For B2B marketers, executing an effective account-based marketing strategy has historically been an uphill battle fraught with roadblocks.
I’m a Senior Enterprise Account Executive and I have had to manually research and identify high-value target accounts from scratch, create account maps and then prospect like mad. It can feel like driving blindfolded without a starting direction.
But, the rapid emergence of artificial intelligence and machine learning has provided B2B marketers with a vital strategic compass to navigate the complexities of account-based marketing.
In this article, I will explore how AI can help drive transformational improvements in 3 key areas of ABM Strategies.
The starting point for successful account-based marketing is identifying and efficiently targeting high-value accounts that closely align with your ideal customer profile (ICP).
But historically, determining the accounts with the greatest revenue potential relied heavily on manual research efforts and guesswork. Hidden gems slip through the cracks – I know this from experience!
According to a study by Harvard Business Review, companies leveraging AI for prospecting see a 50% increase in leads and appointments booked. Salesforce also found that 21% of a B2B Sales Rep’s time is used doing lead research and prospecting activities. These are expensive resources that aren’t actively selling a fifth of the time!
This is where AI has the real upper hand over us humans doing slow (and dare I say tedious), desk research. Here’s how:
- AI for Target Identification and Engagement: Sophisticated AI algorithms can sift through vast amounts of data to pinpoint the right targets and uncover hidden prospects. No more guesswork. No more contact and email finding on a whim. just focused efforts on promising prospects.
- AI for Analyzing Customer Behaviour and Intent: Beyond mere identification, AI can analyze behavioral signals and buying intent of potential clients. It allows marketing teams to prioritize leads that are more likely to convert, aligning efforts with opportunities that have real potential.
- The Future of Smarter Prospecting: The advancement of AI in the field of marketing goes beyond mere target identification and analysis. Think about tools that can anticipate market movements, understand customer needs, and strategically align with your company’s goals. This is what’s starting to emerge.
The future promises intelligent, efficient, and targeted prospecting like never before. Teams that embrace these AI-powered tools position themselves at the forefront of a transformative wave in marketing.
By cutting through the noise and connecting directly with the most promising leads, businesses can drive more significant growth, enhance productivity, and revolutionize their approach to prospecting.
Once prime target accounts are identified, the next imperative is engaging these accounts across channels with messaging and content tailored to their needs. Channels are diverse and each has its nuances and complexities.
- Social Media
- Events and Webinars
So personalizing every campaign element for every individual account has seemed an impossible dream for most B2B marketing organizations. But according to Adobe, 57% of B2B buyers expect fully or mostly personalized content when discovering a company’s product or service.
This is before they even know you!
This just shows that generic spray-and-pray tactics, simply won’t do anymore.
And that’s OK as AI is transforming the notion that personalization at scale is impossible. There are stacks of AI tools that can be integrated into your sales and marketing process to start personalizing at scale.
These tools leverage the high-quality data and existing processes available within ABM platforms. For example, AI email assistants (these save me hours every week!) and AI social media listening tools vastly reduce the time to personalize content when used correctly.
I have also used many freelancers to help me get my marketing efforts off the ground. From typists to campaign managers and I have even used the latest AI story generators to get me a narrative around how to best sell an idea or concept to a specific persona I was targeting.
These types of roles and AI tools are now readily available. The most efficient sales and marketing teams are using them to get better results and to make extra money through opportunities that weren’t available previously.
Using all the AI tools available and drafting in specialist AI contractors where needed means that organizations can now elevate their ABM efforts to deliver targeted and personalized campaigns, at scale.
Organizations doing this, right now, are the ones that will be winning in the years to come.
OK, let’s be real as I have been here and I’m still living it at times – outdated CRM records and basic intent data just don’t cut it for optimizing modern ABM. Fact.
To stay ahead, you need real-time access to robust data streams informing your strategy’s next move. This is now becoming the backbone of ABM strategies for many companies. If you are still tasking your BDRs, AEs, and even Sales Managers to analyze data to pick the target accounts you will base your whole GTM strategy, you need to think again.
Next-level AI and machine learning platforms now unlock way richer insights to power your targeting and engagement.
We’re talking advanced stuff like predictive models identifying accounts on the verge of big purchases, persona-specific analytics revealing exactly how key contacts want to be messaged, and multi-channel engagement data tracking what content they’re eating up.
This is like giving your ABM strategy a supercharged boost whilst making your sales reps love you (even?) more! No more scraping by on incomplete or stale CRM table scraps.
With AI-powered data at your fingertips, you gain a crystal clear view of your best accounts and how to captivate them. Automating manual grunt work is the icing on the data cake. AI can easily capture every account and contact interaction happening across all your channels without hassle.
No more begging sales reps to log details or spending hours organizing new data. Yep, they will love you even more for that one, trust me!
But in all seriousness, this complete context enrichment means your historical data finally provides maximum value. You will be able to instantly see what messaging and offers work to move accounts along their journeys.
This is invaluable to maximize engagement and conversions.
The Path Forward: Adopting AI for Smarter ABM
By fully embracing AI for smarter prospecting, hyper-personalization, and continual optimization, account-based marketing can evolve from a hit-or-miss aspirational strategy to a data-driven powerhouse for predictable pipeline and revenue growth.
While some marketing teams continue attempts to make traditional tools and manual efforts work, this leaves them vulnerable to competitors who are fully capitalizing on AI’s potential. To avoid being left behind, the quick adoption of AI-enabled sales technologies is now a competitive necessity for B2B marketers seeking ABM excellence.
Benefits of AI-Powered Account-Based Marketing
With an AI-powered compass to guide their efforts, leading marketers are now able to:
- Precisely identify high-value target accounts
- Build rich, data-driven account profiles and buyer personas
- Create consistently tailored messaging and content at scale
- Continuously track performance and optimize campaigns
- Work collaboratively with sales teams on shared data and insights
Forward-thinking marketing teams should be actively exploring how to integrate AI into their sales and marketing workflows. In time, this will transform their results and engage their target audience far more effectively than traditional methods.
AI now delivers the capabilities required for B2B marketing teams to execute highly relevant, efficient, and tailored account engagement at scale. AI overcomes the roadblocks of limited data, lack of insights, and manual processes that have traditionally hampered account-based marketing success.
Forward-thinking B2B marketing organizations should be actively piloting or implementing AI technologies to transform their ABM impact and results. This will allow marketers to understand and engage their target audience in a much more effective way powered by data quality and insights.
The future of smarter, more measurable marketing enabled by artificial intelligence and automation has now arrived. How far along the AI journey are you?
Guest Post by Sean Mackay
With over a decade in business, SaaS, and sales, Sean saw a gap in the content marketing world and now runs a digital marketing agency. He guides SaaS teams in crafting customer-centric content strategies and delivers turnkey solutions that increase conversions, not just page views.