I’ve spent the past few weeks discussing account-based marketing (ABM), a powerful but under-implemented strategy. My first post covers the history of account-based marketing, from the “Mad Men” days of the 1950s to today. My second post reviews the reasons B2B firms should implement account-based marketing.
Of course, understanding why you should implement account-based marketing and actually doing it are two different things. Knowing how to implement the right technology stack is essential to unlocking the true power of ABM. For the final post in this series, I’ll go over the best resources for setting up account-based marketing.
What’s ABM, again?
Let’s quickly review the definition of ABM:
- Account-based marketing focuses marketing and sales resources on a defined set of targeted accounts, where personalized campaigns are tailored to each account.
Now that we understand what account-based marketing is, the next step is incorporating the right technology. Many times firms adopt technology without understanding its real purpose, sometimes without any real marketing strategy. Before you fall into the same trap, you need to take a hard look at the health of your Marketing and Sales departments.
Understanding Your Experience with Technology and Training
Every marketing firm is different. From client experience to employee expertise, your firm is going to have unique resources and know-how. While this might include SaaS, you have to be willing to admit when you aren’t ready for new tech.
Is your staff experienced enough with SaaS solutions to adapt to new systems and processes? Do they have good habits in place with existing SaaS solutions, like LinkedIn Business? Have you introduced new systems in the past?
After answering these questions, you’ll be able to realistically determine what you’ll need for ABM. Asking yourself the hard questions will help you determine the right resources and training for your team’s success.
Make Sure Marketing and Sales Speak the Same Language
No matter the firm, Marketing and Sales should be on the same page. Marketing and sales alignment is necessary for marketing to ensure their campaigns align with the needs of prospects identified by sales, and for sales to make sure they’re selling the right stuff to the right contacts. Both departments need to have the same success metrics, otherwise efforts from one could be counter-productive for the other.
Implementing a technology stack makes this relationship more important than ever. Solutions are built to streamline processes such as updating lead and contact information and streamlining campaigns, so the more you have your ducks in a row, the better. (And let’s not forget the cost of purchasing new SaaS.) As with any investment, you need to make sure you’re getting the most value you can.
Understand the Purpose of Your Technology Stack
It’s not uncommon for many companies, big and small, to jump on new technology. The enthusiasm is great—the fallout, not so much. Many Marketing departments don’t have a clear purpose or strategy for incorporating their chosen technology into their existing sales and marketing pipeline.
Before adding a tool to your technology stack, ask yourself what value it will add to your sales and marketing efforts. Do you want to use ABM because of its laser focus on lead generation and management? Are you looking for automations tools to help with campaigns? Many account-based marketing solution companies offer more than one product. Knowing what you need will help you and your potential provider find your ideal solution.
Identify Tools to Help Achieve Your Strategy
Finally, we’ve arrived at the most important question: What should you look for in an ABM solution? Some important features may include:
Any ABM solution can slice and dice data into metrics and charts. However, these insights are useless if you can’t create actionable plans from them. Solid account-based marketing programs will provide straightforward metrics that you can readily understand and use effectively. Ideally, the system will also offer flexibility for you to create customized drill-down reports as you become familiar with your particular needs.
Lead and Contact Data Automation
The very objective of having an ABM stack is to reduce time-consuming tasks so you can focus on engaging your targeted segment. Good ABM solutions will help manage contact and lead information, such as automatically updating contact information or mapping new contacts into the appropriate accounts.
Reliable Support and Services
Just as your firm focuses on marketing and tailoring your services to your customers, your ABM provider should offer reliable real-time support. While this includes a traditional help desk, some firms go so far as to provide consultant services and host educational events.
Integration with Existing Solutions
We’ve already mentioned that account-based marketing requires constant communication with sales. ABM tools that integrate with existing solutions like Salesforce and marketing automation solutions like Marketo will keep your teams running smoothly.
ABM Technology to Add to Your Stack
Now that you understand what to look for in an account-based marketing system, I’m sure you’re wondering where to even begin looking for the solution that’s best for you. Fortunately, there aren’t too many out there right now:
- Engagio – Though new to the ABM scene, Engagio delivers reliable automation and analytics no matter the size of your target segment. This solution connects to your existing Salesforce and Marketo accounts and your website to keep track of leads, marketing programs and site visitors. The utilization of metrics such as “engagement minutes,” allow for a more straightforward way of tracking lead interest.
- LeanData – This California-based company delivers two ABM products. Sales Accelerator focuses on lead management, including automated lead conversions and contact owner assignments. Demand Management focuses on account-based reporting and nurturing, ensuring you have the proper data to adjust campaigns and properly target leads.
- DemandBase – DemandBase offers a full suite of solutions, called the Marketing Cloud, to help teams streamline every step of the marketing process. Solutions include advertising, personalized site experiences and account-based measurements. DemandBase also provides consulting services by experts that will help create a marketing plan that’s best for you.
Before You Hit “Start”
Finally, we come to the $6 billion question: Is it time for you to implement account-based marketing? To review, here’s what’s on the table:
- The opportunity to target “whale” accounts with tailored marketing campaigns.
- The power to engage contacts and create organic referrals within accounts.
- The confidence to sell more than ever before once you’ve set up your stack and hired in the right talent.
Like I’ve said before, ABM really is a no-brainer. But you have to be prepared.
Jumping the gun and setting up an ABM stack the wrong way will just make life harder for Marketing and Sales. Take the time to review your existing solutions and align your firepower with your targets. ABM will help you get where you want to go, but you need to be facing the right direction, first.
About the Author: Alp Mimaroglu is a Marketing Luminary. He specializes in marketing automation, demand generation, analytics, and marketing technology. Alp has extensive experience with both business and consumer marketing. He’s passionate about how technology is rapidly becoming the key to success in both the corporate sales and marketing landscapes. Follow Alp on LinkedIn and Twitter.