There’s no question about it: The future of enterprise revenue growth now lies within the marketing department. As 2021 comes to a close, B2B marketers need to prepare for the recent shifts in the digital buying and selling landscape. The digital sales battle has begun to get ahead of the competition—and it’s the job of the marketing team to lead the way.
Why? Because B2B buying has gone digital and companies in complex sales organizations can no longer rely on product innovation, marketing leads, trade shows, and field sales to drive key account growth. Furthermore, advancements in digital marketing and analytics technology over the last few years have enabled unimagined opportunities for marketers.
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How? One of the best ways to be battle-ready in 2022 is with Account-Based Marketing (ABM). In the year ahead, B2B marketers will shift to using data to prioritize key accounts and target them with a global omnichannel marketing strategy. To lead your company growth, this means you need to adopt a whole new approach to marketing and wield the right tools to win, retain and expand key accounts globally. Here’s how forward thinking marketers are preparing to go to market in 2022…and beyond:
#1. Marketing Becomes The Customer Guide
The lead generation days are long gone—only 1% of leads are converting because most of the buying research now happens anonymously and buying groups are growing in size and complexity. Those web forms are only filled out by individuals who are already 60-90% of their way through the buyer’s journey. Precious marketing dollars have been wasted due to these ineffective, unfocused efforts.
B2B buying has changed more in the past two years than at any time in history. This is a tipping point opportunity for the marketing function. The pandemic accelerated digital marketing and sales transformation because businesses could no longer engage key accounts through traditional channels such as trade shows, events, and in-person meetings.
Customer buying journey activities that used to be led by sales are now the marketer’s job. Today’s B2B marketer needs to become the customer’s guide, leading a target account digitally through the journey from early problem awareness to problem-solving to the final solution and product purchasing stage.
#2. Become Obsessed With Key Account Signals
In 2022, marketers will shift from generating Marketing Qualified Leads to driving sales opportunities with key accounts. Using ABM platforms, you can monitor anonymous interactions from key accounts with your website and marketing assets. These signals help build an account or opportunity level intent score. Based on this score your marketing and sales teams can prioritize key accounts most likely to buy and dramatically improve sales and marketing ROI
These data-driven insights are the secret to winning the competitive battle in engaging target accounts throughout their buying journeys and driving sales opportunities through the pipeline.
As marketers become more data- and business-focused, many will find that they get the best return on their ABM investments with an account expansion strategy rather than chasing net new accounts.
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#3. Make All Channels Work Better With Omnichannel
With recent digital marketing innovations, ABM can now be activated beyond just email and display advertising. Advanced marketers are building target account audiences in their ABM platforms enabling them to target accounts in a coordinated manner across multiple marketing channels including:
- Programmatic Display Ads
- Google Ads
- Facebook Ads
- Instagram Ads
- Twitter Ads
- LinkedIn Ads
- CTV Ads
With an omnichannel strategy, your target accounts will have a unified customer experience across all these digital channels—with standardized messaging delivered on the right channel, at the right time, and helping buyers through the buyer’s journey until they’re ready to set up a meeting and buy.
With an integrated ABM platform, marketers can see all their omnichannel digital marketing engagement data at an account level. They can track ROI and see omnichannel marketing synergies. For example, how IP account targeted display advertising also drives engagement uplift for email or paid search.
#4. Replace Reliance On 3rd Party Cookies
As all three major internet browsers are poised to phase out third-party cookies by 2023, the year ahead will be a make or break for those marketers that have become reliant on 3rd party cookie audiences for account-based advertising. The future of account-based advertising will be shaped by IP-based display advertising, first-party account-based audiences, and direct integrations with walled gardens—no third-party cookies needed.
#5. Go Global
Companies operating at a global scale are turning to ABM platforms that can reach their target accounts worldwide, not just in English-speaking countries. This requires access to key account IP data optimized for international markets, 1st party cookie account segments, GDPR compliance, and local language ads.
A truly global ABM strategy means companies must identify key account buying signals and reach their target accounts without restrictions on location or language, all while staying compliant with international privacy regulations.
#6. Address ABM Skill Shortages With An MSP
The new skills required to execute omnichannel ABM may seem overwhelming. And the Great Resignation following the pandemic is making it harder for companies to hire and retain skilled digital marketers. That’s why many organizations are turning to marketing service providers (MSPs) in order to accelerate their digital transformation and see time-to-value in months. Outsourcing ABM execution enables CMOs to focus on building a smaller team of strategic marketing executives capable of driving change across the enterprise.
In this new era of digital buying, an omnichannel data-driven ABM strategy puts revenue teams back in control of key account growth ahead of the competition. In 2022 and beyond, it’s time for the marketing team to lead the charge. Let’s get started.
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