It’s a scary time for many B2B marketers, and not just because Halloween is approaching.
Customers and prospects are increasingly tuning out noise and refusing to engage with marketing campaigns. In fact, one in three marketers say getting attention is their top challenge. The resulting damage to the sales pipeline is ghoulish, to say the least.
Customer data silos are creeping up in organizations around the globe. They burrow deep into sales, marketing, and service systems, inhibiting a unified view of a customer’s interaction histories, interests and intent. The impact of these silos is scary; they raise IT costs because of maintaining multiple systems, reduce data quality, and most importantly cause poor experiences, which increases the risk of losing customers.
The lack of coordination between sales and marketing is frightening, and often results in poor customer insights which in turns hurts their ability to focus on the right accounts and limits their ability to make new sales, cross sell, and up sell.
How can your marketing team solve these tricky challenges? An account-based marketing (ABM) strategy can reinvent the way your business engages with prospects and customers.
Let’s look closer at how this approach works by studying key steps to achieve account based marketing success.
The cure to zombie-like B2B marketing
Too often, B2B marketing efforts resemble zombie attacks: an onslaught of offers and content that lack personalization threaten to overwhelm the hero (in this case, the B2B buyer).
ABM is the cure for this condition. It is a strategic approach to designing and executing highly targeted, personalized customer journeys to drive business growth in collaboration with sales. The goal is to identify key target accounts and develop a personalized engagement experience throughout the buying journey.
It requires creating tailored programs and initiatives based on deep account insights. Specific resources and attention are allocated to building and developing relationships, strategically focusing on improving business reputation, creditability, and – ultimately – driving conversions and revenue.
5 steps to account based marketing success
Now, let’s dive into the steps necessary to implement an ABM strategy.
1. Create a unified account view
The first step in gaining true customer insights is capturing and building a unified customer view that combines both the experience data (X-data) and operational data (O-data).
Understanding the organizational hierarchy, relationship history, interests, and intent helps to gain deeper account insights, identifying the best accounts for ABM. Reviewing account intelligence along with sales will also help capture additional account information and start the tight collaboration with sales that’s needed for successful ABM execution.
2. Orchestrate personalized lead maturation
With these additional insights, an organization can create and deliver personalized engagements through a carefully planned series of marketing and sales touches that include offers like e-books, webinars, case studies, articles, videos, phone calls, and invitations to events.
These series of touches will result in higher qualified leads. And automated lead scoring and routing allows a seamless hand-off to sales for follow-up.
3. Identify the best accounts
Once you have a comprehensive view into accounts and contacts, the next step to account based marketing success is identifying the best accounts for the ABM strategy.
With machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities, organizations can analyze massive volumes of customer data, identify previously hidden opportunities, and scale marketing to do more with less. The end result: accurate identification of the best customers for the right engagements at the right time.
Engaging customers who are dormant or who are high-churn risks is an imperative in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace. However, the exponential growth of customer data and touchpoints make it difficult to truly identify these opportunities.
4. Enhance collaboration with sales
A dynamic ABM strategy emphasizes the importance of collaboration between marketing and sales teams as a key to driving success. How can this collaboration be enhanced?
As one example, marketers can create detailed account reports that show relevant contacts and the interaction history of prospects. These reports can better inform sales teams about a prospect’s interests and intent. As another example, tools like centralized marketing calendars and project management tools can help both teams stay on the same page to drive programs, while end-to-end lead management can ensure a seamless follow up by sales.
With this tight collaboration, sales teams can achieve higher conversion rates with highly qualified leads that have advanced product knowledge.
5. Optimize results with closed-loop performance management
The ability to measure the effectiveness of ABM activities is critical to optimizing performance. (This in fact applies to all marketing. If you can’t measure the impact of what you’re doing, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.) Put in place the process and technology to do closed-loop measurement of the ABM activities. Make sure you select the right performance metrics that measure not only demand generation, but also engagement and the quality of engagements.
Using advanced analytics tools, organizations can gain visibility into and control of the entire closed-loop marketing process. Not only can they view real-time insights into performance, but they also have the flexibility to measure the KPIs that matter most to their organization. These tools allow them to make data-driven decisions that will increase marketing ROI.
Waking the dead with account-based marketing
The playbook for designing and executing an ABM program is constantly evolving. Yet there’s no doubt that this strategy can wake the dead when it comes to B2B marketing results.
Through the power of AI, machine learning, personalization, and performance metrics, ABM leads to deep customer insights and the ability to deliver individualized experiences at scale.
Drive higher revenue by enhancing collaboration with sales and engaging customers via targeted, sequenced interactions.