Overcoming Digital Fatigue: How Conversational ABM Can Confront The Marketing Oversaturation Problem

October 13, 2022 | Blog, In The Press, Resources

As Published By MarTech Series

Conversational interactions offer the opportunity to flex the full powers of ABM’s personalized approach while avoiding the potentially detrimental drawbacks of digital fatigue.

Conversational marketing is fast becoming a core offering for enterprise ABM marketers – but scaling the nuance and complexity of a human-to-human dialogue takes more than a chatbot app. Comprehensive orchestration across the enterprise, accelerated by the power of artificial intelligence (AI), is a must to achieve real-time conversations that are satisfying and effective.

Conversational modes are growing in popularity with B2B buyers, 22% of whom say they find tools such as live chat helpful on B2B vendor websites, according to Forrester Research. But scaling these capabilities proves difficult: Forrester found that three-quarters of marketers using chat employ automated chatbots, and 65% use virtual assistants – but these interactions often can stall in frustrating loops, reach dead ends, or devolve into outright nonsense. Or they can repeat or contradict messaging in other channels, making conversational marketing an isolated silo that does little to advance decision-making in buyer groups.

To avoid these awkward conversations, ABM practitioners need to marshal all the data at their command – not just within their teams but across organizations – and leverage the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to ingest, process, and interpret incoming signals in real-time. Forrester research has found that just a quarter of B2B marketers using chat combine it with AI to optimize conversational marketing dialogue.

But an algorithm is only as good as its data, teams, and processes. Research from MRP and Demand Metric found that fewer than a quarter of ABM initiatives earn significant revenue – and those leading practitioners share a set of common principles and practices that drive success.

To boost the success of conversational features, enterprise ABM marketers must orchestrate on multiple levels:

Connect interdisciplinary teams internally.

Enterprise companies operate globally and with multiple lines of business, which presents a uniquely complex orchestration challenge. Enterprise marketers who’ve achieved significant revenue impact with their ABM programs have overcome this hurdle through extensive collaboration, according to MRP and Demand Metric’s research: When compared with lower-performing companies, ABM leaders are nearly 6X more likely to have visibility into other internal teams’ engagement strategies, and ABM teams are more likely to be interdisciplinary, with 1.5X as many roles involved.

Connecting regional and subject-matter specialists with sales and marketing personnel – and syncing their efforts with teams company-wide – results in a significant upside. Enterprises that partner domain experts and generalists to develop and manage ABM programs are twice as likely to see significant revenue impact, MRP and Demand Metric found.

Connect conversations with prior interactions.

By the time B2B buyers begin a live conversation, they’ve likely already perused company websites, downloaded whitepapers, or even subscribed to email updates. Conversational exchanges must start wherever buyers have already traveled – providing context-aware information attuned to their industry, role, and stage in the buying journey.

To enable this precision, conversational interactions can’t occur in a vacuum. 6 in 10 ABM top performers have access to a full view of each target account across sales and marketing platforms, leading to a more accurate context for conversational exchanges, according to the MRP/Demand Metric research. This capability is still relatively rare: Forrester found that 58% of marketers can tailor chat conversations to individuals by name, half can adapt conversational content by persona, and fewer than a third can precisely align conversations by account (32%) or buying group (21%).

Enterprise marketers who can precisely target their conversational messaging – and back it up with bespoke content – can achieve significant gains in campaign effectiveness. One MRP customer, a global enterprise software business, saw the response to conversational ad campaigns improve more than 300% by tailoring messages and follow-up content to target three key customer sectors. Nearly 4 in 10 ABM leaders (38%) have this type of differentiated content library crafted to serve specific target-account goals – more than double the number of low performers who do so, MRP/Demand Metric’s research found.

Align different dialogue streams.

B2B buyers not only switch from desktop to mobile devices and among digital channels such as apps and email; they also simultaneously use different conversational modes in their interactions with enterprise vendors. Mobile apps, virtual event platforms, social media, and email are each used by more than 4 in 10 enterprise B2B marketers for conversational interactions, Forrester found.

Additionally, cross-selling across the enterprise can leverage existing customer support and account management conversations to uncover intent signals and trigger relevant offers. Connecting these exchanges with sales and marketing activities can be a powerful means to discover relevance in adjacent lines of business or new regional priorities.

Add unstructured conversations to the data dialogue.

While enterprise companies are increasingly adapting to the digital-first economy, one-to-one account management still rules the day, which means sales team members often communicate with customers via individual emails and telephone conversations. Thanks to AI, the contents of these unstructured one-to-one interactions can now be captured and parsed into meaningful data that can be factored into predictive insights and used to personalize automated campaigns. Tools can extract topics, sentiment, and specific details from email text and voice recordings and even capture whether an email was forwarded, giving marketers a new incoming data stream.

This information-rich content can be used to craft new inside sales techniques, online chat scripts, and content offerings to improve the quality and relevance of future campaigns.

Conversational ABM offers enterprise marketers a rich opportunity to connect with prospects and customers. With a solid foundation built on connected data and collaborative practices, ABM teams can confidently start conversations that inform, assist, and persuade – establishing the foundation of trust that drives sales and loyalty.

 

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