In the world of account-based marketing (ABM), “orchestration” is often used as shorthand for coordinated campaign execution. Too often, though, these efforts are really solo endeavors – generated by individual teams or promoting a one-note message, however consistently replicated across marketing channels. But to thrive amidst the challenges of 2021 and beyond, companies need to aim higher – and equip themselves with the tools to achieve true orchestration, which leverages multi-dimensional complexity to deliver uniquely relevant experiences that lay the groundwork for harmonious customer relationships.
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The digital transformation of the B2B landscape has been breathtaking. As recently as 2017, 76% of B2B buyers said it was helpful to speak with a sales rep when researching new products or services. Fast-forward to the pandemic-impacted world of today, and that percentage has dropped by fully 10 percentage points, with 34% of buyers saying they prefer wholly independent, self-service online research and 59% saying they’re willing to spend $50,000 or more via fully digital and remote sales processes.
This increasing reliance on digital means that more and more companies are turning to ABM to tailor campaigns based on their customers’ needs. But so far, they’ve struggled to demonstrate one-to-one relevance at scale. More than three-quarters of B2B buyers describe their purchasing journey as very complex or difficult
That complexity stems from B2B companies underestimating what it takes to fully automate and deliver one-to-one personalization at scale. ABM marketing in 2021 demands a robust solution that can accommodate multiple dimensions of complexity:
Multi-point access across the organization
Whereas in the early days of ABM automation, marketers with specialized skillsets were responsible for collecting and acting on insights derived from digital data, multiple teams across B2B companies now interact with ABM platforms. This change is potentially positive, as it can create a “single source of truth” that helps align sales and marketing activities. Currently, just 36% of companies executing ABM programs consider their sales and marketing teams tightly aligned, according to the MRP/DemandGen Report research, and just over 4 in 10 say their sales and marketing teams agree on which accounts fit their target profiles.
Beyond this crucial alignment, opening access to ABM platforms can inform a range of activities, from reseller relationships to account-based digital advertising campaigns managed by external creative agencies. Functions such as sophisticated access controls, specialized dashboards and reporting, version tracking, and role-based customer communities help companies position their ABM platforms as central hubs for collaboration.
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Global, real-time data collection
Data is at the core of ABM, and companies must be able to accommodate a wide array of sources and formats and possess the processing power to translate that raw information into insights in real time. To gain a holistic understanding of prospect activities across channels, companies should incorporate firmographic and technographic information, online and offline intent signals, digital advertising performance, and more.
Geographic and linguistic distribution of incoming signals potentially communicate another layer of context; activity at a prospect’s company headquarters may merit more attention than clicks originating from a small satellite office. Different divisions and product lines within a corporate entity may even have different goals altogether which vendors need to address with their ABM messaging.
Processing and acting on this data at scale in a timely manner is crucial. Research shows that prospects engaging with online content remain receptive to further messaging for 20 minutes at a maximum. Platforms need the processing power and artificial intelligence to proactively alert sales and marketing teams when promising activity occurs.
Given that 70% of B2B buyers interact with at least three pieces of content prior to connecting with a salesperson, and a quarter consume 5-7 pieces of content, it’s crucial for B2B companies to dynamically personalize digital experiences to present content relevant to visitor roles and geographic locations. Length of engagement is another key factor; content for first-time website visitors should differ from material served to qualified leads deep in the consideration process.
In addition to delivering the right substance, companies must also tailor content to match users’ devices and platforms. Email, website browsing, and digital advertising should include streamlined calls-to-action appropriate to the context; ABM platforms should also integrate with offline activities such as personalized direct mail to deliver a concerted message.
As they attempt to capitalize on digital B2B growth, companies are struggling to unify discordant sales and marketing efforts. But with a comprehensive platform that leverages robust data, artificial intelligence and real-time insights, B2B companies can harness raw potential into disciplined practice, achieving true ABM orchestration and establishing profitable customer relationships.
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