Most technology marketing teams have employed account-based marketing (ABM) to help close B2B deals. In fact, in Gartner’s 2021 survey of technology executives, 75% said they had an ABM function centralized in the marketing team. However, to get the most benefits of account based marketing program in today’s market, you might need to raise your game. According to Emissary’s survey of our buyer network, including 10,000+ executives, large tech purchases take an average of eight months and involve five or more decision makers from technical and business units. Plus, buyers are getting harder to impress.
In this challenging environment, your ABM program needs to pull more weight. Even if your approach has been working, consider that more and more revenue teams are using ABM; to stay ahead of the pack or pull in front of competitors, you need a program that engages B2B buyers sooner, uncovers more opportunities, and helps you close bigger deals. For tech companies, programs based on a thorough understanding of buyers’ needs and expectations will realize the maximum benefits of account-based marketing.
Using guidance and input from the technology buyers in our network, Emissary has selected five key areas that have the greatest impact on ABM success. We call these the “Five Cs:”
Select Companies for ABM Based on Their Potential Impact on Results
You’re using ABM to generate better results for your revenue team, but those efforts will pay off best when you focus on the most advantageous opportunities. Don’t aim your ABM efforts at targets which fit poorly with your business model or company culture. Instead, work with sales to assess each candidate’s fit to your ideal account profile. Look for companies similar to your best customers with potential for initial opportunities and long-term partnership. The sales team can contribute account intelligence which may impact your decision, such as current technology partners, contracts, and corporate culture.
If you haven’t updated the customer profile lately, take time to review it. Buying patterns have shifted in the last few years and could uncover new opportunities for you. For example, buyers in Emissary’s network indicate that companies which have been reluctant to purchase technology from third parties are considering more outside solutions. These companies may have been overlooked for your ABM program in the past but could make good candidates today.
When you have a short-list of accounts, refine them further with account intelligence from sales and other resources. The more inside information you have about an account, the better you can assess its capacity for long-term partnership.
Develop a Broad Network of Contacts
The benefits of account-based marketing include earlier and deeper engagement with your target companies. However, your current list of contacts may not be helping you connect as well as you could. Today’s buying committees span business and technical units, and your ABM contact list should follow suit. From the buyers’ point of view, if your team can demonstrate value to the business and IT/technology, it’s easier for them to agree on your solution.
Beef up your contact list with all possible decision-makers. For each one, create persona profiles that describe their decision-making style and their role in the buying process. Find resources, such as internal champions or external coaches, that help you understand buyers personally, so you don’t waste time guessing about what they need. Then you can customize content, conversations, and buying experiences accordingly.
Start Meaningful Conversations
ABM programs help you develop long-term relationships with buyers and help your team provide value that steers them toward your solution. If you’re pushing content to decision makers, it should elicit a response that sparks discussion and draws people into engagement. Tech buyers in Emissary’s network view most marketing outreach as one-sided. They don’t feel invited to a conversation so much as “talked at.”
Use your contacts and insight-rich persona profiles to select a range of content types and channels that will reach decision makers where they are. Make your messages clear and develop coherent campaigns in which communications build on each other and address the issues important to each buyer.
But what kind of content gets conversations started? Buyers in Emissary’s network have identified well-executed insight selling as particularly effective in moving toward a deal. They’re looking for thought leadership and education. Content that helps decision makers think about new ways to solve problems or clears up misconceptions will encourage feedback and follow-on questions. Then, a meaningful conversation has begun.
Reap the Benefits of Account-Based Marketing Through All Levels of Conversion
For every ABM account, your team invests serious time and effort into developing strong relationships and driving engagement, so it makes sense to continue ABM activities past conversion to MQAs and help convert opportunities into closed deals, pilots into contracts, or small deals into corporate-wide partnerships.
Work closely with sales, service, and customer success to provide consistent tools and content across all account interactions. For example, use account planning tools to coordinate with sales and provide content and account intelligence to pre- and post-sales resources, such as account engineers and customer success.
Keep Your ABM Programed Tuned Up With Regular Calibration
Companies who see maximum benefits of account-based marketing are constantly evaluating their results and refining their approach. They set measurable goals for the program and for each account; they track metrics, such as account scoring, meetings, and closed-won bookings, and share the results with leadership and coaches for guidance and advice.
Review your progress every quarter and collect insight from all areas of sales, marketing, service, and customer success to help you adjust the program. Review each account to ensure it’s still a good fit. And remember to keep the voice of the customer front-and-center. If needed, update customer profiles with what you’ve learned and revise content or reset your conversation-starting strategies for better impact with individual buyers.
Start Upgrading Your ABM Benefits Today
If you’re ready to turn ABM into a powerful sales tool, download Emissary’s free ABM Guide for Enterprise Tech Marketers. The guide provides step-by-step checklists for moving beyond targeted ad campaigns and making sincere connections with decision-makers early in the buying journey. Based on feedback from technology buyers in the Emissary network, the Guide helps you focus on the Five Cs to develop an ABM program that outpaces the competition.
Emissary is a human intelligence network that connects enterprise sales and marketing professionals directly to a community of over 8,000 talented senior and C-level executives with recent experience at their most important accounts. Leveraging the Emissary network will enable you to shorten your sales cycles, close more deals, and build positive long-lasting relationships with your clients and prospects—because you’ve gathered the tacit knowledge on their challenges and needs. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org