personalization and abm

Many marketers I work with are tasked with creating both personalization and account-based marketing (ABM) programs for their organizations. A common mistake when starting out on this journey is to separate the efforts for personalization and ABM. I’ve found that personalization and ABM can and should work together to help accomplish a company’s objectives throughout the sales process — from increasing the number of leads from target accounts to closing more opportunities, expanding deeper into existing customer accounts, and winning back lost opportunities. In this blog post, I’ll explain how to do that.

Increase Number of Leads from ABM Accounts

The best part of an ABM strategy for a marketer is that you know exactly who you’re targeting. You don’t need to try to appeal to everyone and hope that your message at least resonates with someone. You already have a list of accounts to communicate with. Furthermore, you know all the specific attributes about each company on your list including revenue, industry, technologies used, and more.

Using firmographic data, you can recognize your target accounts (or target industries or personas if you use different ABM tiers) before they explicitly tell you who they are. This allows you to use personalization to help build interest with these accounts while they are on your website. That could mean changing the message on your homepage to speak to specific use cases you know apply to these accounts, recommending relevant resources on your top-level pages, and even informing each account who their account rep is by pulling data from your CRM.

Ask yourself the question: If I were speaking to this account in person, what would I say to convince them that my company is the right fit for their specific needs? With personalization, you can share that same message on your website.

Close More Opportunities

When an opportunity is open, your CRM system (such as Salesforce) can tell you what products an account is interested in, who the main players are within the account, and what the current stage of the opportunity is — based on information that has been added by the salesperson working with the account.

You can use this information to continue the conversation a prospect has had with the salesperson each time he is on your site. When you know what product an account is interested in, for example, you can make sure they see the latest news and resources about that particular product every time they come to your website. Or, if you know it’s a competitive deal, you can make sure the account is shown content regarding how you compare to the competition.

You can also use the information you’ve learned about an account from its behaviors on your website to help your sales team close the deal. Are you noticing that an account seems to be more interested in a different product or use case than it originally mentioned in the discovery process? Does your sales team know when an account comes to the website, in other words, when it is expressing interest in your company? Giving your sales team access to these insights can help them speak to the right contacts based on their actual actions and interests instead of shooting in the dark.

Account Expansion Opportunities

After your team has closed a deal, you’ll usually want to expand the account over time (“land and expand” in sales terms). It’s always important to go about expanding a current customer account in the right way. You don’t want to bother them or come across like you’re just trying to get more money.

Without personalization, you may ask your sales team to reach out to a customer account when you notice new contacts coming back to your marketing website. But you can use your personalization platform to do that first before even engaging the sales team.

You can identify from a customer’s behaviors if they are researching other products. You can also use surveying to explicitly ask visitors if they’re part of the department or team you’re currently working with. With this type of behavioral and explicit data, you can identify when a customer presents an expansion opportunity, before asking your sales to try to find out this information on their own. Plus, this information can sync directly with Salesforce, which both saves your sales team time looking for information and allows them to have contextual conversations based on all the information you already know about an account. This can fast-track expansion opportunities for your company as well as build inherent trust with these accounts.

Win Back Lost Opportunities

No one has a 100% win rate, no matter how great the product is. In cases where an account is closed lost, you can leverage Salesforce data and firmographic data to recognize when users from lost opportunities are back on the site.

Why would people from these accounts come back to your site? Maybe the vendor they ultimately chose isn’t working out, or they have budget now when they didn’t in the past. You can run campaigns on your site to remind these visitors of the value of your products or to get these accounts to re-engage with your sales team to realize lost revenue. Since your sales team already has a lot of information on these accounts, and they’re already demonstrating interest by being back on your site, you don’t want to waste the opportunity to get these potential deals back on track.

Getting Started

Most of my clients ask me the best way to get started on this journey. My main piece of advice is to see where there is the greatest need in the sales process and start with a personalization campaign or two that helps address that need. These days, that need often intersects with a company’s ABM strategy. Work with your sales team to understand what they need to know about an account to create a sales opportunity. Then, make sure you are synchronizing the correct information between your CRM and your personalization platform. Once the data is there, it’s pretty easy to build campaigns that help generate leads, close opportunities, uncover expansion opportunities or win back lost opportunities.