A Strategy for Optimized Performance
Account based marketing (ABM) is attracting a lot of attention these days as an effective strategy for targeting, personalizing, and optimizing sales and marketing performance. But, it isn't a completely new idea. As early as 1993, Peppers and Rogers noted that marketing will take an increased role in developing intelligence on key accounts: "When two marketers are competing for the same customer's business, all other things being equal, the marketer with the greatest scope of information about that particular customer – the marketer with the most extensive and intimate relationship with that customer – will be the more efficient competitor."1
B2B marketing has typically been organized by industry, product/solution, or channel. ABM brings all of these together with enhanced data that allows marketing to focus on individual accounts – and to personalize content to individual recipients.
It's important to remember that ABM is a strategy; it’s not a campaign. And there is no one single platform for ABM. In fact, for the best results, multiple platforms must be stacked together depending on the different channels utilized in the omnichannel mix. The biggest challenge marketers may face is how to execute a single ABM campaign across all these channels, leveraging multiple individual systems. There needs to be a core B2B data platform that can bring account, contact, and engagement (1st and 3rd party) data together, segment the audience, and activate data across different channel-specific platforms to execute campaigns. This is exactly why a customer data platform (CDP) is fast becoming such an important piece of the puzzle.
An effective ABM strategy involves people, process, technology, data and alignment to reach its full potential. The elements of a successful ABM strategy may hinge on these elements working in tandem to support the core pillars of ABM. Here are our five basics to launching a successful ABM strategy.
ABM Pillar 1: Identify Accounts
Connecting sales and marketing teams to create a common, multidimensional understanding of the market helps organizations create an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). This process includes ranking customer profiles to determine preferred targets, while eliminating non-fit and non-profitable accounts.
ABM Pillar 2: Target & Attract
Targeting accounts across multiple channels requires different data sets to effectively reach each audience across each channel. Omnichannel marketing takes all behaviors into consideration to continue to send personalized and valuable messages to the audience.
ABM Pillar 3: Engage
Targeted campaigns usually result in traffic that lands on the web. This is why it is critical that landing pages and the entire site are optimized to increase engagement, deliver personalized content, and drive conversion. You’ll need a coordinated operation that takes into account data, content and platform to achieve the best results.
ABM Pillar 4: Convert
Logically, higher engagement with improved targeting greatly improves the chance of conversion. By converting an anonymous prospect into a known contact, prospect, or lead allows you to drive higher engagement. Gated content must be compelling enough — and served up at the right time — to improve conversion as well as account targeting.
ABM Pillar 5: Measure & Optimize
All marketers want to measure every digital marketing activity. But the real question is the marketing impact of those actions on sales and revenue. Determine key metrics and focus on those. Remember that marketing is only as strong as its weakest link. Measure, apply learning, optimize, and iterate in a closed loop to streamline the buyer’s journey and eliminate bottlenecks.
Omnichannel ABM requires vision and discipline shared across marketing, sales, technology, and data leaders, supported by a strong strategy and execution plan. Maintaining the quality of your data coupled with rich analytics can make omnichannel ABM perform for your organization.
For a more comprehensive view of ABM optimization, download our eBook “A Practitioner’s Guide to Account Based Marketing: The 5 Pillars of ABM."
1Peppers and Rogers; The One-to-One Future (1993); Page 140