Account-based Marketing is the Standard for B2B Marketing
Account-based Marketing is a strategy that is increasingly followed amongst marketing teams for B2B marketing. This approach involves the identification of target companies (specifically accounts) in which to direct highly personalized communication. The goal is to attract and involve the right key people and decision makers from the company.
Thanks to ABM, it’s possible to align activities of the marketing, sales and service teams in order to build a shared strategy and unique vision for the customer or prospect, beginning from the first interaction.
What is Account-based Marketing
Also known as Key Account Marketing, this strategy responds to a widespread problem in B2B companies where the relationship between marketing, sales and service departments is often overlooked (Discover the Marketer’s new cross-functional role).
This approach involves:
- Audience targeting based on a single company or a specific cluster of companies that share the same needs and / or are in the same phase of the purchase process. Within these, specific roles and individuals – managers and decision makers – to whom to direct communication are identified.
- The creation and dissemination of highly personalized campaigns and targeted messages for the identified target.
- Measurement and tracking of target involvement with the aim of optimizing interaction with the company and guiding the account towards purchasing and loyalty.
Account-based Marketing not only targets new names, but also existing customers, acting on untapped opportunities in a company with the aim of maximizing their involvement and therefore initiating cross-sell and up-sell processes.
It’s precisely for this reason that ABM is often associated with a “land and expand” tactic: campaigns optimized to attract new customers and targeted actions on existing customers.
Why does Account-based Marketing work?
As a direct consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, 65% of the marketing offices had to reduce the available budgets (Gartner, March 2020), directing their efforts on campaigns that had a high return on investment. And it is precisely the adoption of account-centric strategies that companies can optimize their efforts and focus on a limited number of prospects with high potential, thus obtaining a higher return on investment. In 71% of the cases, in fact, the ROI of ABM programs is higher than that recorded in traditional marketing methods (ITSMA 2019 *).
In other words, rather than relying on generic campaigns that aim to attract an entire market, ABM treats individual accounts as separate markets.
Account-based Marketing vs Inbound Marketing
The main difference between Account-based and Inbound marketing is that instead of planning large-scale campaigns that aim to attract more prospects, ABM focuses on those who are more likely to buy. Another key element that differentiates the two approaches concerns the attention given to Lead Generation, which is the main objective of Inbound Marketing, but also to the loyalty of existing customers, exploring every possibility of expanding their business.
Although the two strategies appear different, they are complementary and their integration creates greater value for the company. In fact, the ultimate goal is the same: to get the message to people who have a specific need. Therefore, Inbound Marketing offers different content according to the level of audience awareness and positions the company on search engines and on social media; the ABM works on the refinement of the target and optimizes the campaigns in a targeted way.
Which are the technology solutions that support Account-based Marketing
Aligning the marketing and sales teams doesn’t happen overnight! It is a strategy that needs to be massaged daily and it’s time consuming. Cloud software is a great help in this process because it provides an account-centric approach, the automation of many activities and access to the same metrics on the target.
Technology Solutions that best support ABM programs are Email, Website, CRM and Social Media (ITSMA, 2019*).
Tools that make extensive use of data, customizations and automations to attract and engage contacts, measure the progress and engagement of leads and consequently optimize interaction.
CRM platforms such as Salesforce Customer 360, which combines artificial intelligence solutions, marketing automation, content marketing and predictive analytics, allow you to manage the entire customer journey of target accounts in a unified way.
Among the most valuable tools for Account-based Marketing strategies:
Pardot Marketing Automation
The Pardot platform allows you to create specific and consistent messages through the most suitable channels and at the correct moment of the purchase process.
Here are some of the most useful features for ABM:
- Pardot Business Unit: designed for companies with multiple business segments, different brands and geographic areas of competence. This feature allows you to manage the automation processes for each BU separately, maintaining a unique and global vision for the whole company.
- B2B Marketing Analytics Plus: to better understand, through Artificial Intelligence (AI), the performance of past campaigns and receive suggestions for future ones. Thanks to the numerous connectors, it is possible to integrate data from external systems such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google Ads and harmonize them with the rest of the communication and promotion activities.
- Engagement History Dashboard: for the sharing of prospect and customer interactions with the company with sales and service.
- Sales Engage: allows sales to launch mini campaigns, using content packages pre-approved by marketing for both one-to-one and multiple leads. The system also makes dashboards available to monitor the progress and results of these mini campaigns.
Einstein Predictive Lead Scoring
Einstein is a score generated by Machine Learning algorithms that indicates which leads are most likely to convert into opportunities. Predictive Lead Scoring is a native feature available in the Salesforce Sales Cloud Einstein. The tool is based on the association of common historical factors that affected the conversion process. Einstein of Salesforce then uses several predictive models (e.g. Logistic Regression, Random Forests, and Naive Bayes) to analyze all standard and customized fields within the Lead object in CRM.
Salesforce Advertising Studio
Advertising Studio is an extension of Pardot and the marketing team can synchronize messages created specifically for the target with the most important advertising channels for B2B: LinkedIn, Google, Facebook and Instagram.
The integration of the two solutions increases the range of action of marketing campaigns. By coordinating email marketing automation and digital advertising programs it is possible to find new prospects, launch retargeting campaigns and increase user engagement.
Salesforce Social Studio
This tool allows you to automate and manage the relationship with the customer in a structured way on the company’s social channels. Thanks to its integration with CRM, marketing and service have at their disposal the entire history of interactions with the user and can decide from time to time at what level to manage the relationship. As shown in our Digital Marketing Demo, Salesforce Social Studio allows you to assign the management of any problematic cases to your customer service colleagues with just one click.
It is a feature that responds to a concrete need of companies. As can be seen from the State of Marketing of Salesforce 2020**, in fact, 64% of the CMOs interviewed foresee the suspension of promotional activities for customers who have an open assistance ticket.
Want to learn more about Account-based Marketing for your company? Request a personalized Demo from one of our certified Salesforce consultants!
* Third Annual ABM Benchmark Study: Moving to ABM Maturity, 2019, ITSMA
** State Of Marketing Sesta Edizione, 2020, Salesforce