According to Forrester, 62% of marketers say they’ve been able to measure the positive impact of account-based marketing (ABM). Using account-based marketing metrics organisations have been able to build up concrete data about ABM’s positive performance.
This underlines the importance of tracking and measuring account-based marketing campaigns. According to Kirsty Dawe of Really B2B, it’s essential to gather ABM metrics at every stage of the sales cycle so that:
“You can measure engagement right throughout the funnel. Personalisation starts with data, If you don’t have all the insights you won’t be able to personalise effectively.”
Account-based marketing metrics have a narrow focus
Traditional marketing metrics focus widely around traffic, lead generation and conversion. ABM metrics on the other hand, concentrate on data related to a small number of target accounts. ABM marketers can be said to be after ‘quality’ rather than ‘quantity’. This approach is based on engaging with specific good-fit target accounts in order to maximise revenue from them. Read more about Account-based marketing here.
5 Key ABM Metrics To Measure
Measuring coverage is key to building a sustainable ABM program. By examining coverage you’re basically finding out if you have enough of the ‘right’ people in your database. To see if this is the case, ask yourself the following questions:
● How many target accounts have you researched in your target segment? ● Have you identified all the named stakeholders in those accounts? ● What percentage of those stakeholders have given you ‘opted-in’ information? ● How many accounts do you currently create custom content for?
With account-based marketing, your aim is to reach each target account and every stakeholder within that account.
By gathering this data you’ll find out how close you are to interacting with every key contact in an account. And you’ll know how far you’ve come to expanding your list of accounts within a target segment.
Building awareness with target accounts is a key stage in the ABM process. To see how well you’re doing, track how familiar your target accounts are with your brand and your offering. Your web traffic should give you a good idea of this, specifically the incoming traffic from target accounts.
Other metrics to track include how many contacts are opening your emails and reading them, answering your calls, or attending your events.
Understanding levels of awareness will help you identify the right content for different contacts. It will also enable you to pitch conversations at the correct level – and ensure prospects are noticing your introductory content at the start of the funnel.
Metrics to watch include the level of engagement of key accounts. Engagement levels will tell you whether your campaign is getting people to act.
Tracking engagement can involve a number of metrics depending on your business or industry. However they generally include:
● How many minutes are prospects spending with your brand? ● At what points are they responding to your content or program? ● Are target accounts interacting with your brand on social networks – and which content interests them most?
Check product page visits, click-through rates, content downloads and email open rates. And naturally, you’ll need to track the occasions prospects come into contact with your sales or marketing team.
Gauging engagement will give you critical insights into what’s happening at the top and bottom of your sales funnel
Track your success by channel. When you run a webinar you’ll count the number of people attending as a matter of course. But with ABM you need to track the percentage of target accounts that attend as well. Track metrics across all activities – what percentage of all program successes come from key accounts?
By tracking reach you can find the waste in your ABM strategies. It will tell you, for example, if you’re seeing more success with personalised eBooks as opposed to webinars.
How far are your ABM activities influencing results? Look for correlations between activities and key sales outcomes.
Dig for insights so you can say with confidence, for example, a stat that is consistent across ABM campaigns is the fact that.
“Accounts in the top 20% of engagements have a 15% faster sales cycle than those in the bottom 20%”
Track your results against traditional marketing campaign results. Metrics to watch include: How quickly deals are getting closed, your win rates, retention and average contract values.
Measure every touchpoint
Account-based marketing metrics will allow you to say with authority that ABM marketing is the way forward. For example, by measuring the time it takes to close accounts you will see whether accounts receiving customized content convert faster.
A recent report by CSO Insights revealed that sales cycles for high value products and services are increasing. So the case for ABM and more targeted messaging is getting stronger.
Account-based marketing software and tools are at the core of ABM success, from the core componenets of a CRM, through marketing automation and ad management. According to the ABM Leadership Alliance 73% of marketers plan to increase their account-based marketing budgets this year.
If you, too, are planning to make Account-based marketing part of your marketing strategy you’ll need to be prepared. To succeed you’ll need to align your strategy with technology and consider investing in account-based marketing software.
Lead generation company TechnologyAdvice describe the importance of ABM technology
The software and platforms you opt for will depend on which ABM tactics you’re intending to pursue. Choose wisely – and you’ll see a number of significant benefits:
The benefits of account-based marketing software
Greater account-level personalisation: ABM software gives you the ability to engage target accounts with content and offers that reflect their individual attributes. According to Marketo 82% of prospects value content based on their specific industries – so the more personal you can get the better.
Account-level analytics: ABM technology enables you to perform closed-loop reporting so you can trace your efforts to specific revenue outcomes.
Strategic alignment: With the right tech stack you’ll have the power to track, target and engage key accounts so that marketing can support the sales team.
More successful prospecting efforts: ABM software can help you research and develop processes around target accounts. Then you can build in-depth profiles and identify the steps you need to take in order to win new business.
With so many platforms out there, selecting the right ABM software can be difficult. In this post we’ll run through the three main categories of account-based marketing software. And also offer some tips on what to look for in a new system .
The three categories of account-based marketing software
1. Predictive Analytics Software – Data mining for accurate target account lists
Over half of B2B marketers are using predictive analytics tools. Predictive ABM software mines your existing customer data and uses pattern recognition so you can build ideal account profiles.
The software works by identifying ‘firmographic’’ patterns. Criteria used to build these patterns include: industry, size of company, location, revenue, technical infrastructure and lifetime value potential.
Most predictive platforms can analyse your CRM and databases as well as pull in new data from directories, social media and third parties.
By creating a list of qualified accounts you’ll be able to see where sales and marketing should be focusing their efforts.
2. Marketing automation – Segmenting and nurturing personas
These software platforms generally serve as an operational hub, where data management across all marketing campaigns takes place (ABM included). All data generated from predictive tools, advertising automation tools, emails, events and direct mail is gathered together. You can then track performance and see, for example, which accounts require following up by sales.
Some marketing automation tools can be integrated with your CRM. This prepares you to run custom nurturing campaigns and measure their effectiveness across multiple channels.
3. Ad Management Software
Personalised advertising and retargeting is essential at the beginning of the sales cycle for building awareness. This type of account-based marketing software enables you to manage the offers and messages you serve to target accounts. This includes both when they’re on your site as well as when they’re at other locations.
By directing key decision makers to pages on your site by showing them relevant messages you can start to build engagement. Many of the advertising automation platforms also include a reporting feature so you can track digital engagement at account level.
How to choose your account-based marketing software
Does the proposed platform give you straightforward metrics that you can create actionable plans from? Even if a software can slice and dice data into fabulous-looking charts they must be clear and easy to understand. Then you can use them effectively.
Does the software have the flexibility for you to create your own customised in-depth reports? Once you’re up and running and familiar with your data requirements this ability is invaluable.
Since the aim of ABM technology is to automate routine tasks a good ABM solution should help you manage contact and lead information. Does the software have the ability to update contact information or map new contacts into the right accounts?
Does the software provider include customer support? Depending on your organisational set-up you may require customer service – including real-time support, consultancy or the opportunity to attend educational events.
Does the ABM software integrate with your existing solutions? ABM tools that integrate with e.g. Salesforce or Marketo will ensure smooth communication between sales and marketing.
ABM systems can provide all the essential tools you need to power up your marketing efforts.
You can use software to automate and reduce the amount of time it takes to identify prospects.
Technology can also help you craft personalised journeys and increase customer retention rates .
If you’re thinking about implementing Account-based Marketing strategy or plans are already underway take stock of your existing solutions – and consider aligning them with a specialised ABM software platform. Don’t add to the tech stack without due consideration, however, or you could inadvertently make life harder, not easier, for marketing and sales.
Consider an all-in-one ABM platform
As you can see, there are multiple approaches to building out your tech stack to make ABM more manageable. However Salesforce and now HubSpot have added ABM functionality to their platforms with HubSpot already offering class-leading CRM, Marketing, Sales and Service hubs, they have now added ABM functionality across the platform to align all teams around this approach.
In the current uncertain climate account-based marketing (ABM) is gaining momentum. To stay afloat companies are realizing they need to shift resources towards a more targeted approach. There’s also growing recognition that ABM needs to keep pace with unprecedented change. And that your account-based marketing strategy has to be agile and adaptable. Make sure you read the Step By Step Guide To Account-Based Marketing.
Here are some ways to ensure your account-based marketing strategy is agile and responsive:
1. Find out what matters to your target accounts
It’s essential that you personalize your communications with target accounts, so you need to understand their problems. Right now these are changing more rapidly than ever.
One way to keep on top of their initiatives and challenges is to monitor their social activity. Your target accounts are using social networks to share company news and achievements. They’re also on social media to announce the launch of new products or initiatives.
Stay informed by doing the following:
Use Google Alert to stay on top of industry trends – as well as LinkedIn Insights.
Use Twitter Social Listening Streams based on keywords relevant to your products or services.
Make use of C Suite observations on Twitter. This can be useful even if you only use it for a short period of time – for insights into prospects’ challenges and future direction.
On LinkedIn you don’t have to connect with prospects – simply follow them, so you can engage in conversations. (If you ask outright to connect – you risk getting ignored). Gain useful insights into a prospect’s aspirations, tendencies and history.
Profile-check the people involved in decision making at key accounts. For example you may discover that someone at a target account recently switched jobs. If they switched from vendor to client side (and you work for that vendor) they could be a good candidate to target.
Use social data to redirect and re-message as things change
As well as monitoring what’s going on, join in social conversations. Send out congratulatory posts in response to tweets and other social media posts. Share your content, create podcasts and videos and invite account leaders to contribute. Read more on content marketing here.
2. Make sure the tone of your content reflects the changing environment
When you’re creating an ABM strategy, sales and marketing decide which type of content will attract and engage target accounts. And also which channels to use. This has to be an ongoing process if you are to ensure your content stays relevant.
You’ll also need to adjust the tone of the content to reflect current sentiments. For example, during the current Covid-19 crisis Wordstream have the following advice:
“ We recommend keeping a positive, inspirational and helpful tone. Avoid being humorous, witty or casual”
Make sure your landing pages reflect the changing times too.
Keep things relevant for your target customer. Give them a personalized experience when they visit your website. Create account-specific landing pages. Display copy, images and offers relevant to the customer or account visiting the page.
Serve them reports they’re likely to be interested in. For example many companies are currently looking for advice around the current Covid -19 crisis.
3. Measure and analyze account-based marketing strategy results
It’s crucial you assess your performance on a regular basis. Review and analyze campaign results so you can adapt and make your ABM strategy more effective. Take a look at how well you’re performing towards your KPIs. From account engagement to ROIs, these valuable insights will help you adapt your strategy going forward.
And right now, it’s more important than ever to gather and share data within your organisation. Share account profiles, buyer personas and campaign tracking across sales and marketing teams. Everyone needs to have a strong commitment to keep deep personalization going.
As part of your ongoing strategy, review collaboration across all functions. Who needs to be involved? Agile collaboration is crucial in order to effect change. Read our post on 5 account-based marketing metrics to monitor.
4. Stay on top of the relevant marketing channels
We don’t know when we’ll be seeing person-to-person events again, hence the upsurge in online fixtures. So you need to create a personalised experience across all online channels. From webinars and workshops to live ‘demos’ you need to identify how to engage with customers and prospects.
Maybe it’s time to think ‘out of the box’ as regards channels to use. Direct mail became virtually obsolete with the advent of digital marketing. But there are reasons to suppose it could still play a valuable role in your ABM strategy.
Senior execs don’t usually register for seminars, attend trade shows or reply to unsolicited emails. They’re actually more likely to open their letters. 90% of direct mail recipients open their mail, compared to 20-30% of emails.
Account-based marketing is about creating highly customized marketing campaigns to markets of one. To stay relevant these campaigns need to be constantly evaluated. These are unprecedented times. To run an effective ABM campaign you need to discover an individual account’s current pain points. Then use that information to create personalized empathetic campaigns.
There is no escaping that the benefits of Account-Based Marketing make it a real game-changer for B2B marketing teams. This laser-targeted approach gives greater ROI than any of the more traditional methods of marketing and sales. Make sure you check out our Step By Step Guide To Account-Based Marketing .
There are numerous benefits to utilising Account-Based Marketing, which compliments an Inbound Marketing approach perfectly. Inbound “fills your nets” with leads, ABM allows you to then go “spear fishing” picking out the high-profit target accounts.
1) Marketing & Sales Personalised To Your Individual Audience:
The majority of B2B buying decisions are down to a group of people, not individuals. Each person in the decision making group will have their own pain points and viewpoints. It is vital that each receives the right message at the right time, to ensure they make the right decision.
2) Predictable And Transparent Return On Investment (ROI):
As marketers one of the biggest challenges has always been in proving return on investment (ROI). But when you are marketing to companies you have already established a relationship with, it can be far easier to attribute revenue to marketing campaigns.
For example, if you spent £1500 on an industry-level marketing campaign for three months targeting businesses in London. After a three month period the sales team closed eight new accounts, worth £3000 each. Two are companies based in London. You could claim that your £1500 marketing campaign had helped to generate £6000 in new business. But how do you prove it?
However an ABM campaign is very different. You know exactly where your marketing spend is going and the revenue you stand to generate at the end. It makes marketing far more transparent and encourages greater investment.
3) Focuses Your Time On High-Yield Marketing Campaigns:
Account-based marketing not only gives you a more transparent ROI but it also ensures that you are not spending valuable resources and time on campaigns which are giving no clear business value.
Investing in ABM makes the marketing team more robust to slow periods or a seasonal slow down in engagement from a wider audience, basically evening out peaks and troughs that broader campaigns can give to your marketing efforts.
An ABM campaign is producing data which is being fed back between sales and marketing. This allows the content and insights being created to be relevant to each individual buyer persona. As the teams innovate and optimise the campaign, the results become even more predictable.
4) Reduce Sales Cycle Time:
The biggest negative with non-ABM marketing is the focus on lead generation which, even with an Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) criteria in place, will be handing the sales team a number of leads that simply won’t close into customers. The result is that the sales team need to spend time nurturing these leads and eliminate from their pipeline when they don’t respond to their outreach., this is simply a waste of resources which could be better employed elsewhere.
As your sales team are only spending their time speaking to good-fit accounts, they are not wasting time on passive buyers. They will be speaking to companies who have engaged with content and shown intent already.
This allows your sales team to cut back on the time they spend nurturing leads that won’t become customers, and spend more time on the ones that will, this in turn, reduces the time between first connect call and closed sale.
5) ABM Strengthens Your Relationship With Existing Customers:
Customer retention is vital to your business growth, so it is important to appreciate that good ABM is not just for lead generation or finding prospective new customers, it is also a superb approach to client engagement and customer nurturing.
Your customer service and support team are at the heart of this, but effective ABM also allows your marketing and sales teams to become an equal part of it by strengthening the relationship with each individual client, at every contact.
The mere act of networking with more people across a customer’s business, will naturally open up more upsell and cross-sell opportunities, as needs are uncovered. The constant conversations and relationship building greatly increases the chances that the customer will renew their contract at the end of the term or refer other businesses to you.
6) ABM Drives Natural Alignment Between Your Marketing, Sales and Service Teams:
As discussed earlier, the relationship between your marketing, sales and service teams is critical in aligning how your business markets and sells with how your modern business buyer researches and buys your product or services.
Traditionally each were in their own “silos”, rarely talking to each other. Marketing focused on the “top of the funnel”, raising awareness and interest with potential customers, driving lead generation where sales focused on “middle of the funnel” closing these leads and customer acquisition to produce revenue. Finally, service and support would focus on the “bottom of the funnel” with their efforts on retention and hopefully turning a few happy clients into advocates for your business.
Not now, effective account-based marketing naturally aligns all teams, with marketing knowing exactly who they are marketing to, providing a volume and quality of lead to the sales team, sales can feed back to marketing the questions and concerns they are hearing from prospects and service can send out surveys and provide feedback, customer testimonials, reviews and case studies from customers to support marketing and sales.
At DME we are experts in helping B2B business to grow better, through inbound marketing and sales tactics that work. We can help you realise the benefits of account-based marketing and add it to your marketing strategy for greater results.
We can help your business to plan and execute your next Account-Based Marketing campaigns, to drive 20 – 30% year on year growth in traffic, leads, customers and revenue.
Content marketing helps you provide content focused on creating, publishing and distributing content intended for your target audience, all of which is rotted in content creation. In the age of instant information, customers have become savvy to the traditional techniques used by salespeople and are tired of them. People simply don’t have the time to answer your cold call or to look at your marketing emails. Even if they did, people have wised up to these outbound methods.
That’s where content marketing comes into play – 93% of customers start their buying decisions online. If they come across your content and you are the first to add real value and insight to their buying journey, then they are more likely to choose your product or service.
They want information on their terms. When they want it. Not when you do. Read more about inbound marketing here.
What is content marketing ?
Content marketing is a strategic marketing and business approach. It focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. Sounds great, right?
It’s not a new approach, either. Taken in the most literal sense, the first instance of content marketing can be dated all the way back to 4200 BC with cave wall paintings on how to stay protected from wild boars. The cave paintings were left to help future visitors to the cave, with no immediate or obvious benefit to the kind, prehistoric people who created the paintings. They were just simply helping whoever their audience happened to be.
That is what you, as a current or aspiring content marketer, should be aiming to do. Helping your visitors and customers in a way which adds value. Leave them with the feeling that they have been educated on a topic, not belittled. By doing this, you should build long-lasting, trusting relationships with your customers who may even recommend you to others. Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth.
Even if you weren’t the right fit for them in the first instance, the good impression you leave makes them more likely to come back if they ever need your services.
But without content you’d have nothing concrete to deliver, especially online, thus missing out on these opportunities. You wouldn’t start a business with no products or services to deliver. So why create websites and social media pages and then leave them with little or no fresh content?
Content marketing provides you with a great opportunity to attract customers at a relatively low cost in a relatively quick manner, all while organically growing your business. Blogs are a really good place to begin as they are efficient and effective.
The content on your online platforms can play a key role in moving customers through the inbound methodology stages. You are essentially communicating without having to sell to your customers. Moving them through the attract, convert, close and delight stage without ever placing massive pressure on them to buy.
Besides the obvious benefits of increasing leads and improving reputation, content marketing is also massively beneficial to your business growth as it can be constantly observed. A content management systems (CMS) can show you everything from which posts are viewed the most to what generates the most leads and everything inbetween. HubSpot, BrightLocal and Google Analytics are some good tools for this. Have a look around and see what best suits your business.
So, how can you incorporate a content marketing plan into your wider business goals?
As with most long-term strategies, it is best to first make your overall content marketing goals SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely) so that you can observe the scalability of your efforts. It will help provide long-term vision and short-term motivation. Once you have decided your aims and ambitions, move onto identifying your buyer personas.
Creating a clear buyer persona is important to your content creation process as you want to provide content which is going to best target your intended audience. You don’t have to stick to just one persona. Create ones that fit your largest target demographics, but don’t create so many that the creation process becomes over-complicated and cluttered.
The final piece of the jigsaw to establishing your content marketing plan is to complete an audit or assessment on your business’ initiatives and assets. This will help you to assess all the marketing assets you have while also identifying gaps for improvement.
To do this, split your approach into two sections. Content audit and events audit. Your content audit should look at all the content you already have so that you can collect it in one place and sort through the good and the bad. Some tips to finding your hidden content are:
Check your file manager or marketing folder
Check your websites or your post section on WordPress
Ask your sales team what collateral they use
Check in with employees to see if they have any content that could be used
If you have one, check the CRM and CMS systems to see if there is any content which performs exceedingly or is underwhelming
Once this is done, move onto your events audit to ensure that your content creation is relevant and sustainable to your long-term goals. You could do this by organising:
Your upcoming priorities by month
Your initiative overviews
Your prospective blog post topics based on buyer personas
Your inbound marketing campaign that ties your efforts together
While people will be working on individual content pieces, ensuring that everyone communicates and interacts with each other about their pieces is important to reaching your long-term goals. It is also a useful way to help improve the content being produced. Try to create an open-minded atmosphere where constructive criticism doesn’t cause affront and is instead welcomed.
So now you know the benefits of content marketing and content creation, what it brings to your business and how to do it; what are you waiting for? Go create some content!
Recent studies reveal that 73% of marketers plan to increase their account-based marketing (ABM) budgets this year. They’re obviously seeing clear benefits. Since this is the case, should you be considering account-based marketing for your business?
Before we dive in and look at those benefits in more detail, here’s a quick recap of what we mean by the term ‘account-based marketing’. According to HubSpot it is:
“Account-based marketing is a focused growth strategy in which Marketing and Sales collaborate to create personalised buying experiences for a mutually-identified set of high-value accounts.”
ABM, unlike traditional inbound marketing, seeks to identify and interact with actual decision-makers within specific companies. By focusing efforts on these prospects (accounts), and interacting with them at all touchpoints (with relevant content and programs), potential customers are progressed along the path to purchase. You can read our blog post What is Account-Based Marketing here.
The 4 key Benefits Of Account-Based Marketing
1. ABM requires sales and marketing to fully align
It’s fair to say that there’s often a certain amount of ‘friction’ between sales and marketing teams. In an ABM scenario however, things have to change. The two teams must work in harmony – entailing a new cross-collaboration that can only benefit an organisation. We discuss this in detail in our Step By Step Guide To Account-Based Marketing article in detail.
To run an effective ABM campaign sales and marketing have to be on the same page in terms of goals and strategy. Both teams need to work to mutually-agreed budgets – and understand their roles in terms of identifying and nurturing prospects.Only by working closely and transparently together can they deliver relevant communications consistently to end users.
An example of good collaboration
As marketing identifies the best leads high up the sales funnel these are sent to sales. The sales teams can then save up to 50% of time previously spent on unproductive prospecting.
Given that leads are more qualified to start with, sales agents will also find they’re 67% better at closing deals after synchronising their activities with the marketing team; leading to a higher return on investment, and boosting the bottom line.
2. ABM makes it easier to get to grips with the data and metrics
As with direct marketing ABM is a precise, targeted and accurate process – far more so than with general outbound marketing. Using a customized ABM technology stack (e.g a content management system,analytics solution, email automation tool etc.) it’s easy to track progress and capture the metrics that matter.
These metrics don’t just relate to conversions and lead generations – but account-specific information including impressions, engagement levels and brand sentiment.
Because ABM involves dealing with a smaller set of carefully targeted accounts, marketers find it easier to draw conclusions ( as opposed to comparing a vast set of metrics from a generic marketing campaign). With clearer goals set for specific accounts it’s quicker and easier to see if efforts are paying off – and in particular which accounts are rewarding you with high ROIs.
“These metrics allow you to zero in on and convert the best-fit accounts for your business”
3. ABM gives a higher return and out performs all other marketing investment
Research by ITSMA reveals that 87% of marketers measuring ROI (Return on Investment) say that ABM out performs all other marketing investments. By focusing on one target account and putting your resources there, you’re not wasting money on anything other than moving a prospect further down the path to action.
For example, rather than spending £50,000 on a generic branding campaign your aim will be to create smaller, specific campaigns towards engaging key decision makers.
This generally leads to a shorter sales cycle. As you’re marketing to your most attractive target accounts you’re eliminating unqualified prospects early on. By focusing on the accounts most likely to convert this saves time and lowers risk.
4. ABM is highly personal
A study by McKinsey found that personalisation reduces acquisition costs by as much as 50%. And ABM is all about personalisation.
Rather than interrupting your target audience with irrelevant messages, ABM campaigns provide users with highly relevant information that’s customised specifically to them.
Because your content is aligned with your target audience, that audience is more likely to engage with you. People appreciate a personal touch – it makes them feel valued and gives them the sense that you understand their problems and, therefore, quite possibly have the solution to them.
ABM is not only a valuable lead-generating strategy but works well with other demand generation and inbound marketing campaigns to add increased layers of personalisation. This means even more opportunities to start valuable sales conversations.
Just as the ad men of the 1950’s famously wined and dined their key clients (accounts) to keep them engaged, account-based marketing strives to build and maintain relationships with customers.
As you can see the benefits of Account-based marketing in the digital age are numerous, but the main advantage is the data – there to help you identify, nurture and keep the attention of the right people at the right time.