Challenges of Mastering & Measuring Account-Based Marketing
You can’t run a successful marketing campaign if you don’t know what’s working, and you can’t understand what’s working if you don’t have visibility into real-time results.
Watch the video below or read on to learn:
- Why accounts are the new lead and engagement is the new form fill.
- How award-winning marketer Kristen Wendel and her team get their target accounts engaged, measure engagement, and enable their sales team.
- How KickFire powers our new Terminus product feature, Account-Based Visitor ID.
With traditional, lead-based marketing methods, B2B marketers measure success based on the number of leads generated. Now with account-based marketing (ABM), the focus has shifted to how many of your target accounts progress through the sales cycle and, ultimately, generate revenue for your business.
But what happens in the time between when your target audience first encounters your brand and when an account turns into a sales opportunity? How do you know your account-based marketing efforts are making an impact?
Maybe one or two people from the account fill out a form on your website. Then you can add them to email nurture campaigns and see how they’re interacting with your content.
But in a complex B2B sales process, you’ve got to influence a lot more than the one or two people who might be willing to fill out a form.
Say you sell HR software. You need the CEO or the CFO to understand the value your software will add to their business, but they’re not going to come to your site and download an e-book. They’re probably going to explore your product page and some content on your website — but if they don’t fill out a form to identify themselves, you have no way of knowing they’re doing that.
This giant gap in account-level engagement data is a problem because it:
- Prevents B2B marketing teams from seeing the immediate impact of their ABM efforts.
- Leaves sales reps unequipped to sufficiently understand their prospects’ buying committees.
“Engagement is the New Form Fill”
Demand generation with account-based marketing is all about engagement. You’re not just generating leads; you’re generating interest in your solution. But how do you measure interest?
With engagement, of course.
In the words of Kristen Wendel, Sr. Director of Marketing Operations at LeanKit, “Engagement is the new form fill.”
Before working at LeanKit, Kristen was the Director of Marketing Operations at VersionOne, SiriusDecisions’ ABM Program of the Year Winner in 2017. Kristen and her team at VersionOne (including Peter Herbert, who now works as VP of Marketing at Terminus) built their account-based marketing program from the ground up.
Here’s a visualization of LeanKit’s account-based value stream — in other words, the journey they take their accounts through. In dark blue, you’ll see the activities they are doing alongside the technology they use. In light blue, you can see the metrics they use to measure results for both marketing and sales development efforts.
To set your team up for success with ABM engagement, Kristen believes in following a four-step marketing process.
1. Prioritize your accounts.
Before you engage with your potential customers, you need to know who they are. This requires identifying your master list of target accounts and then prioritizing them.
Kristen explains her rationale behind account prioritization this way: it’s about fit + intent + engagement.
In other words, you should prioritize the highest value accounts based on:
- How well they fit with your ideal customer profile (ICP) using an AI-assisted fit model through products such as EverString.
- Whether they exhibit signs of interest in your product, which you can determine using intent data from tools such as Bombora.
- How they engage with your brand. (More on this later.)
Engagement, Kristen explains, “gives you a way to identify the accounts that are the highest value that you can then start to market to.” But she cautions against biting off more than you can chew. “We’re talking hundreds, not thousands.”
2. Build out your target contacts.
Next, your marketing and/or sales development teams need to identify your target contacts at each account, including their job titles and contact information. As you build out your contact list, consider how many people are on a typical customer’s buying committee, including end-users and decision-makers. You should strive to find contact information for each of your buyer personas at every target account.
This way, when the accounts show intent and/or engagement, your sales development team has the resources they need to reach the right people and run personalized, account-based plays using phone calls, social media, and email.
3. Create personalized, relevant content.
Creating personalized content doesn’t mean you need to start from square one. Instead, you need to take stock of all your resources — slide decks, blog posts, e-books, videos, interactive tools, and so on — and map each asset to a stage of the buyer’s journey. You can use this editable Content Mapping Worksheet to do this.
Next, you’ll have to decide how much true personalization you want to use for your target accounts. You can personalize content at the individual level, the account level, or the industry level.
For a more scalable program, consider providing different levels of personalization to each tier. Tier 1 accounts may require 1:1 personalization, while your Tier 2 accounts get company-specific content and your Tier 3 accounts get content about their industry.
4. Start multichannel promotion.
Now you’ve laid all the groundwork for engagement, and it’s time to start promoting your message to your audience across all the channels they’re active on. One benefit of knowing exactly who you’re targeting is having a better strategy for reaching them — and only them — wherever they are online using email, social media, digital advertising, and more.
As Kristen says, “Multichannel promotion is key, and online advertising is a major component of our ABM strategy. It allows you to reach your entire target audience across the web.”
And the goal of that reach goes beyond generating leads. Remember: engagement is the new form fill.
“No longer are you simply counting how many people filled out a form,” Kristen says. Instead, you’ve got to make sure you’re reaching, educating, and engaging all the right people at your target accounts.
Using Account-Based Digital Advertising to Drive Engagement
Account-based digital advertising is the best way to drive engagement within target accounts at scale. 1:1 outreach is not scalable, email marketing is limited to inbound leads, and traditional digital advertising has limited targeting options.
Account-based advertising solves all these problems. The Terminus ABM platform allows you to proactively reach and engage the right people at your target accounts and measure the results of that engagement.
Our Chief Product Officer, Bryan Brown, explains, “We’ve made it super easy for marketers to target their best-fit accounts. Using account-based advertising, we have a technology that allows companies to get in front of the accounts they’re trying to do business with, and specifically the personas and contacts in those accounts where they’re really trying to gain traction, and engage those stakeholders to drive business forward.”
But it goes beyond just engagement. “Terminus also has all the measurement tools to help you understand if you’re actually driving pipeline, which tactics are having the most impact on the accounts, and then progressing them faster through your sales pipeline,” Bryan adds.
Introducing Visitor ID to Measure Account Engagement
In July, we released a new feature in the Terminus product: Account-Based Visitor ID. With Account-Based Visitor ID, anonymous website visitors are identified by company, allowing you to understand how your account-based marketing efforts are driving website engagement. As a result, you can analyze website behavior at the account level — all from within the Terminus platform.
“Visitor ID allows marketers to see which target accounts are engaging with a high degree of accuracy,” says Kristen. “It closes the loop on account engagement without having to rely solely on lead capture.”
To measure engagement, the LeanKit team uses Visitor ID to determine how many people from each target account are visiting their website, how often they visit, and which pages they view. This includes data from key stakeholders that never fill out a form to identify themselves.
How does this look in practice? Here’s a real example of four days’ worth of visits from one of LeanKit’s target accounts.
Kristen explains, “They’re visiting the pricing page. They’re visiting product-related pages. They were on our home page. This is the type of engagement you pass over to sales and say, ‘Go get them. Start your outbound cadence. Start your outbound plays. Go find the target contacts in this account.’”
“It’s amazing. Being able to see how your online advertising efforts are driving website engagement, especially high-value website engagement, is a game-changer.”
– Kristen Wendel
The Technology Behind Account-Based Visitor ID
How can you be sure the data you’re getting about account engagement on your website is accurate?
When we were building Account-Based Visitor ID, accuracy was the most important factor we looked for in a data partner. Our product team did a thorough evaluation of four vendors that provide IP address intelligence, and KickFire won out by a landslide.
One way we validated this was to give each vendor our own IP address and see what they could come up with. “Only Kickfire knew that it was actually Terminus,” says Bryan. “The others had some form of ISP in their information.”
Tina Bean, VP of Strategic Partnerships at KickFire, shares more about the powerful technology behind KickFire and Terminus’ Account-Based Visitor ID. “Engagement is the new form fill, but that begs the question, ‘How do you know which accounts are showing engagement, if they never fill out a form?’ That’s really where IP address intelligence comes in.”
“You may be thinking, ‘My marketing automation tool has IP intelligence.’ Most marketing automation tools will check the box and say they have IP intelligence, but their technology is really rudimentary and oftentimes, it can’t identify beyond the ISP like Comcast. You know, it’s really important to know that not all data is created equal.”
More Ways to Drive Engagement with Account-Based Marketing
Learn more about delivering account-based engagement, click here to download the Complete Guide to Account Engagement.