This year, there will be a shift in ABM allowing technology and intelligence to come together to enable personalization at scale. True ABM requires a huge amount of time to research accounts, identify the right targets in the buying center and then create personalized content and offers to reach those individuals in real-time. Artificial intelligence is now making it possible to more easily curate the information required to identify accounts that are candidates for ABM, prioritize those accounts and uniquely personalize your outreach at a level that was previously unattainable.
Effective marketers will begin layering intent data on top of the demographic, firmographic and engagement information they have today, helping to create more relevant and timely matches between sellers and buyers. Marketers who can take advantage of this approach will, in many cases, be engaging with buyers before their competition and significantly increasing their chances of closing the deal, often at a higher price point.
At TimeTrade leveraging all this data in a more systematic way, through account scoring, will a big a big focus for early 2019. We have identified that selecting the right accounts and contacts to go after with ABM plays a huge role, if not the most important role in the success of the program. We also used this data to refine our messaging and campaigns to speak to what we actually know about those accounts, instead of having to speak in generalities.
In addition to easier data collection, advances in technology now enable systems to automatically act on that data and allow marketers to scale ABM programs like never before — both in terms of the number of accounts companies can market to and the ability to synchronize campaigns across more channels in a coordinated fashion. What had previously been siloed into email nurture campaigns, now spans a variety of channels where actions and information can trigger targeted digital advertisements, email offers, social engagement, direct mail and sales outreach all taking place synchronously and with full knowledge of the other activities.
The marketing, sales and BDR teams at TimeTrade are all working off a single set of target accounts with clear visibility into what each team is doing. Salesforce serves as the central hub for all systems, and then each team leverages additional technology to take relevant actions based on what Salesforce tells us. The systems that were most effective for us in 2018 are the ones we will carry into 2019. Supporting our ABM initiatives, we use AdRoll and LinkedIn for digital advertising, Marketo for marketing automation, PFL for direct mail, SalesLoft for sales engagement and ZoomInfo and LinkedIn Sales Navigator for data.
While some automation is critical, the importance of personalization and live engagement with knowledgeable employees remains a priority for buyers. This creates a challenge for marketing and sales leaders who will now be prioritizing marketing and sales tech that equips their teams with the knowledge to provide that personalization at scale. Direct mail has been a very effective avenue for TimeTrade to create personal engagement with prospects and customers. Receiving that high value and highly personalized item in the mail stands out because they know we put a lot more time into getting their attention than just clicking send on a mass email. It also represents a new mandate for the sales enablement function — in terms of both people and dollars — as this is the role that will likely be charged with helping sales teams navigate this new ABM tech stack, as well as understanding and acting on the expanded intelligence it provides.
Given the advances in ABM, the way CMOs are measuring the funnel and their larger contribution to revenue is also changing. Dashboards measuring raw numbers of leads are now being supplemented, and in some cases even replaced with metrics that reveal the level of engagement with target accounts and marketing and sales’ ability to effectively convert that engagement into active opportunities and ultimately closed business. In the last few years, marketers have joined the conversation and, in many cases, taken ownership over pipeline value.
ABM has now taken this even further, bringing marketing into the conversation about average deal size. For example, at TimeTrade we have seen that the average deal value for accounts we target through ABM is 2.5x those that are sourced from inbound. Even digital marketers are joining in, shifting their focus from visitors and clicks to account-based views of web activity. This new view of measurement will be critical to maintain sales and marketing alignment as the teamwork required to run ABM moves into unchartered territory about who gets credit for generating a deal. Our team’s philosophy is that if you do ABM right, sourcing of an opportunity can be very fuzzy because it’s a true team effort. Being able to report on influence, especially across sales and marketing, is the only way to truly show what brought the deal to the table and hopefully across the finish line.