This article was originally published by ABM In Action.
As marketers are well aware, artificial intelligence emerged as a prime buzzword of 2019. While some marketing automation companies may be leveraging advanced data analytics capabilities and taking license to call it artificial intelligence, the future optics look much more exciting than the present pretend.
In 2020, account-based marketing as we know it will undergo a massive disruption as marketers increase focus on personalization to prioritize sales and usher in a new wave of “revenue-based marketing” (RBM).
ABM To RBM
Personalization is top-of-mind for most and while aspects of personalization exist within the current iteration of ABM, we could do more. With all the data and metrics marketing teams now have at their disposal, it is becoming easier to create content that resonates with target audiences.
Historically, marketers were flying blind. We had no data on our prospects, no tools to segment prospects based on different signals and more importantly, no mechanism to measure the impact of such strategies. Now, we can leverage buyer characteristics — such as lead score, event attendance, content consumption and more — but doing so in a unified, automated way is not yet an intuitive process. And in getting caught up in the metrics and measurement, we can sometimes forget the basics.
It is no question that data is critical, but marketers can easily fall victim to a bad habit of relying solely on the above metrics and forget important basics like listening. We need to listen to our prospects and current clients and understand what it is they want and need to foster success.
Align Sales & Marketing To Accelerate The Customer Journey
What does this mean? Every business has a clear set of objectives that they wish to attain in order to meet their revenue goals. We, as marketers, cannot develop an effective marketing strategy unless we first listen closely to our prospects to understand their challenges and clearly define how to reach those objectives. With that critical information in hand, we can continuously leverage new signals through AI to build a robust campaign that can help meet those overarching revenue goals. And goals change! This is why we need to more consistently engage and teach sales to do the same through all stages of the funnel if we wish to foster true success.
In our adoption of ABM strategies, we’re working toward this larger goal now. Through such strategies, we use personalized campaigns to target specific accounts within a market. Historically, the identification of companies and content was static. This one-size-fits-all approach may be efficient but is largely not effective. Personalizing content to companies has proven to be the best way to optimize for conversions. While in the past, sales teams placed more emphasis on individual leads, now the focus is on accounts and the message. To stay aligned on goals and messaging requires remaining dialed into the conversations our sales teams are having. While such strategies accelerate the customer journey, the ultimate step is to hit those revenue goals.
With RBM strategies, the focus will now be to help sales and marketing teams move away from legacy metrics and better define their prospects’ revenue goals. RBM will see marketers leverage AI-based signals to best determine how to balance appropriate messaging across the right channels and targets. Marketers tend to look at media channels in isolation, but when a marketer can dynamically test and measure how adjusting media mix impacts measurable financial ROI, that’s when we will be able to truly implement a revenue-based approach.
Steps On The Path Ahead
Knowing what lies ahead, it’s critical to be proactive and start to implement an RBM strategy now for bolstered success. Starting with these three key takeaways can help:
- Do remember to listen! Listen to your customers. They will likely give you the answers you need if you give them a chance to speak. Train your tools and teams to speak to customers regularly and often and with tailored messaging. Make relationship-building a goal.
- Don’t get overwhelmed by data overload! Figure out the metrics that matter and then rely on automated processes to help implement an effective engagement and measurement solution. Synchronizing your first- and third-party data sources by account and media channel for easy monitoring down the line can be helpful here.
- Do adopt a revenue-based model of thinking. Understand and identify the different signals that are impacting your revenue goals, so that you can continuously optimize towards them to better influence bottom lines and increase ROI. Don’t be afraid to pivot down the line if something is no longer working! This is a give-and-take process.