You’re sitting at your desk, just churning away on some work that’s been piling up over the last few weeks. You open your email. You see an email from a stranger. What is this? You click on the email. It reads:
We recently released the most comprehensive analytics report on the market. In case you haven’t had the chance to read this report yet, I am happy to provide you with complimentary access to it here.
If you are exploring opportunities to deliver differentiated digital experiences to your customers, let me know! Happy to chat and see how I can help out.
Wow, what a helpful human. You click on the link. You fill out a form. You get the report and read some of the insights. This report is pretty useful, you think.
A few days later you see an ad for another helpful guide. You click the link. You read the guide. Then you receive another email from Andy. He tells you he likes something you wrote. You reply:
Thanks for the kind words Andy. Glad it resonated with you.
Of course! Hey, do you think you have 15 minutes to chat sometime? I’d like to learn more about what your company does.
What a curious human. That seems reasonable, you think. You agree to a 15 minute call.
Great! You’ll be speaking with my colleague Jim who will take you through the platform and answer any questions you might have.
Wait, what? Who is Jim? Andy where are you going? I thought we were becoming fast friends?
But Andy is gone. He hands you off to Jim. Jim talks very fast. Jim is very persuasive. You decide Jim is a nice guy and sign up for a free trial.
Jim hands you off to Stephanie.
Who is Stephanie? Stephanie is your “partner in success.”
Top performers are upgrading their marketing
To most people, this scenario seems really bizarre. To marketers, however, this is completely normal.
The problem isn’t so much with each piece of the process, it’s with the transitions in between the pieces.
After all, good sales people are very helpful. They listen to the obstacles you face and they try to think of solutions for you. Account Managers are super helpful as well, they help troubleshoot with you and think of ways to optimize so you get the most out of their tool.
The problem is that because all these jobs are silo’d off from each other, it becomes hard for a cohesive message to come across throughout the entire buyer journey. Sure, the Account Manager can send some helpful guides along, but there’s no guarantee that they will or that they’ll send the correct materials at the correct time.
While it’s true that this process works (which is why most companies still use it to this day), it’s undeniable that it can sometimes feel very impersonal to the potential customer. Being strung along through someone’s pipeline is just as uncomfortable as it sounds.
But it’s the only way, right?
This traditional flavor of marketing, known as “demand-gen,” is just one marketing method among many. And although it’s become extremely popular in the last decade, it’s quickly fading among top-performing B2B companies.
What’s taking demand-gen’s place?
SiriusDecisions has reported 91% of marketers that use ABM have indicated a larger deal size, with 25% stating their deal size being over 50% larger.
Scaling personalized marketing the easy way
At the end of the day marketing is about relationship building. Its very hard to build a relationship when marketing only touches the top of the funnel.
Account-based marketing (ABM) isn’t a new concept. After all, the core of account-based marketing is treating each potential customer like an individual and serving them your content with a personalized touch. Who could argue with that?
The problem with ABM in the past is that it wasn’t scalable. It was impossible to treat everyone like an individual and reach out to thousands of people simultaneously. Which is why most marketers defaulted to the spray-and-pray approach that is demand-gen marketing.
But recent changes in technology have changed marketing in big ways.
With the rise in sophisticated AI (artificial intelligence) and large data systems, companies can now use platforms, such as RollWorks, to create super personalized campaigns and have the machines do the heavy lifting of scaling them up to thousands of people.
Marketing companies have spent the last decade collecting a ton of data about you, your friends, your interests, and your life. And yes, while that may seem creepy, it can also create a lot of improvements as well.
Imagine never getting another irrelevant email, phone call, or piece of junk mail.
Imagine the end of spam all together.
Using data to understand you means that marketers can tailor their offerings to only be shown to the people they know will be a good fit for their product. Rather than you searching for solutions to all of life’s problems, the solutions will just magically show up for you exactly when you need them.
We’re still a few years away from marketers being 100% accurate on this, but we’re getting there very quickly.
How to get the most out of account-based marketing
The strength of account-based marketing is its ability to stick with a prospect throughout the entire buying journey. In the traditional demand-gen example we looked at above, you (the prospect) interact with marketing only for two brief moments: when you open the first report and when you open the guide.
These two actions get logged and sent to the Sales Development Rep, Andy, who then has to push you through their sales pipeline.
This means that Marketing only initiates the sale, but then it’s up to Sales to do the rest, and in this sense marketing has a very fleeting relationship.
Account-based marketing, on the other hand, extends Marketing’s reach across the entire buyer journey. After Marketing initiates the relationship, via ads or a report, they can continue to serve content to that prospect. Here is a look at how divide up our customer stages here at RollWorks:
Here are a few ways marketing can keep helping the prospect throughout the process:
Best Practices content – Before pushing a particular product on the prospect, Marketing can use ABM to serve ads with relevant best practices content. This could include industry trend reports, mistakes to avoid, effective use-cases, or even just questions to ask a company before signing a contract.
Product content – After educating the prospect about a given field, Marketing can use ABM to serve content that teaches the prospect about the product. This could include common problems it addresses, metrics the product can improve, more specific use-cases, customer testimonials, etc.
**This is usually where traditional marketing ends. If you’re using ABM, however, you can use ABM for:
On-boarding content – On-boarding can make or break the success of your customer. According to Bain & Co., great customer success programs combined with key account management can increase profits up to 95%. Unfortunately, learning how to use your product is usually left entirely in the hands of an Account Manager. Using ABM, however, Marketing can help this crucial process by showing useful product content to the new customer as they’re learning your product.
4. Active customer
Cross-selling content – According to PostFunnel, your current customers are 50% more likely to try a new product and spend 31% more on average than the typical new customer. Marketers who are using ABM can take advantage of those numbers by targeting existing customers with products that they might not be using yet. If you’re selling into enterprise-level clients, chances are there are multiple departments that could benefit from your product. Using ABM, you can send ads to those other departments letting them know their company already uses your product (meaning all the red tape has already been cut.)
Pre-churn content – Most companies have some idea of when a customer is likely to churn or cancel their contract. Using account-based marketing you can fight churn by addressing the most common causes of churn. For instance, you can serve ads that show the customer how other customers are leveraging the platform for success. The leading cause of a customer leaving is because they feel they’re not getting the performance they should be. If you can show them how others are performing, they’re much more likely to give your product another shot.
6. Win back
Special Offers content – While it may seem like a lost cause to try to win back already churned customers, it’s actually well worth the effort. Because a churned customer has already gone through on-boarding, if you can bring them back you can save a lot of time compared to a new customer. The other benefit is that a churned customer usually spreads negative opinions to other potential customers. Winning them back with special offers may seem like it costs you in profit, but it costs a whole lot less than a bad reputation.
Take aways & next steps
Using account-based marketing means your marketing team can finally have a mature long-term relationship with the people you care about. ABM has a number of side benefits that most teams don’t even realize they’re missing.
For one, account-based marketing helps your org have stronger sales and marketing alignment. By having to build a marketing plan for the entire sales pipeline, it forces your marketing team to collaborate with your sales team. According to MarketingProfs, by aligning sales and marketing teams through ABM, companies experience 36% higher customer retention rates and 38% higher sales win rates.
An often overlooked benefit of ABM is how account-based marketing can also boost your marketing team’s morale. Allowing your marketing team to be involved in the entire customer journey can make your team feel incredibly empowered. Marketers no longer feel like they’re just throwing leads into a pipeline, but rather they can feel connected to the customer throughout the entire journey.
If you’d like to see some of these strategies in action, you can read our Big Book of ABM Campaigns that was co-written with Bizible, Datanyze, LiveRamp, and Radius. Inside you’ll find 5 ABM campaigns that each company actually ran, along with pictures and lessons learned.