The disruption from 2020 has forced many companies across different industries and verticals to improve their digital potential, including technology adoption. Among the industries, account-based marketing practitioners had to adapt to change in 2020 – and fast because it created a host of challenges in B2B. Industries and businesses had to find the right technologies that allow growth, as companies now have to operate in the only digital world.
But, even in the time of uncertainty, Account-Based Marketing (ABM) has gained traction. This is good news for enterprise tech vendors. Gartner estimates that expenditure on technology will rebound in 2021, with the enterprise software market predicted to surge by 7.2%. This seems to be a year of growth, improvement, and success for those organizations deploying account-based marketing as part of their B2B strategy.
In addition, one of the global data leaders, Acxiom, has experienced rapid sales growth from its technologically blended ABM program. Before considering a fully technology-based ABM strategy for 2021, it is crucial to understand how technologies fuel ABM growth.
Technologies are Fueling ABM Growth
Well, it's easy to understand and see how and why the technology-fuelled revival of ABM is taking hold. Let's see where B2B marketers are gaining profits. They are :
Driving improved deals, higher close rates, and earning more revenue
Winning strategic accounts in their industries
Getting higher ROI
Reaping benefits from additional marketing strategies
The 2019 State of ABM study by SiriusDecisions validates this trend in ABM results in:
91% of the B2B companies realizing larger deals by adopting technology in ABM.
92% seeing a higher percentage of qualified opportunities in ABM accounts than in non-ABM accounts.
More B2B marketers are moving towards tech-enabled ABM programs, where it was 62% in 2020 compared to 40% in 2018.
ABM in the overall marketing budget of companies surging rapidly.
With the rise in internet usage, which accelerated digital marketing, it was challenging to understand individual behavior. Now, marketers are empowered with account-centric targeting, measurement, and personalization across all their digital channels. Because marketers dedicate more budget to their ABM programs by upgrading technology stacks. It plays a significant role in making ABM scalable.
So, explore the critical technology trends propelling ABM today and shaping its future for marketing purposes in this blog.
How much does your tech stack matter?
The most influential tech marketing programs invest more in data, insight, and analytics. And that's because you have no hope of successfully engaging with your target accounts.
Despite the rapid acceleration of digital transformation in 2020, few organizations already have a mature tech stack. 25-39% of them used it for content syndication, sales automation, evaluation as third-party data, and reporting software.
By this, you must have understood that investing in technologies or technology that is attributing results supporting your ABM efforts is essential. But this doesn't mean the more tech you have, the more successful you will be. It's more a case of having the proper fundamentals (tech-wise) in place that deliver value.
Likewise, other tech fundamentals like intent data fully functioning (and ABM-ready) CRM are perhaps the most important tech pieces to have in place. They are listed under the top planned investments for 2021.
Here are five tech trends for ABM that will make a tangible difference in your business.
Automation Reduces Risks
To execute account-based marketing, marketers need to introduce automation to engage accounts through a handful of channels. Marketers can engage all the named accounts of the sales team and their long tail of target accounts through automation. This allows the marketing team to create demand in the accounts they're pursuing and alleviate the risk of putting all sales requirements in one place. This is possible by continuous demand generation through different channels, probably the less expensive ones (and alerting accounts from time to time to decrease the risk of missing out).
This way, your business will witness a more consistent and coordinated engagement of accounts between sales and marketing. So, ABM automation is a crucial aspect in reducing risks.
AI Introduces Personalized Customer Understanding
Businesses are witnessing the transformational impact of AI throughout the process, particularly in marketing. While marketers can easily get started with ABM by targeting a list of accounts, AI puts more power enabling them to confidently and precisely identify the accounts to pursue.
With AI, marketers can get their ideal customer profile (ICP) at a granular level. Tech-savvy marketers are using AI to analyze their historical sales and implement new strategies to achieve more in the coming years. In other words, AI helps marketers to leverage more information significantly from both internal and external sources to draw more precise models for their ideal customers.
AI is also enhancing engagement. According to The State of Engagement, 72% of marketers are expected to prioritize personalized messages and content to engage with customers. Nearly 40% of marketers plan to leverage AI and machine learning to enhance content used throughout the customer journey. So, through AI, marketers can personalize communications in a one-to-one way. This way, they can predict the content that most likely to convert readers across multiple channels.
As marketers continue to realize the potential of AI, you will see more rules-based ABM activities that AI enhances. This way, your marketers can efficiently target the proper accounts, engage accounts across channels to get insights to optimize programs.
Advanced Analytics Provide Attribution
Is your ABM strategy working? One way to find out this is by measuring its impact on the business through advanced analytics. With automated attribution reporting, marketers can find more opportunities, a longer pipeline of accounts, and higher revenue generation in the ABM context.
But why? Here are three reasons:
Marketers need to show that their partnership with sales to the target audience is working efficiently.
Advanced analytics will allow you to compare the efforts and results of one account vs. another to optimize the ABM program.
Most marketers plan multiple or blended marketing strategies. So, marketers running an ABM or practicing a blend of it, such as inbound marketing, need to know which investments are working. Advanced analytics can help them to allocate a budget for strategies being used for their business.
Therefore, it is expected to witness more touchpoints and data brought into advanced analytics becoming increasingly easier for marketers to consume in the future.
Chatbots' Demand in ABM
As per Salesforce, 69% of U.S. consumers prefer using chatbots when engaging with brands as it yields a prompt response.
A chatbot on your website can answer customers' basic questions every time. AI-powered chatbots can be used for customer support, expanding contact strategy dramatically with a controlled message. These chatbots have become so lifelike that many customers don't even know the difference. And chatbots offer the added benefit of gathering, analyzing, and providing actionable data to improve the customer experience.
How Can Marketers Harness This Potential?
As per SiriusDecisions' survey, more marketers are doubling their budgets and moving their ABM journey effortlessly. So, irrespective of where you are on your journey, you also need to make sure you always move ahead.
When it's time to include technology, be sure to select an ABM platform that supports your marketing journey now and in the future, as well. This means it should support multiple channels and marketing strategies, giving the flexibility to adapt and discover what works best for your organization.
Conclusively, look for a platform that can serve as the hub of your ABM technology stack. The ablest place to start is from a platform that will give you the ABM essentials and connect a wide range of technologies to encourage you to grow over time. This way, you can shape your future in account-based marketing in the best possible ways.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does ABM work?
Identifying which accounts (companies) you can target is the first step after creating a buyer persona. The next step is to market them using campaigns to attract potential clients. And then, measure the activities of your account-based marketing campaigns. Metrics, such as clicks, impressions, and page views, are easily measured.
Why is account-based marketing important?
ABM helps to assemble marketing efforts through multi-channels and analyses key accounts' status to drive more revenue. It also maximizes the efficiency of your B2B marketing resources and aligns sales accordingly.
How is AI used in ABM?
AI solutions in ABM can help the marketing team to make firm data-based decisions faster than before. The usage of chatbots helps to answer many common questions about marketing efforts and benefits. Also, AI tools can be used to track intent data as well.