Clément Hurstel
VP Demand Strategy
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Account Based Marketing (ABM) is an individualized marketing approach by client/prospect account. Why are these approaches so important today? How can you set one up and what new benefits do they provide?

ABM is important for the following reason. Your Marketing Automation platform and CRM were designed to gather declarative and behavioral data on visitors within your digital ecosystem and to trigger pre-programed actions depending on their behavior. Despite this, certain purchase signals are still difficult to detect.

What escapes your Marketing Automation platform and why

1. The B2B purchase process is based on group dynamics

B2B buying processes are often conducted by different people who each trigger their own actions. The problem is that the Marketing Automation programs have difficulty detecting the different group dynamics because these systems usually consider each visitor as an independent agent acting separately.
The reality is that your contacts do not behave like isolated agents to find answers to their questions and progress in their decision-making path, but rather as entities with complex, coordinated and complementary behavior.

To illustrate, imagine that 10 people from the same company consult your Web site and that four of them download different types of content on the same subject. Since your Marketing Automation program considers this activity as coming from independent agents, there is every chance that none of these 10 individuals will score high enough to earn the status of MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead). But when we observe these facts as a whole, in terms of the account, if we consider that these 10 people are from the same company and act together as a buying entity, we get a very different picture. In this case, each activity reveals a highly qualified, probable purchase signal.

This also means that group dynamics are at work in which each agent plays a particular role. We can easily deduce that these people work together to document a purchase need, formalize a decision, and select the best options. The key accounts for you or “big buys”, as well as bids therefore involve the orchestration of group dynamics. They involve “pack” behavior that is not always easy to detect.

@@The B2B purchase is based on group dynamics. We must avoid amplifying its complexity.@@

2. Buyers looking for objectivity act partially outside of your digital ecosystem

Marketing is increasingly focused on the production and distribution of content that tries to anticipate the buyer’s questions and needs. But, far upstream on the decision-making path, many buyers look for independent opinions, outside sources that will reassure them.

Marketing Automation platforms are only able to detect purchase signals in a controlled, identified environment, in other words, a place where a developer is able to place a cookie. For this reason, many purchases involving paths taken as a pack are hard to detect because they often begin outside of the marketing ecosystem (outside sources) and, as already mentioned, each individual agent in the pack does not show behavior that is significant enough.

@@Purchases as a ‘pack’ are still difficult to identify with conventional Marketing Automation systems. ABM is indispensable@@

Account Based Marketing to complete your sales strategies

These realities justify an Account Based Marketing (ABM) approach: a global "Land & Expand" strategy within an account on which Sales and Marketing have agreed. To successfully conduct these approaches, marketers and salespeople must alter and complete their practices.

1/ Adapt your Lead Scoring system

Prepare your Marketing Automation programs to trigger the right actions or the right alerts not by data related to individual behavior but by data belonging to the same account. To achieve this, adopt a Lead Scoring strategy that puts the account directly at its core instead of the individual.

2/ Identify and choose precise targets

Accelerate cooperation with your sales department to identify your prospects by name. This means more than just managing the leads qualified by Marketing in addition to their own sales activities, it also means committing Marketing’s resources, competencies and abilities at the level of the account whose potential and fit is strongest with your solutions.

3/ Gather data

Begin by identifying the players in the decision: who will be the key contacts in each account? Who do they report to? Who will they need to convince in terms of hierarchy, in functional terms? How can you ideally help them? This data is extremely strategic and probably not available in your information system. Perhaps you should take an educational approach with your sales staff to sensitize them to this? Or launch a study of your clientele to gather this data? Once you have taken these steps, be absolutely uncompromising with the data gathering, in particular concerning the rigor that Sales must apply when recording it in your CRM!

4/ Personalize your content

The design and distribution of content should be specifically developed and adapted to market segments, Buyer Personas, the strategic issues you are addressing, and to the different phases of the buying path. Since Marketing can only customize content to some extent, it is essential to complete this task in close collaboration with your salespeople and in-house experts.

Account Based marketing :
What’s up doc ?

We must recognize the Anglo-Saxon ability to create concepts by recycling old ideas… and making them new again.

The year 2016 will be (among others) the year of ABM. This approach is based on the necessity of building one-to-one sales approaches… nothing really new up to here. The innovation is that it places Marketing’s competencies, resources and methodologies upstream of this approach and of Sales. Clearly, the ability of organizations to build a common culture between Sales and Marketing is the source of many great successes, so…

@@Stop counting the companies you engage. Engage the ones that count. #ABM #Demandgeneration@@

Happy Marketing !