Marketing is something that evolves every day, and we have tactics that move in and out of vogue. Some of them stick around, adapting to the tech, and others disappear completely. One of the trends that has gathered enormous traction is that of personalization, and that brings us to account-based marketing and the trends it follows.
What’s Account-Based Marketing and Why You Must Implement It in Your B2B Marketing Strategy
While the concept of account-based marketing dates back to the ‘90s, the term itself was coined by the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA) in 2004. It is a strategy that brings together marketing and sales teams and treats individual accounts as markets in their own right. Teams work together to target the most valuable accounts and turn them into customers.
A quick look at the ITSMA and ABM Leadership Alliance’s ABM Benchmark Study tells us how organizations witnessed quantifiable improvement in their operations, relationships, and revenue, and that’s where account-based marketing thrives.
ABM is the perfect example of optimized marketing resource management and gives you a defined return on investment. For obvious reasons, it can’t wipe out mass marketing as a concept. It’s not intended to. What ABM does for your B2B marketing strategy, though, is set clear and measurable sales results.
5 Groundbreaking ABM and Sales Trends of 2021
Let’s now look at some of the most important trends in the account-based marketing and sales arenas.
1. Connect With Audience through Live Chat
It’s established now that the conversion of high-value accounts into customers begs the application of account-based marketing. It sets the ball rolling, but it gets much easier with the help of certain tools. One such tool that drives even more value from ABM is live chat software.
According to Forrester, live chat can lead to a 40% increase in conversion rate and a 48% increase in revenue per chat hour. Whether it’s sales or marketing, or service and support, it is the closest thing to delivering a personalized, high-quality experience to your high-value accounts.
You can have better, stickier conversations with your target accounts, especially when you’re proactive with the website page they are on.
2. Direct Mail is Back in Vogue
It’s 2021, and direct mail (yes, both physical and electronic) is back in trend for account-based marketing strategies. Yes, there isn’t much physical mail being sent these days, and that’s mainly because of the sheer volume and time, and money required to do so. Having said that, physical mail always get opened.
It’s an asset in your armory and will help promote memorable connections with your accounts.
3. Sales Teams Drive Account Selection
ABM starts with account selection, and who better than your sales team for this venture? They have first-hand experience of the situation and what type of accounts are easiest to deal with and likely to convert.
But, there’s a clear opportunity to build on this through predictive analytics:
- Firmographic data – The industry, company size, employee count, number of locations, etc. We can find information like this through the company’s annual reports, or LinkedIn.
- Technographic data – Technologies that pair well with your offerings. This is crucial if you’re a SaaS company because you’ll want to know what technologies your top accounts are eyeing.
- Intent data – Indications that the company is interested in a certain domain. This is determined by the content consumption and buying habits of the decision-makers within the company.
- Engagement data – Account’s sales history, engagement by persona, with sales and marketing activities, etc. This data can be sourced from your CRM, LinkedIn, Web analytics, among other sources.
As the technology matures and we have more solid data at our disposal, 56% of companies say they actively target 99 or fewer ABM accounts, compared to 47% who said that back in 2018.
4. Align Content Strategy with Digital Media
With marketing activity inching online, there’s an increased occurrence of audience cannibalization. ABM teams are targeting accounts the same as demand generation teams, which substantially raises costs per lead.
To avoid duplicative efforts, organizations must design a central content strategy and align it with digital media across all marketing channels. This will not only save you massively on costs but will also fetch you high-quality leads.
5. Tech Stack Matters
Technology can’t ever replace a good ABM strategy but goes a long way in creating it and later enhancing it.
Your tech stack will depend on a lot of factors, including the size of your target audience, the client value, and the in-house skillset of your organization. Having said that, the technology must promote and fill the gaps in between account selection, engagement, orchestration, and sales. You score brownie points for the solutions that are modular and scalable.
Keeping aside the buzzwords, account-based marketing is the result of a rather simple and intrinsic evolution for B2B marketing. While these trends are motivated by the general opinion, they’re driven by data — high impact, usable data. Hence, asking the right questions, deepening your account insight, enhancing personalization, and aligning the goals within your organization will lead to a successful year in ABM for you.