Long sales cycles, numerous marketing channels, and large buyer committees contribute to the complexity of B2B marketing.
Nowadays, B2B marketing executives are tasked with executing more nuanced marketing approaches — such as targeting customers in a contextually personalised way — and here is where Account-Based Marketing (ABM) comes into play.
More than 70% of organisations report adopting ABM in 2021, a 15% rise from the previous year.
And, there is a good reason behind this spurred rush – 87% of account-based marketers say that ABM outperforms other marketing activities, according to a survey conducted by ITSMA and the ABM Leadership Alliance.
In essence, ABM allows companies to target high-value accounts with a strategic approach. ABM supports B2B sales cycles by unifying account engagement metrics and aligning the company messaging to the right context, such as the role and responsibilities of each member of the targeted account. Additionally, account-specific focus helps bridge the gap internally between marketing, sales, and customer service departments. It enables a unified approach that helps all team members work together to close the sale, plan the next steps or mitigate potential objectives.
Yet, companies require adequate technical support to deliver an effective account-based marketing strategy. This article will delve into the key aspects that you need to consider when choosing the right platform for your ABM strategy.
Factors to consider when choosing an ABM platform
Some ABM platforms will prioritise lead management and offer capabilities to facilitate a personalised lead nurturing process. In contrast, others will offer granular demand generation support via inbound marketing strategies such as content marketing.
To determine the appropriate focus for your organisation, you’ll want to contemplate your objectives, maturity level and metrics you’ll want to track.
Find your overall ABM objectives
To most organisations, activities such as account engagement will hold the most value as it usually indicates the account’s propensity to make a purchase. However, not every engagement will hold the same value for every business. Therefore, before leaping into the ABM platform selection process, it’s important to clarify the ultimate goals of your ABM efforts. If we want to increase sales by 30%, what type of engagement will have to be tracked and nurtured? Do you want to shine the light on buyer intent? What level of technical support would be required to optimise the account nurturing process?
Identify the level of your marketing maturity
While most B2B companies like the sound of ABM and the promise of its results, not every company will have the same level of maturity to execute the ABM activities to achieve a high platform ROI. If a platform brings intricate capabilities, yet your marketing team is still learning how to automate email campaigns, maybe you are better off with going with a simpler solution. Even if you hire external support in the beginning to implement the solution and ABM practices for you, you should still consider the platform’s learning curve, its user-friendliness level, and its capacity to scale as your ABM efforts expand.
Decide the marketing metrics that will guide your efforts
Depending on your objectives and maturity level, choose the metrics that will show how well you are performing to optimise your efforts accordingly.
Here are some ideas for ABM activities you could identify metrics for:
- Lead data management
- Pipeline acceleration
- Shortening of sales cycles
- Cross- and up-selling
- Personalised web experience using web tracking technology
- Omnichannel presence and behaviour
- Cross-departmental alignment
- AI-powered tactics such as predictive lead scoring
2. ABM Capabilities
After narrowing down your options for ABM solutions based on your marketing objectives and purpose, it’s time to analyse the platform’s functionality.
Before starting your ABM journey, it’s crucial to accurately identify the high-value accounts you would like to target. On top of collecting digital signals, such as website visits and interaction data, an ABM platform should be able to draw up a database of your total addressable market (TAM). TAM represents all accounts that demonstrate intent to buy your offering, which can be extremely helpful in directing your efforts.
Advanced ABM platforms will offer the ability to leverage AI to enrich the account’s data and then segment different account members based on their individual scores and propensity to buy. This ability helps to hyper-personalise the message according to the job position and specific objective of each member of the buyer committee that is part of the account.
Multi-step and omnichannel ABM
Another critical capability to look for is whether a solution will support multiple steps of the marketing strategy while maintaining an omnichannel presence. Ideally, you will want to consider a platform that will help orchestrate your ABM campaigns across channels, from selecting your accounts and building awareness to delivering content via various touchpoints.
Orchestrated campaigns with a behaviour-driven, real-time and omnichannel focus, such as B2B Omnichannel Behavioural Campaigns, can significantly increase engagement rates and create a real competitive advantage for your business.
Integration with existing martech stack
There are two ways to approach ABM implementation — adopt an end-to-end platform to support your entire marketing strategy or supplement your existing martech stack to bolster your in-house marketing tools.
Both methods can be beneficial. On the one hand, complete integration of the ABM solution could equip your marketing and sales teams with revenue-based account analytics, marketing automation, and prospecting tools. This can then enable tracking the overall account’s progression down the funnel and into the buying stage.
Alternatively, adding an ABM platform to your existing stack could be a solution to facilitate scalability, allowing you to improve customer profiling and target account management. In this case, you may want to choose a platform that can easily integrate with your existing marketing solutions.
Shifting your business focus and serving your B2B customers well is key to a high ROI and a fail-proof future. The right ABM platform can increase your leads and conversions, ultimately helping you to secure a high-value sales pipeline and increase your market share.
If you wish to learn how we help our clients increase their profitability using B2B Omnichannel Behavioural Campaigns and Martechs with their ABM, contact us today.
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