There’s a fundamental difference between a lead-based approach and a B2B account based marketing strategy. While there’s a commonality in the goal to produce high-quality and high-value sales leads, lead generation focuses on attracting prospects and nurturing them into qualified sales opportunities.
Account based marketing is a more coordinated effort between sales and marketing to focus on specific targets with personalized messaging.
Moving from lead gen to ABM marketing can make a significant difference. 87% of companies implementing account based marketing execution strategies report a better ROI from ABM than any other marketing effort. ABM generates faster results and leads to more long-term relationships. Besides the increased lifetime customer value, ABM experts report a lift in the average annual contract value of 171%.
Moving from lead-based to ABM takes a concerted effort. Here are five tips to begin your digital transformation to improve your results.
For B2B account based marketing to generate the spectacular success you want, marketing can no longer simply generate leads and hand them off to sales. We all know the importance of alignment between marketing and sales, but the relationship must go deeper than that.
Changing from a lead-based strategy to account based marketing execution requires a review of your processes from top to bottom.
- Lead Status
- Lead Scoring
- Account Status
- Account Scoring
- MQL definition
- SQL definition
- Hand-off process
- Opportunity Stages
- Nurturing process
- Post-sale engagement
Clear definitions at every stage will help teams focus on highly qualified leads and drive them through the customer journey more efficiently.
By continuously measuring performance at each phase of the process against your defined goals, you can pursue relentless optimization — one of the keys to successful ABM solutions.
Lead generation focuses on segmenting audiences and buyer personas. ABM solutions target groups, companies, and individuals with highly personalized content. A B2B account based marketing program can personalize at scale by using data, AI, and algorithms to recommend relevant content for personalization at every stage of the customer journey.
B2B buyers are often overwhelmed by the number of marketing messages they receive daily. As such, they often ignore all of it. A deep understanding of a buyer’s needs, motivations, and interest is essential to cutting through the clutter and creating engagement.
B2B marketers should also look to the B2C blueprint for providing more personalized content. B2C companies have figured out different approaches to attract consumers and increase conversions. For example, you can buy products online and pick them up in-store or buy online and return them in-store.
B2C businesses have become much more customer-centric these days. They have created multiple ways for their customers to interact and take charge. B2C customers choose when (and how) to interact digitally, in person, or both. In each case, every touchpoint moves consumers one step closer to the sale.
Personalized recommendation engines use behavioral data, browsing history, and purchase history to create dynamic product offerings. More than a third of consumer purchases on Amazon and three-quarters of what people watch on Netflix are direct results of recommendation algorithms.
B2B marketers can — and should — apply these same strategies to business prospects. More personalized content and an omnichannel approach to marketing shifts the focus from lead gen campaigns to supporting the customer journey across all parts of the buying funnel.
While marketing has always used signals to some degree to evaluate prospects and gauge buyer intent to both qualify and nurture leads. Today, however, we have more access to rich data to make even better-informed choices.
- First-party data: Data that you control through your campaigns and digital properties
- Second-party data sources: Partner or provider’s first-party data
- Third-party data: Topic-driven sites that clear privacy, legal, and risk management teams
A constant and iterative process to monitor and measure intent signals can help provide deeper insights for content activation and adaptation to deliver hyper-relevant buying experiences.
You can learn more about signal sourcing and the system that you need for buying signal evaluation by downloading our guide: Demand and Account-Base Marketing — Planning Assumptions 2021.
Intelligent Sales Orchestration
If intelligent sales orchestration isn’t part of your vocabulary already, it should be. Going beyond B2B demand generation and personalized marketing, intelligent sales orchestration puts prospects on a journey and leads them towards established goals.
To move from a leads-based approach to an ABM platform, orchestration requires the coordination of sales and marketing activities to improve engagement and drive prospects through the customer journey.
With the Folloze B2B Marketing Platform, marketing teams initiate a closed-loop process to deliver micro-targeted campaigns at targeted accounts.
- Target: Identify opportunities, recommend actions, and launch campaigns quickly
- Activate: Rule-based campaign orchestration utilizes intelligent content matching and recommendations for the next steps
- Personalize: Auto-personalization of content, messaging, and images deliver optimal content to high-value prospects
- Insights: Measure the impact of all account engagement activities, including inbound and outbound marketing efforts, with actionable recommendations to optimize campaigns.
Positive change doesn’t happen by accident. It takes a commitment from those at the top of an organization and a consistent approach.
If active change management is not planned and executed, it becomes easy for team members to revert to old habits. Without guidance, teams tend to fall back to what they know and the way they have always done things — often without realizing they are doing it. Especially in the early stages of evolving your sales and marketing strategy, you need to be clear about your goals, consistent in your messaging, and continuously measure performance against goals.
Successful change management requires:
- A clear definition of why the change is needed
- How success will be measured moving forward
- Active listening to team members about the process
- Frequent communication to reinforce the message, assess feedback, and remind team members of the goals and reasons for the change
- Creating accountability and dealing with reluctance or resistance to change
- Measurement of process and goals
- Celebrating successes and highlighting people and process wins
Once you commit to changing to a true B2B account based marketing strategy, don’t let “old thinking” creep back into the process. If you want your B2B demand generation, lead gen, and conversions to improve, you must actively manage the change process. The longer you allow prior habits to continue, the harder it will be to move the team forward.