. There are plenty of amazing technologies out there today that easily allow us to identify a list of companies that fit our best-fit customer criteria. This becomes our target list of companies and roles that we want to get our message in front of. Why start anywhere else?

2. Expand

This is a tough one because most marketers are so stuck in the lead-based marketing world that it’s not quite clear how we can expand our reach to people and influencers in our target list of companies. Expanding the reach in your target companies is how one can make sure everyone who could be part of the decision making the process is now seeing your message.

3. Engage

This is where content and channels come to life. Think about email, webinars, e-books, targeted ads, videos, events, and any programmatic or automated ways you use to get in front of your target audience (yes, your target audience, not just anyone and everyone in the ecosphere like the traditional funnel). This is typically the first step in the traditional funnel and how most marketers operate.

4. Advocate

Turning your customers into raving fans is one of the most underutilized strategies of all time in today’s marketing, despite the fact that retaining current customers is far cheaper than bringing in new ones.

What are your thoughts? Does that make sense in the Account-based Marketing world using the logic of golden circle?

About the Author

Sangram Vajre Co-Founder and CMO of Terminus. Terminus is the leading B2B Advertising Automation software enabling companies to put their message in front of the right decision makers through account-based marketing across all digital channels — mobile, social, display and video. With Terminus, you can integrate directly with your CRM and Marketing Automation platforms to proactively reach and engage targeted accounts across all stages of the buyer’s journey.

Want the inside scoop from 2,800 B2C marketers? Download the free State of B2C Marketing report!


    Written by

    Connect to Your Customers in a Whole New Way