Among the B2B technology marketers I’ve had the privilege of working with, few ideas are getting as much interest as account-based marketing.
In fact, almost 90% of B2B technology marketers I’ve met recently at our Masterclass (an interactive one-day workshop where we share our experiences and proven strategies for running effective B2B tech marketing programs) for B2B technology marketers have talked to me about a list of accounts they wish to target.
If you are about to spearhead an ABM campaign at your company, here are some ideas we’ve found useful:
As hard as it can be, it’s vital for sales and marketing to work together on an account list to achieve ABM success. The goal is to close a single account, which means both teams need to stay focused and work towards the same business goal.
Even though it is true that sales will be driving account selection, marketing should be able to provide support on the methodologies to be used for the selection.
One idea that we’ve found useful is to broaden the account list by considering lookalike companies. By exploring that option, you can potentially increase your chances of finding new prospects likely to be interested in your business.
Some of the platforms you can leverage to gain account insights are: TechTarget, Bombora, and DemandMatrix.
Many of the B2B tech marketers I meet typically frame the content challenge in terms of quantity and localization. They either say they have lots of content or no content. Or they worry that their content is too global for their local market.
Here’s another way to look at content: Focus on personalization.
Framing the content question from this lens focuses on the needs of prospects–and can help marketers ask more impactful content questions.
B2B tech buyers aren’t interested in whether our content repositories tag an asset as APAC or SEA, or whether a case study is tagged by industry or company size. They are interested in whether an asset can provide answers to the questions they have, or open their minds to new solutions.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that IT decision-makers consume different types of content from operational IT audiences, and that LoBs (line of business) personas consume altogether another type of content.
Creating content from scratch can take effort and be investment-heavy, but I think it is a necessary investment. That said, you do not have to create content specifically for each audience segment. It is possible to take another approach: Dynamic, customised content using an 80/20 ratio. Largely, this means that 80% of a piece of content remains unchanged, while 20% of it is customised/personalized according to your ABM segments.
When smart enterprise technology companies employ an ABM strategy, marketing and sales work together to decide on an account list, and even, sometimes, on the messaging that will work for specific accounts or account segments (sales can be a real treasure trove of interesting reasons buyers decide to invest).
But when it’s time for the later processes associated with an ABM–like defining leads, and tracking them–both departments revert to more traditional stances. Marketing, for instance, will track leads on its own and pass them to pre-sales, or sales when marketing believes a prospect is ready.
ABMs work best when that initial spirit of collaboration seeps into every aspect of the program, including campaign measurement and optimization.
One way to facilitate this is by utilizing a common, yet personalised, dashboard that both marketing and sales have access to. It could be personalized so that every salesperson has a view of only their accounts. This way sales is clued in when a lead is ready for the next stage. Such a dashboard could also serve to inform sales of the type of content or engagement a prospect has had–indicating a challenge the company is trying to solve.
These dashboards should also include:
Coverage: Is there enough data and contact acquisition for each of the accounts?
Awareness: Are these accounts aware of your offerings or solutions?
Engagement: Are they engaging with your content? Is it increasing over time? Are the right people consuming the content?
Behaviour: Are there specific solutions that resonate with the majority of the leads in that account?
As ABM becomes a tactic of choice for B2B technology marketers, it could become a more blunt weapon. Think about it: You have a list of accounts that you are targeting, but so does everyone else. And as more companies take an industry approach to ABM, the likelihood of multiple companies targeting the same account increases.
How do you rise above the clutter? By going that extra distance: Targeting lookalike audiences, personalizing at scale, and employing common dashboards between sales and marketing.
As ABM becomes more common, finding new ways to differentiate becomes crucial to campaign success. Stay ahead of the curve.