As marketers know, we can’t throw spaghetti against a wall and hope it will stick. The foundation of any successful B2B marketing strategy is good data, and this is especially true for account-based marketing.
In a recent webinar I did with my friends Adam New-Waterson, CMO of LeanData and Henry Schuck, CEO of DiscoverOrg, we came together to talk about how powerful data mixed with the right content and advertising can help you launch your account-based marketing at scale.
Check out the full webinar here:
I get asked all the time: “What is account-based marketing?” This has become a hot topic, because it brings marketing and sales together to focus their efforts on the hottest deals which will drive the most revenue.
So why is account-based marketing such a big buzz word?
If you look up the definition of account-based marketing you’ll find it “is a strategic approach to business marketing in which an organisation considers and communicates with individual prospect or customer accounts as markets of one.”
The reality is that B2B has always been about account-based marketing. You never hear the question, “How many leads have you closed?” You talk to a salesperson and ask them, “How many accounts have you closed?” This is because account-based marketing has always been a part of the sales playbook.
Marketing finally has the tools and knowledge to help the sales teams do account-based marketing. Because we have the technology developed around how to do this at scale, this is why account-based marketing has become more than just a buzzword.
According to SiriusDecisions, more than 92% of these companies see the value in account-based marketing, but only 20% are using it; and from this 20%, most of these users are doing it from a very manual perspective.
Some sales directors might tell the sales rep;, “Hey, you’re responsible for selling into these 10 accounts,” so they call that account-based marketing.
With a successful account-based marketing strategy, the marketing team can help the sales rep win by providing air-cover campaigns to those 10 accounts across multiple channels to raise awareness and speed up the buying cycle.
With account-based marketing, B2B marketers have the ability to look at the data and show the results. We can now see exactly how many people within these 10 accounts engaged with our brand, and what channels, to show how marketing is helping to increase revenue. That’s the power of data driven account-based marketing, especially in B2B.
There are tons of tools to get in front of these buyers…but which ones really work?
So Where Do You Start With Account Based Marketing?
- Define the steps and stages of your account-based marketing strategy
- Determine your accounts and your ideal customer profile (ICP)
- Identify buyer profiles by finding the right contacts at those companies
- Create a team to focus on each account including representation from both sales and marketing
- Be in front of those accounts everywhere they go
- Email marketing/Direct mail
- Online advertising
- Social selling
- Turn those customers into advocates for your brand
This all begins with accurate data. High quality data is truly the heart of any account-based marketing strategy.
When your team goes to identify which accounts to put into campaigns, you need to understand the universe of those accounts and which accounts deserve the most attention and energy. This is critical, as the persona will vary from account to account.
For account-based marketing to work, you need good data to identify those accounts which will be the best fit for your products or services. So, then once you have the data on those accounts, how do we go about getting our message in front them?
The stages of the traditional lead based marketing funnel used to look like this:
Awareness: Starting broad with everyone being a target
Interest: Spend more time and money to qualify
Consideration: Call. Email. Call. Email.
Decision: Thank goodness they bought from us and not our competitors
The challenge with this is we’re looking at people as numbers. This can work great if there’s only one person who is the decision maker. But with B2B, it’s more than one person who is the decision maker. There are often 7-10 people involved in the buying process and this often includes someone in the C-suite.
There might be only one person signing the check, but a lot of people influence the purchase decision. B2B will always require account-based marketing. We can’t continue to focus all of the marketing team’s time and energy at the top of the traditional lead based marketing funnel. Here’s another way to look at the funnel.
With account-based marketing, we’re using good data to find our ideal customers:
Identify: Starting with our best fit customers
Expand: Focus on people in the same roles
Engage: Providing the right content in the right channel
Advocate: Turn customers into fans
I hate advertising, at least in the broad sense. For example, an ad for a car that I don’t like pops up. I hate these ads because it’s not personalized. The advertiser doesn’t know me, or have the data showing I’m not the ideal customer to buy the car.
I love advertising if it’s exactly talking about my pain points. If the advertiser knew the pain I was having with my current car, and he could show me (with relevant content) how his car will help take away that pain, then I would be interested.
That’s the idea behind #FlipMyFunnel. One of the big reasons this makes sense is because it’s account-based marketing. Everyone who is experiencing pain will get involved in the buying process.
It starts with the end in mind. Your goal may be to get more revenue, or acquire more of a certain kind of customer, so your marketing team focuses its efforts on only the accounts who will help reach your goal. Your velocity at every stage in the funnel will improve. That’s the power of data driven account-based marketing.
There are more #MarTech tools than ever to help you engage with your target audience on their terms, but technology is nothing without good data. You can’t do great marketing without accurate data.
You’re taking a potential customer on a journey to purchase your software. All B2B marketers know the importance of lead nurturing to grow opportunities.
The challenges happen when goals are different. If the goal of a marketing team is to generate leads, and sales has to generate revenue, there can be a disconnect. Marketing has to focus on revenue generation, providing the right content to accounts that lead to closed deals.
Good data along with good sales and marketing alignment is an essential pathway to kicking off an account-based marketing campaign with the right mindset.
I’d love to hear your success stories and opportunities for your improvement in the comments section below.