Taking Account Based Marketing to the Next Level

Posted on by Mike Burton

3d drawing business conceptIt may feel like B2B is experiencing an account based marketing revolution, but in many ways we’re just going back to basics.

Contacts, personas and audiences are useful conventions, but we sell to companies. High value B2B products and services are purchased by teams, which are influenced by cross-department stakeholders. Building our marketing strategies at the account level to create holistic engagement and awareness across a target organization just makes sense. Now, a large market of products and services is emerging to help marketers achieve engagement and awareness across all channels.

But how do we decide which accounts to focus on? This is important, because true account based marketing does not simply mean showing these companies ads. We’re going to create strategic content, generate leads, send emails, send snail mail, focus field marketing and sales alignment and more. Setting strategy on our targets is crucial to success.

There are three methods to use to set a target account list for your account based marketing (ABM) campaigns. Assuming that you have either a CRM and/or lead scoring in place:

  1. The simplest way is to select companies from those your sales team has entered into the CRM. It doesn’t get much more fundamental than that.
  2. Doing model scoring is a little bit more sophisticated. Essentially, you choose companies that have a higher propensity to become your customer because they have similar qualities to your current customers.
  3. The best way to choose your target accounts is to combine these two methods, with the addition of surge data. This would give you an ever-changing list of companies that not only are good candidates for your company, but that are also highly engaged in research around your products and services right now.

The third option is a complex undertaking, but well worth the effort.

Surging demand data (or intent data) lets you know which companies are consuming much more content than they normally do against specific topics. When leveraged in account based ad targeting, surging companies show 67% greater response and 200% more post click engagement when compared to a non-surging account list. When used in content syndication, targeting surging companies yield leads that are up to 400 percent more likely to engage with sales. Targeting contacts at surging companies via email nets 50%+ better response.

Leveraging surge data inside of your account based marketing strategy is based on the fact that demand for what you do already exists. You just have to find and harness it.

Dick Reed, CEO of B2B agency Just Media has seen this firsthand as an early adopter of ABM strategy and execution.

“When our clients aim to target multiple key accounts, data can help inform their investment decisions. It can also help them prioritize which accounts are most likely to engage at any given moment. That knowledge is proving to be extremely powerful and it’s helping us be more efficient with spend while delivering better results.”

Reed adds, “More importantly, data can be used to inform the marketing mix. No one likes to be bombarded by excessive communication when not in buying mode; thus we can adjust messages and media from low-level awareness campaigns for accounts not displaying intent activity, to much more intense digital, social and even direct marketing and sales outreach when an account becomes more active.”

Acquiring surge data, and then applying it across all channels is probably a longer post. Understanding what companies are in market can come purely from external signals, a mix of outside and internal data, it can be modeled by a predictive firm, it can be done in-house – there are many ways to accomplish creating an ever-changing list of highly engaged firms. Executing on it brings another slew of options based on channel, budget and strategy.

Mike Burton is Bombora’s senior vice president of data sales and co-founder.

 

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