Account Based Marketing
Marketers and salespeople used to declare “the more the merrier” when trying to attract prospective buyers. No longer. The driving force behind creating personalized experiences that focus on buyers as individuals is Account Based Marketing.
What is Account Based Marketing?
Account based marketing employs targeted, personalized campaigns to win over identified accounts.
Rather than relying on broad-based campaigns that appeal to swaths of customers, ABM treats “individual accounts as markets in their own right.”
Board members, CEOs, PE and VC investors all understand directly how personalized marketing has been transformational for consumers.
ln B2C, we all experience it every day as Netflix and Amazon users.
Your Board, Investors and CEO also understand that there are differences for companies in B2B, and, of course, the application of personalization and ABM depends on lots of other factors including size, scale, service offering, etc.
But the heads and guts of investors, executives and Boards tell them more can be done and done better in B2B, and they demand it from the organizations they invest in and support.
B2B Account Based Marketing
B2B SaaS, Data or FinTech Business now have Retail-Like, B2C Personalization expectations.
Marketers investing in ABM and personalization should proceed with caution, however, because increasing spend doesn’t guarantee success.
One head of sales remarked, There’s a great deal of activity, but I’m not sure they’re going anywhere?”
Another VC “They’re spinning dials and pulling levers… while they almost drove us right off a cliff.”
What is it about “personalization” (i.e. digital, sales disintermediation and marketing disruption) that is being missed?
To just say it requires leadership that is committed to aligning the optimal customer with “who we really are” in the midst of constant and relentless change is difficult.
Pitfalls of ABM
The odds can feel stacked against ABM success for a number of reasons including the proliferation of thousands of solutions, software, apps and platforms.
A key is outside help with the amount of investment that follows gaining and keeping effective customer alignment / personalization against new tech knowledge and integration. Also, considerable coordination is needed to establish new initiatives, drive innovation and help implement and manage programs.
Building Blocks of Account Based Marketing
Here are 10 items to address for ABM success. It is a complex integration and workflow of many different and connected pipes. Any restriction or pause along the way will greatly reduce or stop flow.
Understanding & Alignment
Understanding and Alignment of the “who we are”, “who we sell to”, and “why we do what we do” to the customer – because everything that doesn’t follow from this gums up a high velocity growth engine while wasting precious investment – consistently and relentlessly within and through the core leadership team.
Prioritized, Meaningful Account Segments
Having account segments is important but knowing which ones to focus on, when and why is even more critical.
Hot Topics per Segment
Create hot topics per segment such as biggest opportunities and biggest challenges.
Content, offers, solutions, meetings, events, or other on that topic.
Quality matters. The total investment on everything else related to ABM counts on the quality and clarity of your story to significantly improve the position of the company/solution. Where a topic requires greater expertise and/or specific technical knowledge, the production process, regardless of the form, will be a challenge for most companies (particularly smaller ones).
Contacts, personas, roles, at a given account or accounts within a segment.
It is easy to believe you have 95% plus of company names in a segment, but the biggest drop off in quality is the depth of key contacts who are part of the buying process, and role definitions that can be accessed straight through (automated) they buying process.
MarTech Stack Integration & Automation
Ask, “Can I easily, and specifically, reach who I want and where I want quickly?” Problems include: too many contacts not properly identified or just missing. Updates and best information is in different silos within the stack. Out of date information persists. And, while contact and status additions are constant, deletions and clean-up get less focus.
Measurement and the Communication of Impact
How do you record, report and evaluate the value of multiple touches and interactions with a key contact or multiple contacts? Different combinations of activities can create much more data that confuses rather than clarifies which activities work best.
AI / Intelligent Dashboarding
AI or Intelligent dashboarding, reporting or analysis on the combination of all activities. What’s the noise to knowledge ratio regardidng meaningful leads? Does you MarTech stack provide data clarity on next actions to take in a way that is practical. Many firms are unable to mine objective data. Instead, they live with over-reliance on individual observations or anecdotes which mislead.
There will always be poor or slow hand offs or inputs. People are not machines, and an over-reliance on process can become inappropriate.
Ask, “How do issues get expedited and resolved? How are permanent changes implemented? What resource need to be adjusted?
Also, “Who owns prospective and client data and who keeps it clean? What is an MQL or and SQL and what happens next? What does aging and recycling look like?”
This is where sales process design, sales playbooks and prioritization becomes critical.
Quality, Speed, Performance
How well do all these efforts, systems and processes actually work? How long does it take from planning through scoring results of a single cycle program/campaign (or multiple layer program)?
What is the capacity of our systems to market and sell? and how does that measure against the results the organization requires?
Issues of customer success, including client retention and improving client experience, loyalty and advocacy can be high priority goals but may compete with new client acquisition. How does the organization reconcile the two tensions? Also, “How many interactions are required, over what period of time, with how many key contact or contacts, within what type of target company before positive results are achieved?”
Account Based Marketing and Sales Experts