The Importance of Engagement in ABM
B2B marketplaces are more crowded than ever with vendors vying for dwindling attention and buyers becoming better at tuning them out. Not only that, there are now 6.8 individuals involved in a buying committee. It’s no wonder B2B marketers continue to shift their approach to targeted account-based strategies. With “leads” and “MQLs” becoming less important revenue teams are turning to a number of metrics and KPIs to determine their success (or failure). Of course, any of these KPIs below are probably at the top of your list currently:
- Revenue won or influenced
- Deals won or influenced
- Opportunities created or influenced
- Pipeline created or influenced
However, these numbers might all register zero without engagement. Sit back and think about how top targets are currently engaging with your brand. Is the entire buying committee familiar with your logo, or are there only a few stakeholders on your team’s radar because they’re the only ones who have submitted a form? Engagement is the “proof-of-life” metric account-based teams look to when they determine which accounts to work, how to improve their strategy, or if their strategy is even working at all. How do you define “engagement,” though? Do you measure engagement at all? A few examples of possible engagement are:
- A click on an ad
- Attending a field marketing event hosted by your team in their area
- Opening a box of swag on their desk sent by your team
- Heck, a ‘read/open’ on an email might even count as engagement to you.
Whatever it may be for your team, we can all at least agree that the more targeted accounts interact with your brand, people, or content, the better. But it’s not always that easy. Marketers are constantly trying to break through all the noise out there today. And it’s not always successful, as audience attention is like gold for revenue teams today. That’s why teams are connecting their ABM tech stack to a new channel for engagement.
The Engine Of Every Business: Employee Email
“Employee email” (the millions of emails you and your employees send out of Gmail or Outlook every year) is the lifeblood of your company. 86% of people prefer to have business communications over email and we spend 6.3 hours a day in our inboxes. If you really think about it, it can be considered your most important sales and marketing channel. And to be clear, I’m not talking about traditional email marketing. Marketing through your employees and their email accounts is vastly different and more effective than blasting emails out of your marketing automation platform (PS – I love debating this topic if you ever want to @ me on twitter).
The fact is, email is the workhorse of digital marketing. The number of emails sent and received per day amount to 246 billion, according to The Radicati Group Email Statistics Report. This is more than total daily ad impressions from Google, Snapchat views, and even Facebook visits.
Marketing 101 tells us to meet our audience where they are. We all live in our email (again: 6.3 hours a day on average)! For many, checking their email is the last thing they do before bed and the first thing they do when after waking up. Sounds like the perfect opportunity for engagement with your top accounts, right?
Targeted Advertising in Employee Email
Located just beneath the email signature is white space primed and ready for advertising banners that can target your top ABM accounts. Unlike other ad channels, email ads don’t compete with other videos, graphics, and headlines and actually get noticed right away. Heatmaps, like the one below, confirm that email recipients pay attention to and engage with banners located in this area of emails.
Need a good case study for driving engagement? Look no further than Snowflake Computing and their award-winning ABM program. They actually couldn’t be any better at it, as they’re currently driving 100% engagement with their target accounts. They achieve it through smart and efficient advertising, using just Terminus, LinkedIn, and Sigstr to deliver 1:1 personalized ads to their audience on the web, social, and in their employee emails respectively.
“Our goal with our ABM program is to create unintrusive touch points,” explains Daniel Day, Director of ABM at Snowflake. “Combined with other tactics like Terminus and LinkedIn ads, employee email fits in seamlessly. We can ensure each email has a targeted banner that aligns with our ABM strategy.”
“We can use email advertising to pique an account’s interest, and then lead that account down a path with Uberflip that gets the company that much closer to making a purchase,” explains Hermi Ruiz, ABM Specialist for Snowflake. “We are effectively using employee email as a new ABM channel to jumpstart a content journey.”
In addition to advertising, the Snowflake team also uses this channel for measurement. By analyzing the email and calendar patterns of their employees, they’re able to measure how their relationships are growing with top ABM targets (also known as late-stage buyer intent). This allows their Sales and Marketing teams to work together to build, track, and perfect their account-based engagement strategy.
It’s important to consider all channels when thinking about your ABM engagement strategy. It’s especially important to consider the channel where your audience is spending the majority of their work day, like employee email.
Don’t stop there though – these channels only perform as well as you make them. Creating personalized content is crucial to driving engagement these days. Marketers must deliver tailored messages that show how they understand their buyer and can help them specifically. This is the key to driving meaningful engagement and it’s the foundation for accelerating buying decisions and winning more customers.
About the author: Justin Keller, VP of Marketing, Sigstr
Justin is a bold, data-driven marketer with 13+ years of leadership experience in digital media and B2B marketing. As VP of Marketing at Sigstr, Justin leads all areas of marketing, including brand, demand generation, and overall strategy. An industry influencer and expert B2B marketer, Justin speaks regularly across the country about the power of personalization, relationship development, Account Based Marketing, and content marketing strategy.