The Marketing world is ablaze with talk of “ABM” — account-based marketing — but inbound marketing isn’t going away. It still delivers great results (especially when predictive scoring is in the mix), however inbound takes a long time. That’s why we’re seeing an increasing convergence of ABM and inbound strategies. ABM isn’t necessarily a “new” strategy, but rather a change in the optics of marketing. If we take off the lens of Leads and look through the lens of Accounts, there’s a great opportunity to revisit our outbound strategies and figure out how to master them.
One reason ABM is all the rage is because it’s no longer a pipe dream to be able to identify the universe of accounts that are a good fit for your product and deliver personalization at scale. ABM has the potential to open up entirely new revenue channels and marketing tactics. However, in order to execute a sound ABM strategy, there are several best practices marketers should employ. As the title of this article implies, predictive analytics brings a whole new perspective to ABM, but it’s important to be strategic about how you leverage it because predictive for the sake of predictive is just adding noise on top of noise.
Here are some tips for leveraging predictive when it comes to: (1) building a targeted account list, (2) adding net-new contacts and accounts, (3) orchestrating ABM tactics to activate accounts, and (4) measuring success.
This is where all the magic happens. If your list is poor, so too will be the results. With predictive, you can build your target list with far more confidence and intelligence than ever before. Through account scoring, personas, behavior scoring, and custom signals like technographics, you have the ability to hyper-segment your list so that your ABM strategy is focused on a stack-ranked list of the best accounts. Remember, it’s important to not get hung up on the size of your list. ABM is about big deals, and what you can do to accelerate pipeline metrics. Narrowing your list with predictive models and applications helps you FOCUS on the accounts that are most likely to convert.
Once you’ve trimmed your target account list, the next step is to find those accounts that aren’t yet on your radar. You don’t want to forfeit accounts to the competition simply because you weren’t aware of them. Since you already went through the effort of building a highly targeted account list in the first stage, this becomes a matter of finding lookalike accounts and personas that match your criteria. Predictive models crafted around net-new leads improve the effectiveness of list purchasing by collating data from multiple vendors and making sure you’re only sourcing the best leads to feed to reps. This will ensure that you’re adding signal vs. noise as you beef up your accounts list.
Armed with your list, it’s now time to map tactics to your top-tier accounts. For certain segments, you might trigger sales alerts or tasks to ensure that reps prioritize personal outreach. For others, you could kick off an email sequence via your marketing automation platform, target them with personalized display ads, or invite key contacts to high-touch live events.
A key point here is that you always want to align effort with impact. That’s why it’s important to consider the predictive value of an account before engaging (i.e. their anticipated deal size, revenue impact and other key metrics) — think of this as almost calculating the ROI of your time and energy. Make sure that when you embark on your journey to activate target accounts, you’re spending your time in the right place (this is especially important when it comes to developing good content).
Once you’ve outlined your tactics, the next step is to personalize them, which will help to quickly move accounts forward in your customer journey. Having more data points about each customer allows for increased personalization and will boost confidence that you’re focusing on the right accounts.
And finally, once you’ve orchestrated and launched your ABM tactics, you must be able to easily visualize the results. I tip my hat to the fine folks at InsightSquared, who build beautiful dashboards that make reporting predictive marketing and ABM metrics a breeze. In addition to some of the key coverage and pipeline metrics that you’ll want in your reports, it’s important to get an idea of how much engagement you generated, and the depth of this engagement. This can be done with predictive behavioral models that help you interpret the full spectrum of activity data from your marketing automation systems.
Net net, leveraging predictive marketing techniques as part of your ABM strategy can drive higher conversion rates and larger average deal size. To capitalize on this opportunity, you’ll want to advance your skills around market planning, prospect management, and measuring campaign efficacy. Once you do that, predictive can supercharge your Account-Based Marketing strategy every step of the way — from conducting hyper-segmentation across firmographic, technographic and behavioral signals, to implementing new personalization technologies that help you activate more accounts more easily.