How to get the most effective results from including ABM in your marketing mix – Marketing Interactive

B2B marketing is rapidly changing thanks to the prolonged impact of the pandemic, and the acceleration of the digital transformation the world over. This in turn has fundamentally changed buying patterns for both businesses and consumers. What started out as a crisis response has now become the next normal – the big digital shift is here to stay.
The world is awash with information on how a company operates. According to Gartner, 80% of B2B purchase decisions are made before contacting a sales representative thanks to things such as reviews and easily accessible feedback from users.
The research firm also predicts that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels. A sentiment echoed in a McKinsey survey, two-thirds of buyers in 2021 opted for remote human interactions or digital self-service.
B2B sales are now resolutely omnichannel, with eCommerce, face-to-face, and remote video conference sales, all a necessary part of the buyers’ experience. But the buyers’ move to omnichannel hasn’t been a matter of simply shifting more transactions online. What B2B customers want is nuanced, and so are their views about the most effective way to reach them.
Because B2B marketers have no choice, but to embrace this new normal, account-based marketing (ABM) is an important part of this nuanced approach.
“All B2B businesses should consider including ABM in their marketing mix,” said Anol Bhattacharya, CEO of marketing consulting firm GetIT. Especially for B2B products where the revenue per sale unit is high and the sales cycle is longer, implementing a one-to-few or one-to-one ABM strategy is quintessentially important.
A few critical indicators can help B2B organisations decide whether or not ABM is right for them. One, he explained, is the timeline from lead to revenue.
“If you are in a B2B business with a short transaction time, then ABM is probably not right for you. If there’s a lead to the revenue time frame of a six-month duration as a minimum, that’s the first ABM positive indicator.”
The second is around investment value. ABMs are not an inexpensive exercise – honing an organisation’s resources and investment in the run-up to ABM is important, which you’re only going to do with a reasonable return on investment. According to Bhattacharya, deal values worth more than SG$100,000 are a good indicator.
“We know that when more significant investments are made, there are committees or buying centres. If you’ve got a buying centre of potentially three or more people, then it starts to look more account-centric.”
Bhattacharya added that overall, we are now in a new transformational era for B2B marketing. B2B organisations will move to a position of being account-centric in most cases.
In the future, marketing leaders will have to first recognise just how much buying habits and needs have changed for people, in order to provide customers with more valuable information through digital content and sales-support material.
Within this new reality, they will also have to address what customers need to complete a purchase to their satisfaction. Today’s median B2B buying group involves six to 10 decision-makers, each bringing four or five pieces of information they have gathered for themselves.
According to Gartner, virtually every B2B purchase spans four distinct “jobs” that buyers must complete to their satisfaction to complete a complex purchase: problem identification, solution exploration, requirements building, and supplier selection.
While going through the process, they have to validate their assumptions and create consensus among the individuals in the buying centre. Although the flow seems linear, in reality, 90% of all buyers reported revisiting or looping back to at least one job as part of their overall purchasing process.
How then should marketing leaders approach their ABM strategy? Who do they consider to help them, and what technology will be the most important in the future? Bhattacharya shares with us two decades of experience and insights, and what the future of ABM is for B2B marketers.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What does an ideal account-based marketing strategy embody?
Bhattacharya: Clear objectives, sales and marketing alignment, and a logical account selection process are ABM’s top three success factors.
A clear data strategy and being data-driven are also critical ingredients for ABM. We all like to think that we are data-driven. Sadly, many B2B organisations don’t organise themselves, their communications and engagement around the data they are collecting on the customer.
We also need to organise data through the funnel. We must understand how we use data to negate through the lead nurture and what we’re passing through to the sales team.
Another critical part is about alignment between sales and marketing. Generally, sales and marketing don’t collaborate in B2B organisations in many cases. They are not making the most of the opportunity to unify their actions. If we can’t get sales and marketing to work in a collaborative, regular cadence, together in an organisation, don’t even entertain starting an ABM engagement.
However, the most important of all is how the content strategy supports ABM. The basic premise of ABM is to stand out from the clutter of content proliferation. Every B2B buyer is getting bombarded with multiple e-books, and webinar invites every day. We can only stand out by stepping away from generic content and creating content specific to our target audience’s industry, geography, and pain points.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What are some of the account-based tech stack brands you should use?
Bhattacharya: Leading with strategy is the essential part. Technology can help, but not replace a strategic framework. To scale-up your ABM efforts you might invest in account-specific advertisement through solutions such as 6sense or Demandbase.
For a one-to-one, or one-to-few, ABM strategy you might require account-specific landing page creation tools such as Folloze, which can also connect to your marketing automation or CRM tools. To measure the ROI, as mentioned before, you need an integrated data strategy and toolset throughout the revenue pipeline.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What are some key considerations when looking for the right partner to help with ABM?
Bhattacharya: Look for partners with domain knowledge. Without domain knowledge, such as an idea about the product, competition or target accounts, agencies won’t be able to consult on an excellent strategic framework. Every semi-serious ABM agency has a documented process and a recommended MarTech stack.
Unlike the situation five years ago, where convincing the clients to embark on an ABM pilot project was the biggest hurdle to cross, we are now facing different types of challenges. Similar to the early stages of marketing automation – we are now drowning with mechanical formula-based ABM campaigns, and celebrating mediocrity.
True revenue-based ROI case studies are rarer than hens’ teeth. Most of the agencies are hiding behind the soft metrics of engagement, SQL, and MQL. A documented workflow is the bare minimum. Without a proper understanding of the market dynamics of the specific product and solution, it’s impossible to rise above the state of being a broker for intent-based advertising platforms.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What type of businesses should consider account-based marketing as part of their marketing mix?
Bhattacharya: All B2B businesses should consider including ABM in their marketing mix. But especially for B2B products where the revenue per sale unit is high and the sales cycle is longer, implementing a one-to-few or one-to-one ABM strategy is quintessentially important.
B2B marketing is rapidly changing, not by choice, but due to the massive change in market dynamics. The prolonged effect of the pandemic accelerated the digital transformation in most companies and fundamentally changed the buying patterns.
Thanks to an abundance of information, reviews and easily accessible feedback from users and influencers, B2B tech buyers do most of their homework and fact-finding online.
According to Gartner, 80% of a B2B purchase decision is made before contacting a sales representative. According to a McKinsey survey, two-thirds of buyers in 2021 opted for remote human interactions or digital self-service.
The phenomenon of digital as a channel not only pushed ABM to a higher level of importance, but also shifted the revenue pipeline responsibility to marketing. With the proliferation of information available to prospects, and the ever-increasing number of influencers in a purchase decision, the buyers’ journey has evolved over the past several years, especially in the past couple of years of the pandemic.
A few critical indicators help a B2B organisation decide whether or not ABM is right for them. Firstly, is the timeline from lead to revenue. If you are in a B2B business with a short transaction time, then ABM is probably not right for you.
If there’s a lead-to-revenue time frame of a six-month duration as a minimum, that’s the first ABM positive indicator. The second is around investment value. ABMs are not an inexpensive exercise; you need to start honing your resources and investment to gear up for ABM. You’re only going to do that if there’s going to be a reasonable return on that investment. Here, deal values around the $100,000-plus mark are a good indicator.
We know that when more significant investments are made, there are committees or buying centres. If you’ve got a buying centre of potentially three or more people, then it starts to look more account-centric.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What are some of the advantages of account-based marketing? How does ABM help us find white spaces for growth?
Bhattacharya: Ninety-nine per cent of marketing-generated leads in B2B never yield sales results. A 99% failure rate in any other profession would be completely unacceptable. But in B2B marketing, under the pretence of vague, largely unmeasurable words such as brand value, awareness, and goodwill – B2B marketers and agencies get away with it. Especially in a post-pandemic era when the marketing budget is getting reduced, ABM is the only way to move forward for new leads and to retain existing clients. 
There is certainly more pressure on CMOs and marketing leaders to make a more meaningful impact within their organisations on business results. CMOs have been driving companies to develop better and more effective ways of targeting, removing wasteful activities, and getting much more accurate about how they approach prospective organisations.
That’s been the strategic driver, and we’ve seen advances in technology platforms to help in this regard; ABM platforms that operate down through the spine from the top of the funnel, the middle, and the bottom of the funnel, and then data services to help B2B marketers identify who’s in the market and who’s not. We are now in a new transformational era for B2B marketing. B2B organisations will move to a position of being account-centric in most cases.
Marketing leaders must first recognise how different buying has become to provide customers with more valuable information through digital content and sales-support material. Within that new reality, they must address what customers need to complete a purchase to their satisfaction.
Today’s median B2B buying group involves six to 10 decision-makers, each bringing four or five pieces of information they have gathered for themselves. As mentioned earlier, according to Gartner, virtually every B2B purchase spans four distinct “jobs” that buyers must complete to their satisfaction to complete a complex purchase:
And while going through the process, they have to validate their assumptions and create consensus among the individuals in the buying centre. Although the flow seems linear, in reality, 90% of all buyers reported revisiting or looping back to at least one job as part of their overall purchasing process. Prospects don’t prefer between a seller and digital channels – they want to access the correct information for their job.

source

Leave a Comment

Ads Blocker Image Powered by Code Help Pro

Ads Blocker Detected!!!

Welcome to FactsPrime

Sorry, We have detected that you have activated Ad-Blocker. Please Consider supporting us by disabling your Ad Blocker, It helps us in maintaining this website. To View the content, Please disable adblocker and refresh the page.

Thank You !!!