Priya Kumari
Priya Kumari 10 March 2021

2021 is Going to be the Year of Advanced ABM: 10 Strategies to Help You Scale Your Account-Based Initiatives

To thrive in the dawn of post-pandemic emergence, marketers need to craft their ABM tactics to combine strategies and channels in new and interesting ways. Talking of the advanced account-centric approaches, one needs to understand that, progression follows only after the basics have been mastered.

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a highly-credible marketing strategy labeled as a zero-waste marketing tactic. Advanced ABM is all about leveraging account-centric approaches and involves the zeal to innovate and experiment.

To thrive in the dawn of post-pandemic emergence, marketers need to craft their ABM tactics to combine strategies and channels in new and interesting ways. Talking of the advanced account-centric approaches, one needs to understand that, progression follows only after the basics have been mastered.

As a quote by Lao Tzu states, “An amateur practices until they get it right. An expert practices until they cannot get it wrong.”

Advanced ABM teams also need to be smarter in ways they understand their customers. They need to send hyper-personalized messages to their specific target groups in ways that feel surprising, new, and engaging.

Advanced ABM teams also need to do a lot of split testing to establish what they shouldn’t do. Advanced ABM-ers know how to engage with their buyers by investing their time and budget on platforms where they create an impact.

Here are 10 advanced ABM strategies that will help you optimize your conversion goals and outlast your competitors:

1. Be Mindful of Your Targeting Tactics

Targeting errors can be horrendous, they can make you chase companies that were never going to buy in the first place. Marketers should focus on building clean target account lists by following the steps below:

  1. Ideal customer profiling – Mark your ideal customer accounts with strategies such as headcount, revenue, tech stack, etc.
  2. Employ predictive analytics – Predictive modeling can be employed to analyze your customer base and employ the predictive insights to draw the characteristics of the ideal persona.
  3. Behavioral analysis – Analyzing the actions of the target accounts, allows marketers to analyze what their ideal customers did on their websites. The first-party and third-party intent data can be amassed to fetch meaningful insights

The database of the market should be reduced to the list of the target account and projected in a way that people can talk about.

2. Combine Multiple Data Sources to Reveal Account Intelligence

Combining multiple data sources can help you increase the odds of catching good accounts. On the contrary, fewer data sources can make you miss an ideal company as the revenue gets split between several orphan subsidiaries.

With multiple data sources you have multiple options:

  • You know how accounts have engaged with your pieces of content or with your past sales and marketing initiatives with engagement data (Source: Demandbase, LeanData)
  • You have insights as to when an account is searching for you on third-party sites with the help of intent data (Source: Demandbase)
  • You can reach beyond your content to fetch the buyer-level intent insights from prospects who might be researching with syndication & first-party sourced account data (Source: NetLine, Demand Exchange)
  • One can match leads to account. The accounts can be deduped and the entities can be matched to sub-entities with the help of a matching service (Source: LeanData)
  • The content consumption data may reveal the specific products or services that your target audience groups might actually be interested in (Source: PathFactory)
  • The areas of key buyer interest can be fetched by mapping the behavior on high-intent content by leveraging the video view data (Source: Vidyard)
  • The attendee data allows you to deduce who has attended your events in the past (Source: Bizzabo)
  • Marketers can also get the cross-reference lists with partners who are going after similar accounts

3. Leverage Dual Account Score to Operationalize Your Intelligence

Marketers need to build a dual scoring model for their accounts – a single score that’s a composite of two sub-scores and another one for account fit and one for account intent. This way, the marketers can prioritize companies that are both good-fit and are in the market with an intent to buy. However, marketers will have to re-prioritize the details if any of the factors change.

Marketers need to think on the following lines while choosing a target account:

  • Does this account fit our firmographic requirements (account fit)?
  • Is this account actively researching us (account intent)?

Additional layers of assessment might include:

  • Executing connections and broad crossover (relationships fit – loyal and repeat customer or a new client)
  • Ways customers are engaging with the sites owned by your businesses (engagement fit)

These four data-types are put across as the acronym termed "Fire.” Assessing all the data types helps you build a platform that provides a strong foundation for your ABM strategy.

4. Manage Your Data

Marketers need to connect the parent accounts to the child accounts. Leveraging a data partner gives marketers more control over data. A fuzzy-matching algorithm unifies accounts and attributes revenue to the right campaigns. The data needs to be kept accurate.

Marketers need to create passive processes as much as they can with required fields, syncs, periodic transformation & cleansing of data points.

5. Leverage Tactile Marketing

Direct mail value matrix needs to be created by marketers and pictured to keep the physical branding experiences simple. Personalizing the messages and contents of a conversation helps marketers reinforce a campaign for optimum conversions.

Marketers can use tactile marketing practices such as the following:

  • They can send popcorn to ensure webinar attendance
  • They might consider sending a 4k webcam before delivering their keynote
  • Contract signing can be accelerated by sending a high-class pen
  • New product or service announcements can be coupled with a bottle of champagne

Tactile marketing vendors like PFL equip marketers to personalize, send, track and call the moment they get a delivery confirmation.

6. Focus on Building Sales Engagement

Using proven sales cadence such as delivering ‘triple touch’ messages (such as a phone call, an email with a personal video and a LinkedIn message helps marketers boost their chances to upsell.

Pro-tips for building sales engagement:

  • Marketers can endow their sellers with vertical or role-specific templates, videos, and assets
  • The seller can themselves send the emails with short and captivating subject-lines
  • Use 80:20 rule – Personalize the first 10% and the last 10% of your email
  • Respond to your prospects as soon as you can

Marketers can use sales engagement platforms like SalesLoft to coordinate plays, share templates, and track them all.

7. Focus on Segmentation & Personalization

At the core of advanced account-based marketing lies the segmentation strategies. Marketers need to segment their target audience groups into the right segments and talk to them with the help of personalized messages.

Advanced segmentation falls into the following three categories:

  1. Accurate segmentation – In this approach, your target account list is divided or tagged by role, interest, sign-up date, campaign, etc.
  2. Hyper-targeted messages – Marketers need to alter their messages to fit each segment
  3. Distribution – Marketers need to run campaigns that match messages to segments

Creating webinars specific to individual accounts and persona-specific email outreach tracks might help. The content “tracks” can also be segmented and integrated ABM ads can be run.

8. Put Advertising & Content to Play

Pairing advertising with content and syndication helps marketers optimize their reach and collect data that can optimize their targeting game.

For example, Demandbase offers a B2B-specific ad platform that leverages lift, intent, engagement, and account-specific IP addresses of the target audience groups with the help of its DSP.

Buyer-level syndication programs can be used to figure-out a network of publishers to promote your content assets such as white papers, webinars, and more. This strategy also helps acquire accounts that weren't originally into marketers' target lists.

The syndication platform from NetLine allows buyers to consolidate business content on the web, to reach the target audience groups that specifically meet the marketers' unique criteria. Sales intelligence can help you identify hidden buyers or influencers.

The Demand Exchange content syndication network delivers high-quality leads from a global network of premium B2B publishers, at scale. The AI-driven platform is optimised for conversions, providing publishers with content hubs, resources sections, smart widgets and banners so they can promote content contextually on their websites to relevant audiences and generate high-value leads.

Along with classic content marketing, marketers can also use video marketing to supercharge their ABM strategy.

9. Omnichannel Orchestration & Sales Enablement

Omnichannel orchestration involves providing your exiting and / potential buyers with seamless experiences across different digital & physical platforms. Such orchestration activates sales enablement. Once your salespeople connect with the buyers, you can demystify your product and move things ahead.

TOPO quotes this process as, “Lead-to-account matching and routing solutions have become integral to the tech stacks of the highest-performing sales and marketing organizations.”

For example, the platform Demandbase can be used to integrate cross-company plays as well as cross-partner plays. It brings sales, marketing, and advertising together.

Predictive insights can be leveraged to promote account-specific events and content via email signatures and the content hubs can be put to use to recommend assets that will maximize the conversions.

10. Customer Lifecycle Management

Leveraging the sales engagement platform allows marketers to shorten their sales cycles and allows them to have a full view of the customers’ lifecycle. Customers can observe which deals are progressing and which ones require more attention.

Marketers can track how their team is performing and how cadences lead to revenue. Marketers can track what specific steps can create opportunities and can identify the conversion drivers within their sales meetings recordings like competitors or winning keyword phrases.

Marketers can leverage asynchronous videos to speed up deal cycles by addressing the queries of the customers at the right time. Implementing the service level agreements allows marketers to map when a lead is created and when it receives an outreach.

Marketers can send account-centric invites to their target audience groups, follow-up on videos, and even run virtual meetings to aptly address the queries of the customers at specific stages in their respective buying cycles.

This produces more brand evangelists apart from expediting the down-the-funnel conversions. This in-turn also fetches more look-alike audiences from the social media platforms by positive word-of-mouth and referrals and also brings more customers.

In Conclusion

Driving your ABM processes in 2021 is going to be all about being insightful and research-centric to develop and strengthen your sales enablement architecture. The principle of advancement in account-centric everything would mean not just embracing advancement but also staying advanced.

2020 witnessed the resurgence of account-based marketing and 2021 will reflect on its proliferation phenomenon initiated in the previous year.

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) will get more serious in the year 2021 and beyond. Marketers will need to understand and leverage intent-based and AI-driven platforms and ways to leverage marketing automation and inbound marketing hand-in-hand for building a highly conscientious sales pipeline through their ABM endeavors.

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