Those of us who are familiar with the sales cycle know that there is usually more than one stakeholder involved in the decision-making process, especially when there’s a significant sum of money at stake. What this means for marketers is that you are likely to encounter multiple personas with varying interests and will have to do your best to engage and persuade each of these individuals. As you can imagine, the amount of work and attention to detail involved in trying to keep multiple contacts moving through the sales funnel can become chaotic and overwhelming.
In these instances, having an account-based marketing approach can significantly improve marketers’ ability to effectively and efficiently nurture multiple stakeholders at an organization. This approach requires marketers to move beyond targeting individuals to a more holistic approach that enables them to nurture an organization as a whole and focus their efforts on better and larger opportunities.
But, before we go into more depth about the benefits of account-based marketing, let’s clearly define what it is.
What Is Account-Based Marketing?
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategy in which organizations market to target accounts with personalized campaigns and messages that resonate with the collective needs and pain points of various stakeholders. This approach is effective because it allows marketers to tailor the way they approach these organizations based on an aggregated view of how key stakeholders are interacting with their marketing efforts.
But why is this approach so effective? As we’ve already established, organizations are actively trying to involve key leaders and team members in the buying process to ensure that they are investing in a solution that best fits their needs and will generate a significant ROI. This creates a challenge for marketers who not only have to engage and nurture each of these individuals but also track their engagement to determine where the account stands as a whole and whether this opportunity is worth the time and effort of their sales teams.
Account-based marketing strives to alleviate this obstacle by enabling you to gain a holistic view of an organization’s pain points, interests, and concerns as reflected by the activity and engagement of its various stakeholders. Having access to the full picture allows you to identify your champions and detractors and also develop a marketing strategy that aims to generate enthusiasm for your brand among all key stakeholders regardless of where they currently stand.
But this only begins to cover the advantages that stem from adopting an account-based marketing approach. Today we’re outlining 3 key benefits your organization can reap from implementing ABM strategies.
1. Improve Your Ability to Gauge When an Account Is Ready to Buy
During the sales cycle, you will probably encounter individuals who are “champions” for your solution and would jump at the opportunity to give you their business if the decision were up to them. These individuals are very engaged with your messaging, and their activity and lead score tells you that they are more than qualified to talk to sales — but their enthusiasm doesn’t tell the entire story.
Analyzing behavior on the individual level instead of across an organization is challenging because it doesn’t allow you to see where the entire buying team stands as a whole. For instance, one person’s enthusiasm could lead you to believe that the organization is ready to buy even if not all stakeholders are on the same page. Account-based marketing removes this obstacle by allowing you to gain a sense of the bigger picture and improving your ability to gauge the most appropriate time to transfer an opportunity to Sales.
With an account-based marketing approach, you’re still tracking the way individuals are engaging with your marketing efforts, but you’re using these insights to inform your perspective of the account as a whole. Now, many of us know how difficult it is to collect data to begin with, let alone aggregate and analyze. Accomplishing this task, however, becomes much easier when you’re using a marketing automation platform. Act-On has an accounts dashboard that allows you to consolidate and view key information and buyer activity in one location.
Using account-based scoring in addition to aggregating data can further improve your ability to determine when a lead is qualified. Using account-based scoring allows you to assign points to each customer action (such as downloading an eBook or viewing a web page) and define a threshold that tells you when a lead is qualified and ready to talk to Sales. This tactic not only allows you to measure behavior and engagement across an organization, it also enables your sales team to focus on more qualified and profitable opportunities.
2. Nurture Your Detractors to Make Everybody a Champion for Your Organization
As we’ve already mentioned, it is highly likely that opinions will vary among different stakeholders at an organization. While you will have stakeholders that are extremely enthusiastic about what you have to offer and be quick to see your value, others will need your marketing team to pay them a little extra attention before they come around.
This is another area where account-based marketing is extremely helpful. By looking at how various stakeholders are engaging with your website, emails, and marketing as a whole, you can more easily identify your champions and detractors. This information is extremely important to your success because it allows you to see which efforts are working and which are not, as well as pinpoint the individuals you’ll need to sway in order to finalize a sale.
Once you know who your detractors are, a good plan of action is to segment these contacts based on their interests and priorities and enter them into personalized automated nurture campaigns. This way you can deliver messaging and information that speaks to their specific pain points, interests, and questions to persuade them to become fans of your brand and help them make a final decision.
By identifying roadblocks that are preventing stakeholders from seeing the value of your product or solution early on, you’ll be able to deliver more qualified and enthusiastic leads to members of your sales team.
Do keep in mind, however, that paying extra attention to your detractors doesn’t mean you can get away with ignoring stakeholders who are enthusiastic about what you do. You should keep engaging with your champions in order to ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page once the time to talk to Sales comes around.
3. Help Your Sales Team Seal the Deal
Speaking of closing deals, ABM can be just as useful to members of your sales team as it is to your marketing team — for many reasons. To start, when you transfer more qualified and enthusiastic opportunities to your salespeople, you improve their chance of gaining that final conversion and making a sale.
One thing to note, however, is that a qualified lead doesn’t necessarily translate into a sales conversion. Nothing is worse for your salespeople than going into a phone call not being prepared to answer difficult questions regarding your qualified lead’s concerns and pain points.
When the time comes to make that call, your salespeople have to be equipped with the right information to make their case, and that’s where having a holistic view of the challenges and sentiments across an organization comes in handy. Equipping your salespeople with insights about who they’re talking to, what they care about, and how they’ve engaged with your marketing campaigns and materials will prepare them for more productive conversations that leave lasting impressions.
If marketing and sales alignment is a challenge for your organization, a marketing automation that integrates with your CRM can help you improve collaboration. Integrating your marketing automation with a CRM system allows you to set up alerts that notify your sales team when a lead becomes qualified and facilitate the transfer of important information.
The Right Tool Can Help You Easily Implement, Launch, and Refine Your Account-Based Marketing Strategy
Developing and implementing an account-based marketing strategy can seem like a huge endeavor, but with the proper tools, it doesn’t have to be. A marketing automation platform like Act-On can provide all the tools you need to build engaging campaigns, measure engagement, consolidate insights, and test and refine your efforts.
If you’d like to learn more about how Act-On can help you enhance your marketing strategy as a whole, we invite you to schedule a demo with one of our experts.