It’s not surprising that recent ITSMA research found B2B marketers are doubling down on account-based marketing (ABM) as their top priority for the year ahead. In fact, B2B tech-sector marketers now allocate 21% of total marketing spend to ABM.
How can marketers make the most of that investment? Here are three areas where we see opportunities for ABMers to bring their “A” game in 2021 and beyond:
1. Augment contact coverage across the buying group
B2B marketers understand that large B2B buying decisions are made by groups of people with different roles and responsibilities. Despite that understanding, too many contact “hot lists” for ABM programs focus exclusively on the C-suite or senior executive level.
Engaging top executives makes sense. But let’s not forget the rest of the demand unit.
Engaging top executives makes sense. But let’s not forget the rest of the demand unit. Augment your account-level contact coverage to encourage both push and pull demand. Cast as wide a net as possible in terms of buying group members. Directors and managers who oversee the use of your product or solution, as well as those team members who will use it daily, are critical contributors to the buying decision. Generate desire and advocacy with those who will derive the most benefit from the right choice—and who will experience the greatest frustration with the wrong choice.
2. Activate account-centric scoring models
Decades of lead scoring have led to systems, data and processes built upon this individual-centric model. The result is that despite the ABM practice of targeting accounts and buying groups within accounts, it is still often individual leads that are tracked through the buying journey.
Developing new, account-centric scoring models and reconfiguring processes and systems to support them takes time and effort. To get there, we are seeing some organizations adopting a crawl, walk, run approach.
Start crawling by aggregating lead engagement at the account level. For example, a Marketing Qualified Account (MQA) may be defined as an account that has three Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs). Get to walking by applying relative weightings to the title/function of buying group members based upon their level of involvement in the buy decision. And you’ll be running when you start tracking discrete buying groups that represent a single demand unit, allowing for more complex routing rules that can encompass primary buyer roles as well as influencers and users.
…start tracking discrete buying groups that represent a single demand unit…
3. Adopt an always-on mindset
Focused, time-bound campaigns will always play a dominant role in the ABM-sphere, particularly for 1:1 and 1:Few campaigns. That said, “always-on” programs that keep your brand top-of-mind particularly with accounts in the 1:Many ABM tier will help elevate them—based upon heightened intent or increased engagement—to a threshold that supports a more targeted ABM effort. Always-on channels and tactics may include flighting targeted media at a set cadence throughout the year, sending emails at regular intervals and promoting a recurring webinar, podcast or blog series.
Advanced always-on efforts create account-based demand engines that never turn off.
Advanced always-on efforts create account-based demand engines that never turn off. Like Windstream Enterprise’s 2020 Elevation Award–winning program MyCampaign. Created by Marketing but controlled by Sales (right from CRM), MyCampaign helps Sales scale their account-based efforts by providing on-demand access to launch relevant and highly personalized, multi-channel and multi-touch experiences targeting multiple accounts and contacts concurrently. The tool has delighted sales reps and prospects alike, all while driving major pipeline and revenue.
Here’s to stepping up your “A”BM game in 2021 and beyond.