Think You’re Not Ready for Account Based Marketing? Try These 7 Ideas First
It can be intimidating to make the switch from traditional demand generation to an account-based mindset. It requires B2B organizations to evolve their process and activity — and change is never easy.
But, even if you think you’re not ready for a full Account Based Marketing strategy, there are numerous ways that you can apply some of the principles of Marketing Orchestration to have an immediate and direct impact on your business.
Marketing Orchestration is an ongoing and coordinated process where customer-facing teams work together to drive business outcomes. This means Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success working in harmony to create the best experience for the buyer. No one loses account visibility, deals are won as a team, and your business drives greater revenue in valuable accounts.
Here’s how you can use Marketing Orchestration today, even if you’re not ready for ABM:
You’ll ensure leads are followed-up with, correctly
Demand generation marketers are under the gun to generate leads. For many marketers, it’s still the most basic thing you’re responsible for every day. More than ⅔ of companies in a recent study plan to increase their demand gen budget this year. But, that investment is wasted if SDRs are not following with leads appropriately.
When there’s a breakdown in the lead handoff between Marketing and Sales, critical dollars and time invested in demand gen are wasted.
Marketing Orchestration can guide the lead follow-up process by ensuring that your SDR counterparts reach out on-time, repeatedly, and with a personalized message that is sensible and relevant to the individual and their account.
Improve your lead scoring by focusing resources on the right accounts
If you work in marketing operations, you’re likely doing some form of lead scoring. But, in a B2B context, you’re more effective when you’re able to prioritize and score accounts. Account-based scoring helps a marketing operations professional to think the same way buyers and sales teams do – in terms of accounts, not individual leads.
Why is this better?
- By scoring Marketing Qualified Accounts, you’ll be able to separate the signal from the noise, resulting in fewer false-positives. For example, if an individual is highly active but from a company that is not a good fit, traditional lead scoring qualifies them as a hot lead when this should not be the case.
- With account scoring, you’ll also avoid false-negatives, where multiple people at an account demonstrate activity like whitepaper downloads, but none of them individually score high enough to get onto your lead scoring model’s radar. ABM helps you understand which of the right accounts are demonstrating buying intent, and ensure you don’t miss critical interest from your most important accounts.
- Account scoring also helps you focus activity on specific buying centers. If 50 leads come from a marketing department, and you sell to IT engineers, how do you score those leads? With traditional lead scoring, you’re unable to prioritize your resources effectively. With account scoring, you can focus your efforts more accurately, on the best opportunities.
In short, this allows you to carefully select and strategically prioritize your activities. It’s what we’re always trying to do anyway, but this time, we’re doing it at the account level. By narrowing down your addressable market to a pre-qualified list, you can also afford to spend more time with these higher-value opportunities. Selecting and tiering your accounts is a key foundation to successful ABM.
You’ll manage leads more effectively
Lead management is another critical part of the revenue engine. When an individual lead comes into your funnel, if you’re unable to associate them to an existing account, you lose critical visibility and information.
Lead to Account Matching (L2A) and routing allows an incoming lead to be matched with the right account, giving context to the situation. You now know if there’s an open opportunity, or not. This also reveals important activity history, such as if this individual has been emailing your boss. Today, you may leave it up to the SDR to manually check if there’s an existing opportunity, or worse, have them call the lead to find out. That’s not a good look.
Buyers are more sophisticated than that – and they expect more from you, and your team. L2A ensures you’re set up to route that lead appropriately, and meet those expectations.
You’ll improve field marketing results by helping sales be on-message
As a field marketer, you’re spending time, money, and energy running field marketing programs. Whether you’re hosting a local dinner, taking clients and leads out to a baseball game, or setting up meetings at a tradeshow, you need to drum up attendance and drive responses.
Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth to get sales to do their part to invite leads and customers. But, the only way field marketing events are successful is when sales and marketing work closely and do their part. You’ll never get an executive to show up to an event with only a marketing email.
Account-based plays help field marketers make it as easy as possible for sales teams and executives to get the right people at field events, and communicate the right messages consistently.
From prioritizing the right contacts to giving them a clear template for the invitation, Marketing Orchestration automates the process where appropriate – data appending, reminders, and more. Where a human touch is needed, your sales team is given what they need to communicate effectively.
What’s more, Marketing Orchestration gives important visibility into the whole process – so you’re not scrambling a week before your event unsure of who’s attending, who’s been invited, or what needs to be done.
You’ll scale customer marketing and expand accounts
Senior marketing leaders who are focused on account expansion are turning to Marketing Orchestration to help drive more from specific accounts. Let’s face it, when you’re marketing to current customers, nothing is worse than generic, automated sends.
When you try that with a prospect, the worse than can happen is to be irrelevant, and ignored. When you do it to a customer, you damage the whole relationship.
If you’re like many marketers (not all) you might be tracking customer promotions manually, in spreadsheets. This isn’t repeatable, nor is it scalable.
What’s worse, traditional marketing automation technology is just not well-suited to marketers who are tasked with account expansion.
This is where orchestration can help, by running plays to your customer base. From new product releases, to up-sell and cross-sell initiatives, ABE can bring more personalized, human touches to customer interactions (at scale.)
You’ll be able be able to nurture long deal cycles
For Many B2B companies, deal cycles are long – sometimes just too long! We all want deals to close sooner and with less bumps along the way. For marketing and sales it’s hard to have the right level of visibility into the reasons a deal is moving slowly. Since diagnosis is tricky, teams often do not know the right tactics to pursue to speed things up. For these reasons, forecasting and predicting deal cycles is also hard. These are well-known pains with few clear answers- until now.
An underutilized benefit of ABM is leveraging it for account diagnosis and then taking the right set of proactive actions to shorten sales cycles. For example, we use Engagio’s analytics to identify who and/or what may be blocking a deal, then running targeted plays from our playbook to key individuals (marketing created, sales approved). In this particular case, we were able to maintain visibility into the deal and keep it moving forward, whereas in the past deals with a similar profile remained locked in stalemate.
After all, nurture doesn’t have to be a passive activity done through a marketing automation system. There are proactive steps that you can take with key individuals to shorten long sales cycles.
You’ll be able to measure complex B2B deals
89% of marketers ranked improving the ability to measure and analyze marketing impact as a top priority in 2017, according to a study by DemandGen Report.
Most methods of measuring marketing programs are too focused on creating pipeline. Yes, it’s important to understand how many leads and opportunities were generated, but what about ALL other types of impact?
Account-based measurement helps to illustrate how marketing is accelerating existing deals. Or, perhaps how marketing is helping to increase win-rates among a set of key opportunities that are most valuable to an organization.
When dealing with larger, and more complicated accounts, first-touch or last-touch attribution methodology becomes less sensible. Imagine a marketer at Siemens closing a $500K deal with Toyota claiming “that happened because of that one trade show that we ran in Q2.” Sure.
As marketing is under pressure to constantly defend its budget quarter over quarter, year over year, it’s time to start looking at speed, time, and other metrics to help quantify marketing’s impact.
While ABM shifts much of what we know to be “traditional” B2B sales and marketing, it actually doesn’t require a dramatic change in the way you operate. It simply leverages Marketing Orchestration to focus and improve key priorities that your team is tasked with today.