As you may have seen, I’m leaving Aira at the end of August and joining Digital Native to help them grow and scale their Digital apprenticeship programmes. What you might not know is that I handed in my notice at Aira without having started my job hunt. A few people commented that this is crazy, even self-destructive, behaviour during a global pandemic and a looming recession. This is true, however I knew now was the right time for me to make my next move. Within 5 days of starting my job hunt, I had a job offer on the table for my ideal role. How? Account-based marketing.
A couple of disclaimers here; this is not me disregarding the efforts of the thousands of people out of work right now. I’m lucky to have a financial safety net that allows me to take calculated risks. I’m also in possession of something in high demand right now – digital skills. Lastly, I wholeheartedly believe in manifestation, and I manifested the f*ck out of this. I hope this post helps you look at your job hunt with a new perspective, but also take the time to acknowledge that finding a job is hard and you’re doing great.
What is account-based marketing?
Account-based marketing is a focused approach to B2B marketing in which marketing and sales teams work together to target best-fit accounts and turn them into customers.Terminus
Rather than inbound marketing, where you attract lots of people to your business and then qualify them down until a select few become customers, account-based marketing focuses on people that you already know are a good fit for your business and attracts them with highly-personalised content and communication. Granted, not all of them will become customers, but the conversion rate is much higher. The trade off is the time and effort required by such a personalised approach.
Account-based marketing works particularly well in instances where you need a small number of high-value customers and your sales cycle is typically quite long. This applies well to job hunting – I only needed one job, that job will be high value over the course of my tenure and the recruitment cycle is typically quite long.
Step 1: Select key, target accounts
I started by identifying my target companies. Lucky for me, there are a finite number of companies that offer Digital apprenticeships and they’re all listed on the government website. I used the Scraper chrome extension to scrape the search results and copied them into a Google Sheet. I then went through and validated that each provider:
- Was located in and around Birmingham
- Offered Digital Marketing apprenticeships
- Looked like the sort of place I’d like to work
I also checked to see if they had any live vacancies that might be a good fit. I highlighted these in my Sheet as priority accounts. If you’re doing this for a business, you could also use HubSpot’s ABM tools to tag target accounts.
This left me with a list of 18 companies to reach out to, 3 of which had live vacancies.
Step 2: Identify the main contacts and stakeholders within the organisation
I applied for the 3 live vacancies and set about identifying contacts and stakeholders for the remaining 15. I used LinkedIn Premium Career on a 1-month free trial to do this. For each one, I made sure to send a LinkedIn connection request, follow the company page, engage with a couple of posts and sign up for any relevant email lists on their website. This would make my name recognisable when it landed in inboxes and showed I was genuinely interested in what the company was doing.
Step 3: Nurture them with content offers and personalisation
I set myself up with a free HubSpot account and imported my contacts. I then created an email template with personalisation tokens. I also made sure to personalise each email manually with what I’d learned about the company from my research.
I uploaded my CV to the Documents section of HubSpot so I could get notifications when it was opened and made a 5 minute Vidyard video to introduce myself to each contact. I also included a HubSpot meeting link, so people could book a call with me without the friction of going back and forth on timings.
As is the way with job hunting, I ended up sending most of these emails during the evenings and on weekends. I used Gmail’s scheduling tool to schedule emails for first thing on Monday morning, hitting people’s inboxes when they would be most likely to see them.
Step 4: Convert them into customers
In the end, I only reached out to 2 of my contacts using this method and both of them replied with really positive feedback. Digital Native didn’t have a role advertised and weren’t looking to make a new hire, but were really impressed with the effort I’d put into my outreach and connected with the energy I was putting out. Within 5 days of first contact, I had a job offer in my inbox.
All in all, this process took me no more than 5 or 6 hours. Searching and applying for open vacancies would likely have taken much longer and wouldn’t have resulted in me landing the role at Digital Native.