How to Accelerate ABM Impact Within the Enterprise

June 14, 2022 | Blog, Resources

Data-driven strategies for increasing time to market, pipeline, and revenue impact.

The B2B environment is incredibly complex, so it’s no surprise that more than three-quarters of B2B buyers describe their purchasing journey as very complex or challenging. A significant majority (67%) of the B2B buyer’s journey happens digitally, but B2B buying does not play out in any predictable, linear order. Unfortunately, much of today’s ABM technology lacks the capabilities required to provide personalized experiences across multiple channels, platforms, buying centers, geographies, and lines of business. This puts the target account into an undesirable linear campaign and assumes all accounts progress through the funnel at the same speed.

Instead, customers engage in “looping” behaviors during a typical B2B purchase, revisiting multiple buying stages at least once. Buying stages do not happen sequentially but rather simultaneously. This means that ABM success depends not only on a deep understanding of its audience’s needs but also on precisely orchestrating the delivery of the right message in the right channel at the right time – and on a global scale.

In the face of these complexities, ABM is rapidly maturing as a practice. New research shows that almost half (45%) of companies consider their ABM programs to be fully adopted versus experimental – up a third compared with 2020. But even as ABM programs mature, the headwinds of change are accelerating, leaving more than two-thirds of ABM marketers thwarted in their mission to drive significant revenue impact.

B2B marketers must contend with and overcome a slew of challenges that can feel beyond their immediate control. A recent study by Demand Metric and MRP found that more than three-quarters of marketers’ report that the pace of their campaigns has intensified over the past year. That percentage is higher still, at 83%, at enterprise companies that operate with high levels of complexity on a global scale. Four in ten marketers report that changing account profiles poses a challenge, as does the emergence of new channels and demand for new content formats.

Responsive buyer experiences and relevant content across channels have always been the top criteria for mature, high-performing, omnichannel account-based orchestrations. But much of today’s conversation revolves around linear, top-down campaigns, where the target account is placed in a marketing or sales play, operating within a siloed platform throughout the buyer’s journey. The result is often antithetical to the desired buyer “experience.” Addressing this reality requires rethinking how marketers engage with accounts.

The most mature account-based orchestrations are adaptive, understanding a target’s changing needs, aligning content to those desires, and delivering personalized experiences consistently across multiple channels. This demands a new approach to data management, better use of intent and predictive insights, and fully synchronized orchestration.

To make meaningful connections with prospects and customers amidst these changes, enterprise marketers are evolving their ABM initiatives to focus on highly personalized experiences tailored to the account level and individual locations and buyer roles. Increasingly, ABM leaders employ a set of principles and processes that are consistent from company to company – giving others a blueprint for success. The most critical steps for marketers to achieve significant results with their ABM programs include:

Collaborate Closely Across the Organization

Enterprise marketers must share insights widely across interdisciplinary teams. This allows campaigns to be coordinated across shared accounts. A study of top ABM performers found that nine in ten reported close cross-functional collaborations between marketing and sales. ABM leaders need to establish a standardized measurement framework so everyone is working toward the same goals and success.

Establish a Single Source of Truth

Not only are ABM leaders’ teams highly integrated, but so is their data. A single view of data allows for a deeper understanding of audience needs and improves collaboration. Eight out of ten (80%) top performers use data from three or more systems to guide their ABM practice, and even more, 84%, say that their tech stack is mostly or completely integrated. This is more than double the number (30%) of those whose ABM impact was negative or couldn’t be measured.

Deliver Messages Consistently – and Across Touchpoints

Successful ABM marketers can customize the buyer’s experience based on the specific product or solution under consideration and factor in their stage within the buying journey. Almost half of leading ABM practitioners (46%) go beyond personalizing messages by industry to adapt their messages to the recipient’s job role and stage of the customer lifecycle. Highly personalized content delivered at the right time is more critical than ever since customers often skip “steps” on the buying journey and require digital experiences to adapt accordingly.

Grasping at New Buzzwords Isn’t the Answer

Calling an initiative “ABX” instead of “ABM” doesn’t make it easier to execute successfully. In fact, in a rush to accelerate the delivery of ‘account-based experiences’, the platforms that support it have become a critical bottleneck, creating yet another siloed system. This not only adds to the complexity but also undermines the outcomes it is intended to improve.

Today’s B2B marketers face unprecedented challenges but the enterprise must approach ABM as a guiding strategy rather than a limited tactic. Synthesizing data across multiple sources, eliminating tech and people silos, and taking a collaborative approach to ABM can give marketers a deeper understanding of what target accounts need and where to deliver it. The right tech solutions can trigger omnichannel actions based on account insights, simplifying the complexity of ABM and executing mature, omnichannel orchestrations that have a measurable impact on revenue.

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