In the world of digital marketing, new terms and buzzwords are thrown around all the time. One that seems to be surviving and thriving past the initial hype is “account-based marketing,” or, as many call it, “ABM.” Businesses all over the world are putting ABM into practice and they’re seeing results.
According to SiriusDecisions’ 2016 State of Account Based Marketing (ABM) Study, 27% of survey respondents said they were devoting between 11% and 30% of their total marketing budget to ABM. And for good reason — ABM works.
Almost 85% of B2B marketers who measure ROI describe account-based marketing as delivering higher returns than any other marketing approach, with half of those marketers citing significantly higher returns. In addition, sales and marketing teams that do account-based marketing align better than other organizations. According to Bizible, “marketers doing ABM are about 40% more likely to report alignment with their sales team compared to marketers not doing ABM.”
As companies begin to put ABM strategies into practice, they should remember that it’s a strategy, not a technology. To work effectively, ABM needs the right technology backing it. These solutions often include marketing automation systems designed to orchestrate and deliver messaging, as well as analytical capabilities to evaluate results. As B2B marketers realize this, an increasing number of marketers are investing in tech solutions to do ABM at scale.
As an ABM strategy grows, B2B marketers will find it is essential to have a marketing automation platform that’s able to manage, engage, and report on audiences while reducing the amount of time needed to support campaign management. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at how ABM works within the B2B marketing world and how finding the right marketing automation can super-charge that strategy.
Why ABM Works for B2B Marketers
As this blog has covered before, ABM is a strategy for brand, demand, and expand. It works for B2B companies because it behaves differently than B2C marketing. When selling in the B2C marketplace, marketers are usually focused on one person — the consumer. In the world of B2B, however, corporate decisions are signed off on by a consensus of stakeholders. According to a recent Harvard Business Journal story, the technology and insights company CEB found that the usual number is close to 5.4 decision makers within an account.
The good news for customer retention is that marketers now have a team of decision makers championing their product or service. If any of those in the account leave, not only will there still be a foothold in the original account, but also a potential champion at the new organization. ABM creates a stronger customer relationship across the board. That all sounds great, but, as with any worthwhile strategy, there are obstacles.
The success of an ABM strategy hinges on first aggregating contacts within accounts, then creating personalized content for each member of the team. That content then must be delivered to the right team member at the right time within the customer journey. However, all content must maintain a level of consistency across all channels. An ABM approach must do all of that without creating tons of additional work for the marketing team. To be effective, it requires time and resources.
Most marketing teams don’t have the time and resources this level of strategy requires. This is where a marketing automation solution that supports ABM will save the day.
How Marketing Automation Can Super-Charge ABM
1. Clear Account Views, Including Activity
ABM strategies already have a ton of moving parts. It can be difficult to keep track of all the activity — the who-is-who and where they are in the funnel. With the right ABM-supporting marketing automation platform, marketers can have access to the account profiles of the decision makers, as well as the influencers within the account. This will allow marketing teams to see account-level profile data such as industry, revenue, and headquarter location. With these account contacts, marketers can also view buying behavior and engagement within a single view, saving marketing teams money and time.
2. Ease of Audience Segmentation and Measurement
Marketing revolves around getting the right message to the right person at the right time. AMB presents a challenge here because different contacts or accounts may require different content. With the right platform, marketers can quickly segment their audiences based on customer profile or industry. For example, marketing teams can swiftly target healthcare accounts to capitalize on that segment if relevant new trends emerge.
Marketing automation makes it possible to not only segment and send but also measure these multi-channel AMB strategies without creating extra work for marketing team members. In the world of marketing, if something cannot be measured, it’s likely not worth the effort. Marketing automation platforms allow marketing teams to measure engagement and other critical success factors through methods such as account scoring. This provides marketers with keen insight into account health.
3. Ability to Create Personalization within an ABM Strategy
No matter how many people are involved in an account, marketers should attempt to market to each of them individually. After all, they have their own needs and stressors and should be delivered content accordingly. Marketing automation platforms allow marketers to send personalized emails to everyone in one account with ease. Beyond that, marketers can tailor the content to a specific industry, ensuring relevance to the account and taking personalization beyond just the correct name at the top.
Account-based marketing is a clear, winning strategy in B2B marketing. But, when it comes time to truly make the marketing strategy come to life, using marketing automation designed to support ABM can be the key. Find out how your organization can adopt a winning marketing automation solution today.