Account-based Marketing is getting higher attention these days. Account-based marketing is a planned approach to marketing in which your time and resources focus on a key group of specific accounts.
You can’t arrive on any B2B online marketing journals nowadays without hearing about it. We just need to look around the internet to see that it is turning more and more personalized. As a B2B marketer, the ability to personalize, at scale, represents a great opportunity.
According to a survey, 97% of marketers say that ABM had higher ROI than any other marketing activity. So vendors, bloggers, and market research firms are fueling the revival of account-based marketing’s popularity these days.
As a B2B marketer, what you really want to learn is how to use account-based marketing effectively for lead generation. So in this blog post, we have requested some world’s top ABM experts to share their insights on “Account-based marketing tactics to follow in 2020”.
We are really glad to have these 12 experts with us who have shared their valuable insights on various marketing strategies to look-out for in 2020.
Account Based Marketing (ABM) is a bit of a misnomer as in fact, its account based sales, account based marketing, account bases customer service, etc etc. In my experience if a company calls it account based marketing there is an assumption that it’s marketing’s job. When ABM or account based everything (ABE) is a better description.
ABE is a team effort and not siloed. All parts of the business have a common language and work together to support a common strategy and aim.
ABE can be used either as a strategy by a company across all accounts or as a tactic in certain accounts. For example a company my market and sell into to a handful off accounts or go for multiple accounts but use ABE in existing customer accounts. For example, ABE is often used where a company is taking a “land and expand” approach to sales and marketing.
We always recommend that there is a set of criteria set of the type of accounts going into an ABE program. Often it is assumed that these accounts are “better” and people want their accounts added to the focus group. People need to be strict on the account focus group, otherwise there will be dilution in the ABE focus.
We highly recommend my second book “SMarketing – How to Achieve Competitive Advantage through blended sales and Marketing” there is a chapter on how to use ABE as an approach. We also define a methodology from the business to follow. This book is available on all Amazon platforms.
Tim Hughes is universally recognised as the world leading pioneer and exponents of Social Selling and he is currently ranked Number 1 by Onalytica as the most influential social selling person in the world. He is also Co-Founder and CEO of Digital Leadership Associates and co-author of the bestselling books “Social Selling – Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers” and “Smarketing – How To Achieve Competitive Advantage through blended Sales and Marketing”. Both published by Kogan Page. You can connect with him on Twitter.
I think 2020 might be the year that influencers really have an impact on ABM. It’s going to be more than just the star of your webinar, too. I can see companies identifying influencers that directly engage with or impact key accounts and partnering with them to inform or educate those targets around your industry, product, service or unique selling proposition. Influencers aren’t just duck face and peace signs on Instagram. They impact your prospects. Why not leverage them to move your target accounts closer to your funnel?
For one-to-one ABM, ITSMA’s latest research with the ABM Leadership Alliance shows the following to be the top five most effective tactics:
1. Account-specific (custom/bespoke) content and thought leadership
2. Executive-to-executive relationship programs
3. In-person events (esp. small executive and company events)
4. Direct mail
5. Paid social media
The same survey shows that one-to-few ABM top tactics are:
1. In-person events (esp. small executive and company events)
2. Email marketing/e-newsletters
3. Account-specific (custom/bespoke) content and thought leadership
4. Paid social media
5. Executive-to-executive relationship programs
And finally, for one-to-many ABM, its:
1. Email marketing/e-newsletters
2. Paid social media
3. Webinars and virtual events
4. Paid search
5. In-person events (esp. company events and trade shows/expos)
Bev Burgess is a senior vice president with ITSMA and leads its global ABM practice. For more than 25 years, ITSMA has led the way in defining, building, and inspiring B2B services marketing excellence, and was the first to codify ABM as a strategic marketing approach back in 2003. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter
One ABM strategy my team and I use regularly is sending out targeted email campaigns. We are constantly mining data about our subscribers, like actions they take within emails (for instance, clicking a link to make a purchase), as well as data collected from surveys and forms. This allows us to created highly-targeted, personalized campaigns that are much more likely to result in conversions.
This also allows us to better serve our clients and subscribers as we can send out content that
meets them exactly where they’re at. For instance, by identifying a group of subscribers who are in the final stages of the sales process, we can send out educational content targeted at the specific questions and issues they are most likely to have. Not only does this benefit us (in terms of increased sales), it benefits them by giving them the exact information they need, exactly when they need it.
Another strategy that has been hugely successful for us is using Facebook Custom Audiences. This allows us to basically be everywhere our audience is! We can target our Facebook ads to people who are on our email list, who have visited our website, or who have engaged with our content on Facebook. Each customer touch point is important to us, and using Custom Audiences ensures we’re able to build and expand on every interaction we have with our potential customers and clients.
Kim Garst is one of the world’s most retweeted people among digital marketers. She is a renowned marketing strategist, keynote speaker and an international best-selling author of Will The Real You Please Stand Up, Show Up, Be Authentic and Prosper in Social Media. Kim focuses on helping entrepreneurs grow their business using social and digital media strategies. You can connect with her on Twitter.
With 75% of world trade flowing indirectly (WTO), it is time to start thinking about your ABM approach in coordination with channels, partners, and alliances. There is a robust ecosystem of partners that already surround your buyers and you can use ABM, or in this case, partner-based marketing (PBM) approaches to recruit the right partners and align on your sales and marketing strategies.
Today’s empowered B2B customers demand a new level of specialization and sophistication from third-party firms that assist them. Choosing the wrong partners in 2020 can have dire consequences on your business: increasing costs, limiting revenue growth, and ceding new markets to competitors.
A PBM program is based on data-driven decisions that lead to better outcomes, leverages existing skills and solutions to break down organizational silos, and enables a full life-cycle approach to partner management. To be successful with PBM, channel leaders should start with a pilot program focused on a single product or market, choose a project manager with strong analytical skills, and partner with sales to reduce any fears they may have about losing control of the partner recruitment process.
Jay McBain is one of the most visible and respected thought leaders in the global channel. Named to the Top 40 Under Forty by the Business Review as well as numerous channel magazines top influencer lists, he is often sought out for industry guidance and future trends. He has spent his 25-year career in various executive channel sales, marketing, and strategy roles within IBM, Lenovo, and ChannelEyes. Jay is the principal analyst for global channels, partnerships, and alliances at Forrester – one of the most influential global research and advisory firms in the world. You can connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.
In the new year, account-based marketing trends reflect a need for creating robust data orchestration plans between marketing and sales. These plans enable the coordination and delivery of relevant and timely information for marketing and sales to engage members within the buyer’s circle in order to increase activity to drive business outcomes, wherever they are in their journey.
I am an ITSMA certified account-based marketing (ABM) and SiriusDecisions certified B2B demand generation marketing leader. I bring a fresh approach to leading teams with an open, objective and organized management style to solve problems and strategically land and expand accounts. I hold a diverse background in finance, banking and capital markets, technology, legal, retail, automotive, health, and private equity sectors. You can connect with him on Twitter.
At Allocadia, in 2020 we’re focussing on scaling our account-based marketing performance – that means enhancing the people, technology and processes that underpin our GTM plan so that we’re fully supported in hitting and surpassing pipeline and revenue goals.
The account-based tactics we’re most excited about for 2020 are:
Personalized Account-based Advertising – our goal is to get in front of our target accounts earlier in their buying journey and deliver the right messaging as they progress through the funnel. From pre-targeting based on intent signals to retargeting based on website visits, our 2020 digital advertising strategy will keep Allocadia top of mind for our customers.
Tactile Marketing – we see huge potential with tactile marketing and are scaling our approach to deliver personalized and impactful direct mail and gifts to help surprise, delight and engage our target accounts and help accelerate active and stalled sales conversions. With so much competing noise, the impact a personalized and well-timed package can make in a customers buying cycle is huge.
Personalized Nurturing – Delivering a personalized content nurture to target accounts is table stakes for marketing. At Allocadia, we leverage PathFactory to create micro-personalized content journeys that keep our customers consuming content while they’re hungry for it and on the topics that interest them the most.
To help measure the impact of our account-based marketing tactics, we’ll leverage our own software, Allocadia’s Run Marketing Platform to measure marketing ROI and demonstrate the impact of our account-based tactics in 2020. We’re excited to see the return on our efforts!
Brona O’Connor is a marketing leader with ten years experience in the professional services and technology industries. As Director of Demand Generation at Allocadia, the leading Marketing Performance Management software, Brona established Allocadia’s account-based marketing strategy and leads the team responsible for delivering timely, integrated and impactful marketing programs that drive growth. Originally from Ireland, but currently living in Vancouver, Canada, Brona spends her personal time travelling and exploring the great outdoors of B.C.
In 2020, more B2B company leaders will recognize the significant positive impact on revenue growth that aligning Sales and Marketing has. Leaders will also begin to realize that implementing an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy is a great way to start the necessary transformation to building an aligned Revenue Engine. There are a few things leaders should keep in mind when doing so.
* Include Sales early in the account selection process – Sales reps are on the front-lines and have a wealth of information about buyers and customers. During the account selection phase of a ABM campaign, Sales needs to be involved to ensure that all of the quantitative and qualitative information they have is being considered. Doing this helps ensure that the account being selected have the highest probability of converting and best ROI. It also helps get more buy-in and better engagement from sales reps when campaigns are actually launched.
* Target influencers – As influencers have more of an impact on the buying decisions of B2B leaders, it’s crucial to ensure they are also considered when developing campaign strategy.
* Share campaign results across teams – Tracking campaign results is an absolute must, but many leaders miss a critical opportunity to promote alignment and synergy across the sales and marketing teams. That opportunity is sharing the ongoing results from ABM campaigns with sales reps. With this type of information, sales reps can better understand how a campaign is impacting their ability to hit their number and also encourages them to get more engaged in a campaign despite all the other things they have on their desk to do.
Jeff Davis, author, international speaker and founder of JD2 Consulting Group, specializes in helping B2B companies strategically align their sales and marketing teams to accelerate revenue growth. Jeff pulls from his over 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, and business development at Fortune 100 organizations to early-stage startups. He has experience in a myriad of different industries including healthcare, biotech, manufacturing, industrial products, technology, aerospace and more. You can connect with him on Twitter.
What will set apart 2020 when it comes to ABM won’t be the tactics themselves, but instead how marketing tactics and sales activities get orchestrated into the journeys our customers want us to deliver. Winning marketers will do their best to become mind-readers of both their customers and their sales teams before choosing tactics. How? They’ll use technology and insights to uncover and support buyer needs in real time, pre- and post-sale. They’ll also measure the ROI on ABM relentlessly, because that measurement is key to knowing what works. In 2020, we’ll see better alignment of sales and marketing around customer needs because we have the tools to combine tactics into cohesive, adaptive journeys– finally, on the customer’s terms. While there is always room to try new things, and every marketer must be creative and evolve how they engage, it’s just as important to take stock of tactics to define the ones that truly help you win the customers you want.
Up until now, the ABM conversation has all been about tech, data, and account selection. Nobody talks very much about the asset you actually send, and how you make it really compelling. As ABM gets more popular, that needs to change. ABM is squarely in the mainstream now, and that means all your competitors are doing it too. Just sending something personalized won’t cut it, because your audience has seen that before. You need to write something that actually talks to their very specific situation, if you’re going to cut through.
B2B writer David McGuire has spent most of this century crafting content for brands like Adobe, Danfoss, Mitsubishi, and Salesforce. He’s creative director at Radix Communications, the B2B technology writing agency, and his training sessions are fast becoming B2B Marketing’s hottest ticket. He’s also the host of the UK’s national copywriting conference, and co-presents the popular podcast “Good Copy, Bad Copy”. You can connect with him on Twitter.
In the land of Account Based Sales or Marketing (ABS/ABM), an often overlooked segment to target is the existing customer base. As marketers we sometimes are tasked with pinging via email our customers to tell them of a price increase or an acquisition. This type of customer marketing model is not a long-term play when you are searching for ARR. Yes, new customer acquisition is important, but how are you treating your existing customer base? It is not – nor should it be – a “one and done” type of program. Customer Marketing is long-term and involves referrals, testimonials, success stories, positive reviews, and social sharing. Yes, as marketers do we pay enough attention to these aspects of the funnel?
Based upon several CMO conversations, I’ve noticed an increased amount of attention being paid to current customers yet it is not the Sales team that is working those accounts. Is there a way to notify Sales that an existing customer champion at a current account has left and moved to a new company? If you could follow that individual, wouldn’t that be a big win? Yes, there are databases out in the universe and yes, LinkedIn and their Sales Navigator tool does a good job yet it is not enough.
Community, collective knowledge and feedback are what customers provide to a company. Customer success can work with Sales, Marketing and Product teams to make sure that the customers’ needs are being met and exceeded. I argue that we need Customer Based Marketing as the tactic to take us forward into this decade.
As Chief Marketing Officer at Lola.com, Jeanne Hopkins leads both the company’s marketing organization, building a metrics-based powerhouse to fuel demand as well as its customer success organization, ensuring a great Lola customer experience. She was previously Executive Vice President and CMO at Ipswitch (now Progress) and has held executive marketing roles at HubSpot, Symmetricom (now Microsemi), SmartBear, MarketingSherpa and Continuum (now ConnectWise). At HubSpot, Jeanne’s leadership helped the company land on the number two spot on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies by generating 50,000 net new leads per month. Jeanne is also an accomplished writer, advisor and speaker. She co-authored “Go Mobile,” a top-selling mobile marketing book on Amazon.com. Jeanne serves on the Advisory Boards of Coffee Cup Collective and Sales Lead Management Association. She also serves as the Co-Chair of the MassTLC Sales and Marketing Group. Jeanne has won several industry awards for her achievements as a marketing leader. You can connect with her on Twitter.
The future is now for ABM tactics. It is easier than ever to orchestrate multiple channels to reach and influence stakeholders at your key accounts. Beginning with display advertising, marketers should reach key targets with brand-focused messaging as prospects browse the web. Those marketers must continue with Facebook and LinkedIn ads that incorporate lead cards to capture engaged personas. Sadly, complacent or underfunded marketers stop there. Growth-minded marketers pair account-based advertising with a content syndication campaign that’s equally targeted and in sync with their ads. For something truly novel in 2020, try integrating your events strategy with your ads and content syndication. For example, one savvy marketer recently orchestrated a campaign that automatically converted badge-scanned leads at an event into an account list to be targeted with relevant ads and content syndication. While such tactics are well-understood in isolation, pioneering marketers will strive for UNITY in 2020: the desire and ability to combine all of these tactics under one vendor. Fortunately, we’ve got an app for that! 😉
Rod is VP Product, ABM Advertising at Integrate. There, he is passionately focused on product development, marketing and sales for Integrate Advertising, an account-based marketing (ABM) solution that helps B2B marketers deliver targeted ads to specific buyer personas at their most-desired accounts. He codes in Rails and loves Excel, which he inexplicably picked up while earning his B.S. in Elec. Eng. and J.D. at Yale & Columbia, respectively. Rod loves data analysis, and friends often chuckle at his overuse of spreadsheets. Follow Rod on Twitter.
Eventually, account-based marketing is a very simple and natural evolution for B2B marketing. Whether or not you want to attach the label, for all intents and purposes every business that markets to other businesses should be adhering to a huge number of ABM’s core principles.