Hard Truths and Helpful Tips About Account-Based Marketing (Part 1)

June 10, 2022 | 372 views

Hard Truths and Helpful Tips
Are you thinking about ditching your revenue team’s creaky, ineffective sales approach and embracing ABM … but aren’t sure of what you need to know? You’ve found the right blog post.

Today, we’re providing some mind-blowing highlights from a recent webinar hosted by Kerry Cunningham, our Senior Principal of Product Marketing.

The webinar unpacked what matters most for launching an effective ABM program and offers actionable tips for sales and marketing teams. It’s well worth a watch. But if you’re short on time, here are some insights. Kerry started the webinar by sharing some hard truths about the state of selling:

Hard Truth #1: If They’re a Lead, You May Be Too Late

B2B sales used to be all about leads. Even now, many revenue teams lean heavily into the lead-based mindset. But the emergence of Account-Based Marketing brought many revelations to revenue teams, including that account opportunities are far more important than individual leads.

When you turn your (obsessive) attention from solo buyers and instead examine the full spectrum of interest or intent that an entire organization is expressing in your solution, you’re able to dramatically increase the quantity and quality of your sales intelligence.

Without this analysis, your team won’t be aware that buyers are conducting so much research on their own that by the time your team determines that they’re an early-stage “lead,” they may in fact be much farther down the buyer’s journey than expected.

Your team plays catchup after that, putting them at a competitive advantage.

Hard Truth #2: B2B Buyers Aren’t Even ‘Buyers’ Anymore

These days, buyers are no longer individuals, but rather teams of people. On average, buying teams often include 10 people, Kerry explained.

“Not everybody involved in the buying process is going to be sitting at the table at the end of that last meeting when they sign the deal,” Kerry said, “but all of those folks are doing some research.”

How big are these teams? From the webinar’s transcript:

Kerry: “For bigger deals, there may be as many as 20 or more people involved. And again, all of those folks are having interactions. In fact, Forrester Research did a study recently that showed that on average, post-pandemic, buyers are having 27 interactions each. So when you have 10 people or 20 people, and they’re having 20-something interactions each, that adds up.”

But there’s an upside to all this activity, Kerry said. As buyers conduct research, they leave behind digital “breadcrumb trails” or “footprints in the snow” across the internet.

Sellers armed with leading account engagement technologies can track, aggregate and de-anonymize these intent signals. ABM tools help them better understand the buyers’ research and buying processes.

Hard Truth #3: You Might Deal with Multiple Buying Teams

Depending on the scope of your solution’s capabilities, your sellers may contend with more than one buying team.

Here’s an example: Let’s say a company is looking for a solution to handle the needs of many departments or divisions. Each division may task its own buyer or buying team to conduct its own research to find solutions that effectively solves its own business problems.

If your solution can serve the needs of multiple divisions, your revenue team is in a good position, especially if your team can proactively identify the divisions’ unique needs. (Account engagement platforms do a great job of this.)

However, don’t assume that your solution can be everything to every division, Kerry warned.

Kerry: “If you sell multiple solutions — say you’re a big tech company and you have three, four, five solutions — you may be selling to multiple buying centers. But those buying centers may not all be great prospects for your solution. So take into account the fact that some of the buying centers inside those specific accounts may or may not be good prospects for you.”

Hard Truth #4: Buyers Think They Know Everything About Your Solution (But Actually Don’t)

Many buyers believe they can get all the information they need about your solution (and your competitors) exclusively through online research, Kerry said. This is super-convenient for buyers, but sellers can’t fully control the narrative. That leads to big problems.

Kerry: “Not all the information that they get is going to be accurate. It certainly may not be how you’d like to present yourself. So one of the things that’s really important is you have to understand how your buyers are finding out about you.”

This requires identifying other likely sources of information — such as content from competitors or unreliable analysts — and proactively engaging buyers with data and talking points that counter this misinformation.

Conclusion

Pivoting to an account-based approach isn’t always easy, especially for revenue teams that are entrenched in a older sales approaches. But making the change to ABM can revolutionize your business, Kerry said.

“Within the first year, 6sense clients who take all of these new techniques on board are able to produce substantially better results, bigger deal sizes, better win rates, and even shorter sales cycles,” Kerry said. “This is really the way B2B ought to be done.”

We’ve covered a few hard truths in this post, but come back tomorrow for Part 2 of this series. We’ll provide some helpful and actionable ABM tips then.

Spotlight

Ace Golf Marketing

If you own or operate a golf course and would like to magnetically-attract more golfers to your course, if you would like a proven golf course marketing plan, and if you would like to rid third party discounters who decimate your tee sheet.

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Intent Marketing: Removing Guesswork Out of Marketing

Article | November 20, 2021

In 2018, Demand Gen Report’s ABM Benchmark Survey found that 25% of participating B2B companies used buyer intent data and monitoring tools. 35% of them planned on using intent data within a year. Cut to 2022, and about 99% of B2B marketers are using some form of B2B intent data in their marketing campaigns to target accounts (Source: InboxInsight). In his exclusive interview with Media 7, Gil Allouche, CEO of Metadata.io, talked about how data helps convert leads. “With access to valuable data, marketers are focused on leads that are more likely to become buyers. They can also work on targeting their messaging towards these potential buyers.” Buyer intent data helps in creating a robust foundation for your marketing efforts. Let us look at how intent marketing can help you get the sales and ROI you desire. Intent Marketing: The New Normal in B2B Intent-based marketing uses consumer data that signals purchasing intent through consumption of relevant content like blogs and infographics; product comparisons; product reviews; message boards; case studies; and news. Through this data, you can find out what your prospects are looking for, which stage of the customer journey they are in, if they are researching solutions or ready to make a purchase, and what kind of steps you can take to get in front of them. One of the most important benefits of intent marketing is that it removes the guesswork out of your marketing campaigns and ensures that you are targeting the correct prospects. This targeting can be done through either intent-based branding or intent-based marketing. Intent-based branding decodes the behavior of your target audience online while intent-based marketing harnesses data on the prospect’s buying behavior so you can tailor your marketing offerings accordingly. Consequently, your sales cycle is shortened. Power-up Your Content Strategy The biggest challenge B2B marketers like you face today is to cut through all the noise and create an impact on their prospects. Consumers have a host of content options. However, they do not want to consume unnecessary information. When the content is personalized to match their needs and goals, they are more likely to engage with it. Intent data helps you plan your content as it provides you with information on the theme, buyer personas and their behavior, buyer journey maps, content formats, copy, call to action (CTA), and keyword strategy that will best suit your prospect targeting efforts. An intent-based content strategy can deliver leads while increasing conversion rates and sales. It can give you the competitive edge you need to influence your prospects at the right time. Drive Sales and ROI Intent marketing brings in more conversions on landing pages and overall higher traffic and qualified leads to your website. It uses intent information to recruit engaged prospects for sales demos and events. It helps sales teams to effectively rank their leads and accounts so that they can focus on the right leads at the right time and not miss out on any sales opportunities. Your sales teams can execute effective nurture campaigns and create sales pitches with messaging that appeals to a target account’s buying committee. This messaging addresses the account’s pain points and requirements and accelerates the buying decision. Additionally, intent marketing helps improve customer retention rates and makes it easy for teams to identify cross-sell and upsell opportunities. It takes into consideration the existing customers’ signals to find any at-risk accounts to prevent churn and increase renewal. Data-driven Marketing Personalization Intent data makes it easy to personalize your marketing efforts and provides an accurate report of prospective signals, their needs, and interests so that you can segment and categorize them. Once this segmentation is done, you can determine what kind of content needs to be created and displayed for these accounts depending on their position in the buying cycle. With this kind of personalization, your target audience gets to know that you care about them and you can connect with them on a deeper level. Increase ABM Efficiency B2B buyer intent data helps your marketing, sales, and customer success teams align their goals so that they can agree on target accounts, establish lead hand-off processes, and diversify investments to target newer, relevant accounts while maintaining the current customer list. Intent data provides marketing intelligence for creating ICP in marketing, messaging, and brand positions for B2B account-based marketing. Additionally, it provides account intelligence for target account list creation, ways to increase engagement, improve lead scoring in ABM and lead nurturing tracks, thus increasing the efficiency of your account-based marketing. Summing It Up Intent-based marketing helps B2B marketers like you to understand potential customers so you can find high-value accounts and nurture them through customized content and targeted campaigns.

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Account Selection: How To Win Before You Start

Article | July 14, 2021

The first step in any account based go-to-market program is to create a target account list. Whether based on a formal Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) or not, the target account list represents an organization’s definition of the best accounts and those most likely to become customers. But in reality, marketers really only communicate with a subset of the account list at any one time, and even struggle to cover the full list over the course of a year.

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5 Steps for Succeeding in Account-Based Marketing

Article | July 13, 2022

Relative to the mass-market approach of the B2C world, B2B promotion requires a much more targeted approach. The customers are fewer and more discerning but commensurably more valuable and enduring so whether you’re trying to win over a new client or simply keep an existing client on your side, you need to be very careful with what you’re putting out. This is the reasoning behind account-based marketing, otherwise known as ABM. Instead of distributing generic marketing materials, it picks out specific prospects (or sets of prospects grouped by various shared elements) and creates personalized campaigns to suit them. It can be extremely cost-effective, but it needs to be done smartly (which isn’t easy). To help you run a flourishing account-based marketing campaign, we’re going to look at five steps you should take along the way.

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How to Successfully Set Up and Measure Your Account-Based Marketing Strategy

Article | February 10, 2020

The first lesson in this article is to stop thinking differently about ABM and B2B. Sangram Vajre is spot on when he exclaims that “ABM is B2B.” There is no real difference. Whether named or unnamed, every single campaign you launch as a B2B marketer caters to personas in different accounts. Another reality about account-based marketing is that due to the nature of omnichannel marketing and the fact that every prospect does its own research, you’re going to have to process different sets of traffic no matter how much control you think you have over your funnels. With these two things in mind, let’s look at what’s common in a successful ABM strategy, and also how to segment your audience in a way that tells the story of all the steps in your user acquisition models.

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Spotlight

Ace Golf Marketing

If you own or operate a golf course and would like to magnetically-attract more golfers to your course, if you would like a proven golf course marketing plan, and if you would like to rid third party discounters who decimate your tee sheet.

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RollWorks | November 04, 2022

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