According to a study from CEB, the average B2B decision making group now includes at least 5.4 buyers, usually from different departments with differing needs. This complicates the process for sales and marketing teams that must nurture individual leads across a number of people at a target account. This requires marketers to demonstrate how their product can help each individual stakeholder needs.
Account based marketing (ABM) helps sales and marketing teams manage this complex process, targeting and nurturing all of these individuals. ABM is making a comeback thanks to advances in marketing automation and technology in the mid-market and SMB space. 84 percent of B2B marketers report that ABM delivers higher ROI than any other approach, according to research from ITSMA. In addition, SiriusDecisions found that 92 percent of global B2B marketers said account based marketing was “extremely” or “very” important to their overall marketing efforts.
These tools have brought sophisticated capabilities to B2B marketers at scale, enabling them to drive demand, manage prospects and cut sales cycles. New technologies are also bringing sales and marketing teams together and collaboration is at the center of the new approach. Tools once reserved for enterprise-level clients are now available to smaller firms, with plug and play apps speeding up their capabilities. ABM only works when sales and marketing collaborate in order to nurture accounts throughout the sales cycle, particularly since today’s buyer is more informed than ever.
Despite the importance of collaboration, 52 percent of B2B firms use a single-touch attribution model, according to Bizible’s 2015 State of Pipeline Marketing report. Yet this is changing. The study found that 30 percent of these marketers plan to implement a multi-touch attribution program within the next six months. ABM marketers particularly are interested in tracing the buyer’s journey in order to identify which touchpoints were influential to a conversion. The complex web of sending multiple people in an account multiple messages means that attribution is even more important and B2B marketers will continue to look for ways to improve attribution.
In order to make the most out of account based marketing, marketers much make a list of key accounts and identify whom they’d like to target. This data is critical to understanding the topics that are important to a company’s audience, which can be determined through intent data. A robust database or CRM is important to expanding a company’s potential customer list. While not every name on the list may come from a target account, these prospects are there because at some point these people were interested in the product. Understanding the needs of this set of prospects can lead to future business.
Half of business buyers would like to encounter personalized products or services when visiting a provider’s website, according to a recent report from Accenture and Hybris. This means that the onus is on marketers to understand who is visiting their site and what they are interested in seeing, in order to deliver the right message. This can be tricky and while personalization is important, companies should understand who the personas are that visit their site so that they can provide relevant content to site visitors.
Account based marketing offers B2B marketers new ways to connect with buyers in more sophisticated ways than ever. You can’t afford to ignore this revamped approach.