Engagement in ABM: What is it and how do you get it?

There is a lot of discussion in marketing around engagement. But what is it really?

Engagement is an early hallmark of success. It’s the new marketing currency. While there is quite a bit written about how desirable the outcome is (i.e., revenue), creating the right activities that result in engagement and measure engagement is more nebulous.

What is engagement?

1) Engagement is an outcome – As marketers, we try to drive awareness and address pain points our potential buyers or customers have. If we are doing our job well, buyers interact with us resulting in engagement. Engagement is an outcome, not a button you click.

So, in an environment that is noisy and overwrought with messages, how can you do a good job delight people and encourage an interaction?

2) Messaging matters – and being personal matters – It goes back to some basic principles, but it is essential to know your buyer and what they care about and when – and you need to communicate to them in a way that is meaningful. But how do we know what our buyers care about and how can we do this at scale?

personalization spectrum

  1. Start by identifying where is it essential to be personal and where it is OK to be customized.
  2. Read their blogs or articles
  3. Check out earnings calls or annual reports
  4. Follow them on social media or review their Twitter profile – what do they like and care about?
  5. Pay attention to what they talk about at conferences

3) Delighting your buyer isn’t usually the result of one tactic. Life would sure be easier if this was true! In most B2B buying cycles, you will touch your potential buyers multiple times across a variety of channels. It is never just an email, targeted ads or direct mail – it’s typically a combination. Orchestrated plays coordinate a set of tactics across multiple people in a personalized manner. The cool part is the ability to SCALE a set of personalized interactions that actually work!

Here is an example of a broad-based email compared to a personalized play. This was for an executive event.

marketing automation vs orchestration
Here is some additional data of plays we run at Engagio.

engagio plays
4) Measuring engagement is understanding EARLY if right people at the right accounts spending time with us.

For many marketers attributing marketing initiatives to revenue is a top priority. There isn’t a marketer on the planet that doesn’t have to address if their initiative is effective or not whether it is for brand, acquisition, adoption, retention, etc. While the end goal is clearly showing pipeline and won revenue, we all know many B2B deals (including x-sell/up-sell) can take months to close. Measuring engagement is a powerful way to evaluate the early impact of initiatives at all parts of the customer lifecycle. Here is an example I showed recently at a Board Meeting. I am showing the right people at the right companies are interacting with us and the trend is moving up. Note, this engagement data includes marketing programs of ALL types – not just web traffic.

web traffic

Above all, engagement is about time. Before someone spends money with you, they’ll first spend time with you. The more time they spend, the more interest they’re showing in doing business with you. It is a critical early indicator of success and something marketing and sales both understand and relate to.

I hope these tips make it easier for you to have success with your customers!

Heidi Bullock
Heidi Bullock
Prior to joining Engagio, Bullock served nearly 5 years in marketing positions at Marketo, eventually becoming Group VP, Global Marketing following the company’s 2013 IPO. Bullock began her career as a product manager in the life sciences industry, after graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a degree in molecular biology and genetic engineering. Later, she earned a MBA at St. Mary’s College of California.

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