By Brian Hansford, VP of Client Services for Heinz Marketing
B2B sales executives have followed ‘strategic selling’ strategy for several decades. I began my career as a B2B software sales rep in 1992 and used account selling principles that marketers are learning and adopting today. My mentor at that time taught me how to approach accounts holistically and to engage with multiple influencers and decision makers to help drive a sale. I am very bullish on the opportunities when both sales and marketing align behind a common strategy. Marketers now have multiple technology tools and services to help drive an ABM strategy.
Here are four powerful marketing technology categories that help drive ABM success. They are:
- CRM-Marketing Automation
- Predictive Account Intelligence
- Sales Enablement
- Marketing Performance Management and Attribution
These four categories form a pragmatic and powerful foundation for successful Account-Based Marketing. There are many other niche solutions that can plug into these components. More technology doesn’t mean it’s better and I like to focus on these four. Remember, technology is not the strategy but it enables the strategy.
The keystone of any martech stack is fully integrated CRM and Marketing Automation. The first and most critical factor for ABM success is ensuring CRM and Marketing Automation are integrated and configured for Account and Contact workflows. Focusing on lead workflows and engaging individuals as ‘leads’ is the wrong approach for ABM. Multiple contacts make up an account and multiple opportunities can exist within accounts, especially with large enterprises. ABM campaigns can use Marketing Automation to serve content to contacts with the right context, as opposed to all people receiving the same content, regardless of role or whether several work for the same company. I can guarantee that multiple contacts within accounts almost always have a role and agenda in a B2B purchase decision. More revenue can result when marketers invest in persona and account segmentation. The segmentation also helps focus the delivery of relevant content to the right people, while measuring engagement. Marketing Automation can also route contacts to accounts in CRM, helping provide a more complete account profile for sales reps to work with.
Predictive Account Intelligence
Predictive intelligence solutions are perfectly suited for supporting Account-Based Marketing. Data scientists from these vendors help customize the platforms to identify and measure accounts with the best fit and intentions. These solutions can measure hundreds of attributes to help identify target accounts, initiatives, projects, priorities, and contacts to engage with. This data can be integrated into the Marketing Automation and CRM workflows to help drive focused engagement. The more that predictive intelligence is used, the more the platform ‘learns’ about data that helps lead to new sales. A common challenge for predictive adoption is building trust and credibility with the sales team. Adoption and alignment comes from regular reviews of the data to identify what models work and what doesn’t with ABM efforts.
Sales Enablement solutions and workflows help reps engage with account contacts with the right messages at the right time. Sales Enablement helps reps become more productive with follow up, while providing consistent messaging for a wide range of account roles and purchase scenarios. Sales Enablement solutions provide the most impact and value when marketing and sales teams collaborate on the communication touchpoints for different personas at different stages within accounts. For example, C-suite executives will require messages that are unique from department managers or end users. Productivity increases and account engagement improves when a library of communications resources is available for reps to select for specific scenarios. The goal is helping sales reps engage their qualified accounts and spend more time selling.
Marketing Performance Management
Marketing Performance Management helps marketers identify the engagement over time that led to new opportunities and revenue. MPM solutions can identify the most productive channels, engagement over time, pipeline contribution and budget allocation to win accounts. The benefits for marketing execs and the C-suite are understanding where revenue is coming from, how long it takes to win, and customer acquisition costs. MPM solutions can also provide predictive revenue models based on changes to channels and changes to budget. MPM is a powerful technology tool to drive ABM success.
Account-Based Marketing may seem complex and confusing to marketers. ABM is actually an efficient way to drive revenue because of how efforts are focused on roles within accounts, as opposed to treating all individual contacts as leads, regardless of roles or companies. Marketing Automation and CRM, Predictive Account Intelligence, Sales Enablement, and Marketing Performance Management form the perfect technology stack to enable Account-Based Marketing success.
Heinz Marketing is conducting a workshop on Account-Based Marketing April 18, 19, & 20. The workshop is taught by Matt Heinz and Robert Pease. Registration and detailed information is available here. Save $100 on early bird pricing through 3/10.