Written by Chris Vandermarel, PathFactory
PathFactory is a member of the ABM Leadership Alliance, which is a group of experts who provide B2B marketers with guidance and oversight on how to leverage technology to create a high performing ABM strategy.
Many sales organizations struggle when it comes to finding and engaging the best buyers from their target accounts. They waste time chasing prospects who aren’t interested and overlook those who are in active buying cycles. But it’s not their fault. They don’t have the information they need to distinguish between the two. It’s time to spot the problems caused by outdated B2B marketing approaches and put new strategies in their place.
For several years now, marketers with an ABM program have become deeply focused on finding the best target accounts for their organizations. Once the accounts are identified, however, marketers often personalize the front door during the content delivery process — making sure that broadly relevant content reaches each account on the first visit. In many cases, any response — such as a single click on content — is then claimed as a victory.
This approach has two major shortcomings: it overlooks the importance of how the entire content experience is delivered to the buying committee throughout the customer journey, and does not provide any insight into how much of the content individual buyers actually consumed. Ultimately, the sales team’s ability to close an account could come down to whether someone on the buying committee reached sales readiness through content and their experience with it, or got lost along the way.
To ensure you drive marketing and sales success with the right buyers at your targeted accounts, here are two considerations for optimizing the content delivery experience within your ABM program:
Remove High-Friction Touch Points In The B2B Content Experience
Here’s a thought: why deliver a Blockbuster-type experience to B2B targets when you can offer Netflix?
With ABM programs’ tight focus on hitting the right organizations, the experience that buyers receive has not advanced as it should have. The experience is often a “one and done.” For example, buyers are directed to a landing page with a hard-gated form. Or they are made to jump from emails to forms to web pages and more, adding up to a lot of clicks before prospects have all the information they would need to want to proceed forward. That’s the Blockbuster experience.
Under the Blockbuster experience, the content the marketer is sending might be relevant for the account, but it gives the buyer nowhere else to go as a next step. Or it’s so friction-fraught, that the marketer loses the attention of the buyers somewhere along the way.
Now let’s think about what Netflix, Spotify and other B2C brands are doing to evolve content delivery. These brands personalize content and curate it in sequential journeys involving minimal clicks, rendering the experience both relevant and easy. With the proliferation of B2C content journeys that are personalized and intuitive, it suddenly becomes starkly obvious — and frustrating — to buyers when a B2B company forces them through its clunky approach to content delivery.
To be successful in delivering the best content experience, B2B marketers need to adopt B2C marketing approaches. An effective ABM content delivery strategy looks at packaging all the relevant information and materials buyers need to reach sales readiness into a frictionless sequence they can easily walk through. No more buyer’s journey scavenger hunts.
Measure True Engagement And Use It To Guide Sales And Increased Personalization
Once you have removed any sticking points in the content experience, it’s important to measure real engagement to understand who the most advanced buyers at your target accounts are. There’s only one engagement metric that matters for B2B marketers: true time spent on content.
Let’s revisit our Netflix example for a moment to explain this. It would be difficult for Netflix to glean any real insight just from knowing if you simply clicked on a movie or series. But by measuring whether you completed the movie or series and in what time frame — i.e., binge-watched, viewed in spaced-out installments or stopped watching halfway through the first episode — the data paints a more vivid picture and they can make smarter recommendations as a result.
The Netflix example translates into the B2B sales and marketing world: it is much more insightful to understand if a potential buyer read an E-book you shared from beginning to end versus simply knowing that they clicked on a link to download the asset. True engagement and consumption data like this is priceless in guiding you as a B2B marketer in personalizing future content for your key account prospects.
Critically, engagement data sets present a real-time view of purchase readiness and insight into where an individual buyer’s interest lies, which becomes a game changer for sales. Imagine giving your sales team the ability to see which assets their buying committee still has left to view around a product set or service offering that interests them, and empowering them to use that knowledge to close deals.
Finding the right accounts can only take you so far. By adopting new ABM strategies, including the right approach to content delivery, you can achieve and prove B2B marketing and sales success. Companies like Invoca and Rockwell Automation are already optimizing their ABM programs for greater B2B marketing success by thinking more like B2C marketers.
Chris Vandermarel is the Director of Demand Generation at PathFactory. In his role, Chris is often called upon to “go deep” in the marketing tech stack to help solve the tough real-world challenges that sales and marketing professionals face every day. If you’re the kind of marketer who obsesses over A/B tests, loves digging into the data to prove hypotheses, and believes that no idea is too “out there” to try (at least once), Chris is your new BFF.