With in-person engagement on hold this spring and possibly into summer, B2B marketers continue to pivot their strategies to make up for lost leads, maintain relationships with clients and attract new business. These new challenges present an opportunity to double down on ABM to deliver targeted messages that cater to buyer’s current needs and pain points.
During these times of uncertainty, experts agree that focusing on making individual, authentic connections is important. And this is where ABM can really shine.
“We certainly believe it’s a time to double down on ABM,” said Rob Leavitt, SVP of Consulting at ITSMA, in a recent report. “Being much more focused on core accounts and existing accounts — especially in the near term, like the rest of the year — is a wise principle for a general approach. Then you can think about the tactics accordingly. It’s about putting a lot more emphasis on more individualized connections and engagement with key accounts, a lot more emphasis on research and insight. Just running a lot of those broad-based demand gen-type programs is going to be much less effective going forward for quite a while.”
This years’ Campaign Optimization Series, hosted by ABM In Action’s sister publication Demand Gen Report, put a spotlight on the strategies and tools marketers have seen success within this new environment, with targeted webcasts led by industry thought leaders who emphasized the importance of doubling down on ABM strategies to boost engagement with target audiences. During the series, experts addressed topics such as ABM for sales success, full-funnel personalization and ABM for customer retention.
Adopting ABM To Better Engage Key Stakeholders In Buying Committees
According to research cited during Dun & Bradstreet’s session, 80% of pipeline is impacted by canceled in-person meetings. This creates the need to have an account-based mindset in this new reality is important. Nipul Chokshi, VP of Marketing at Dun & Bradstreet, noted that it’s not just important to have an ABM mindset, but each team must have specific metrics to effectively measure success.
Measuring tangible outcomes isn’t just for achieving goals; it’s also to align more closely with sales. Chokshi referenced one of their customers, LiveRamp, that measures their metrics based on meetings booked from target accounts, clicks and website traffic. With success so easily defined, aligning with sales to drive revenue was much easier.
“When you start talking about things like opportunity, pipeline and revenue, you’re automatically starting to align with sales,” Chokshi said. “The most effective revenue engines in the B2B world are aligned, if not integrated, from a sales and marketing perspective.”
Reimagining Content To Drive ABM Success
Content also needs to be the core of any ABM strategy, according to Alicia Esposito, Senior Content Strategist at Content4Demand. During their session, Esposito and Tonya Vinas, VP of Content Strategy at Content4Demand, stressed the importance of tailoring content for the whole buying committee and using it to facilitate relationship building — not merely stuffing leads into the top of the funnel.
“Content is the underlying component that drives ABM success,” said Esposito. “The stakes are high in ABM, and every step of your strategy needs to rely on relevant, engaging content that speaks directly to your buyer.”
But it’s not always necessary to start from scratch when it comes to content. Vinas and Esposito suggested doing a content audit and shared an example of a financial data company they worked with to help identify content gaps by color-coding content based on whether it’s reusable (green), potentially reusable (orange) or when there are gaps (red). Companies can take a similar approach to maintain a high-level overview of their content and determine what can be easily repurposed and which content needs to be updated down the road to fill in gaps.
Leveraging Personalized, Account-Based Tactics For Customer Retention
While marketers are often focused on winning new business, experts noted it may make more sense to look to the customers you already have to drive revenue. During his session, Andre Yee, Founder and CEO of Triblio, put it succinctly: “It costs five times more to win a new customer than to retain an existing customer.”
Yee noted there can be big payoffs to focusing on the customers who are already familiar with your product and process. According to a Gartner study quoted in the webinar, 80% of future profits come from 20% of customers. Yee broke down the process into several phases:
- Warm up the buyer by featuring specific content to expose their needs;
- Propose a consultation or a product offer with account-based ads and custom content; and
- Start an outbound cadence through sales, with talking points culled from the personalized content used in the previous two phases.
It’s important not to overlook revenue in your own backyard, and ABM can be a perfect way to reach your existing customer base. Experts said typical ABM tactics like personalization can focus on onboarding new clients seamlessly through personalized microsites to secure loyalty early in the provider-client relationship. This can set the stage for upselling later on in the buyer journey.
Carlyn Manly, Head of Marketing at Folloze, agreed. “When it comes to ABM, customer lifetime value reigns supreme,” she said during her session. “The initial deal is only the beginning.”
Clients and prospects are expecting consistent, excellent value that improves over time. This means that B2B marketers must take a long-term approach to their ABM strategy. Manly stressed the importance of investing in a full relationship from start to finish and engaging in a personal and meaningful way.
By leveraging what Folloze calls a “full-funnel personalization strategy,” Manly suggested creating microsites that are segmented by account, buyer persona and user experience. Marketers can take account data or visitor data to create a personalized experience for a one-to-few or one-to-many approach. The result is a microsite that looks as though the content is hand-picked, but in reality, it is a process that has been replicated dozens, if not hundreds, of times.
Traditional spray-and-pray tactics are a thing of the past, as people long for face-to-face interactions. “Now more than ever, as people are looking for a connection, it’s so important that marketers put the buyer — the human, the customer — at the center of their strategy,” said Kate Adams, VP of Marketing at Drift, during her session.
All of the sessions from #COSeries 2020 are now available on-demand here.