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A recent survey from the Altera Group found that 97% of B2B marketers report that account-based marketing (ABM) drives higher ROI than other marketing activities. Marketers across the industry are asking what they need to successfully execute an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy.

There are numerous components of a successful ABM strategy and the right tech stack can help drive key aspects of your ABM initiative – from goal-tracking to centralizing target-account lead data to monitoring the progress of opportunities through the sales funnel. But no account-based marketing platforms or tools can do it all. And none of them are the same. So how can you know which ABM technology your company needs?

It’s important to arm yourself with evaluation questions you can ask ABM tech vendors to help identify whether their solutions are right for your organization.

Finding the Best Account-Based Marketing Platforms, Software and Tools

The MarTech landscape is complex and it’s growing rapidly. Year-over-year from 2016 to 2017, the solution marketplace grew by 39% to include over 5,000 software applications, tools and platforms across 49 categories. And while there are only 25 in the account-based marketing category, many more facilitate specific aspects of ABM.

Chances are, your organization will ultimately adopt a series of technologies to support your ABM strategy. This may include one (or more) tools and/or systems for each of the following key activities:

  1. ABM Data Management & Measurement
  2. Customer Relationship Management
  3. Marketing Automation
  4. Website Personalization/IP Tracking/Display Retargeting
  5. Predictive Analytics
  6. Demand Orchestration

The “Developing an Account-Based Marketing Program” workbook contains ten worksheets to help build your ABM strategy, including a template to evaluate ABM software across these six categories. Grab your copy here.

While it’s possible to execute ABM without marketing technology, it’s far from the most efficient route. For most organizations, effective ABM at scale requires several integrated tools that center around your CRM.

7 Evaluation Questions to Help Find the Right ABM Technologies for Your Organization

The following questions are designed to help you understand:

  • some of the key capabilities of the best ABM technologies
  • where they fit into your overall strategy
  • whether they’re the right choice for your goals

1. Can It Help Identify Key Accounts and Decision-Makers?

Identifying target accounts and decision-makers shouldn’t be a guessing game. Developing an account-based strategy should start with analyzing data from your CRM, marketing automation, web analytics software and advertising platforms to uncover key attributes of your highest-potential opportunities. Compiling this data without software is a daunting task.

Fortunately, many ABM and predictive intelligence tools are built to aggregate data from key systems and then use algorithms to score and segment prospects against company characteristics, decision-maker role and other key qualifiers. This insight allows you to understand who’s most likely to purchase based on firmographic qualifiers and digital behavior.

2. Can It Help Reach Target Accounts?

Your ABM strategy should include multiple tactics – display, social, email and more – to reach your priority accounts. Some technologies allow you to target your content and ads specifically towards the companies on your target-account list. This approach can prevent you from wasting ad budget on companies outside your list.

Beyond simply directing ad spend, some account-targeting solutions will enable you to reach specific decision-makers within your target accounts, expanding your influence over target-account buying-committees. This capability is why many B2B marketers choose Integrate’s account-based demand generation solution.

3. Can It Help Us Engage Key Decision-Makers?

Once you’ve successfully engaged target decision-makers at the top-of-the-funnel, it’s necessary to nurture them with lower-funnel content, guiding them through the buyer’s journey and enticing them to further research your product/service.

Marketing automation is essential to an ABM strategy for this very reason. It empowers you to keep the conversation going, delivering the right message at the right time to create new opportunities.

4. Can It Help Us Manage Account Data?

Tools for account data aggregation are a common component of the ABM MarTech stack. These tools associate leads to accounts and segment opportunities according to your buyer personas. They may even pull in third-party data sources to help you understand the big picture and align sales and marketing. Tools for account data management and measurement may rely on third-party sources and aggregate data within your CRM.

5. Does It Have Native Integrations with my MAP and CRM?

One of the biggest challenges facing demand marketers today isn’t a lack of data. It’s a lack of simple integrations that make it easy to track opportunity data end-to-end. Marketers need an integrated approach to marketing technology that unifies their data across platforms and informs smarter processes. Demand orchestration software enables this by automating target-account lead generation, monitoring lead data as it moves through the funnel and tying it back to top-funnel efforts for smarter account targeting and stronger ABM results.

Whether you’re evaluating CRM, marketing automation, demand orchestration or another ABM technology, it’s important to ensure that it will fit seamlessly into your existing tech stack without a need for costly, complex custom integrations.

6. Does It Fill More than One Marketing Need?

ABM is just one component of a holistic demand marketing strategy. When evaluating new ABM software, as with any marketing software, it’s important to ask whether the tool is built to address multiple marketing needs, or if it’s limited to a single purpose. Can it support other areas of your demand marketing strategy or at least facilitate multiple aspects of account-based marketing?

By identifying ABM technologies that have numerous applications within your organization, you can begin driving value from your new investments more quickly.

7. What Do We Need to Make This System Work for ABM?

Not all aspects of ABM can be automated. There are some ABM activities that must be completed manually. These include goal-setting, persona development and fine-tuning your approach to sales-marketing alignment. To prepare for new ABM software, your organization may need to:

  • Set key performance indicators (KPIs) and sales/marketing benchmarks
  • Create buyer personas and targeted, high-value content
  • Aligns sales and marketing, and develop processes to keep both teams in sync
  • Integrate your processes, data and goals

The Best ABM Platforms Say ‘Goodbye’ To Spreadsheets

Without the right technologies, managing ABM can be time-consuming. Demand marketers may spend hours sorting through spreadsheets of data exported from CRM searching for big-picture insight into accounts. Once the right targeting data is uncovered, it needs to be applied to campaign efforts. And as new target-account data is generated, it needs to be uploaded into marketing automation and CRM.

Fortunately, generating account-based revenue doesn’t have to require drowning in spreadsheet hell. With the right marketing tools, you can automate many aspects of ABM, allowing you to spend time on what matters most – using your team’s expertise to optimize your programs.