New Research Report: The B2B Buying Journey Is Not Linear

July 21, 2022 | Blog, Resources

“Marketers Roadmap to Mature Omnichannel Account-Based Experiences” provides strategies to move from linear campaigns to everything, everywhere, all at once.

For decades, marketers have described the B2B sales process as linear. Prospects enter a funnel and move along a narrowing pipeline. They travel a path to purchase. 

To reflect this reality, marketing campaigns and the technologies that support them are designed around linear progression. Buyer actions trigger automated email campaigns containing progressively more detailed messages. Prospects are automatically targeted for contact by inside sales teams after a set number of digital interactions. 

But digitization and the increasing complexity of enterprise operations have exploded this linear view. For one, the majority of buying groups include four or more decision makers, and fully 23% – more than 1 in 5 – number 7 participants or more, according to DemandGen Report’s 2022 B2B buyer study. Given the large group sizes, it’s not surprising that decision-making takes longer than ever, and  77% of buyers say their last purchase was complex or difficult, according to Gartner.

ABM marketing is ideal for this complexity, given its foundation in personalization. So far, most ABM marketing programs fail to hit the mark. Fewer than a quarter of ABM practitioners say their programs contribute significant revenue to the bottom line, according to MRP and Demand Metric research. In contrast, 38% say their programs are unknown, unmeasured, or negative.

The remedy is to step up the agility and orchestration of ABM initiatives to match the complexity of the B2B buyer journey, according to “The Marketer’s Roadmap to Mature Omnichannel Account-Based Experiences,” a new report from MRP and DemandGen Report. 

The report describes how ABM leaders have adapted to new buying behaviors such as “looping” to repeat or update steps of the evaluation process; using multiple digital channels simultaneously for research; and conducting the vast majority of research independently – vendor sales rep meetings make up only 17% of buying groups’ time, Gartner found. 

Successful ABM marketers have adapted their programs to this non-linear environment. Among their strategies:

  • Cross-functional ABM teams with on-the-ground expertise. MRP’s research shows that high-performing enterprise marketers have bigger ABM teams to match prospects’  bigger buying teams. In addition to sales and marketing generalists, subject matter experts (such as product managers and regional leads) and business intelligence/data specialists can contribute valuable insights that help align campaigns to current conditions. 

  • Highly orchestrated data management. ABM teams succeed when they have complete visibility into how accounts engage with their brand across channels and lines of business. Leveraging existing first-party data for existing customers is an essential capability for enterprise companies. Combining third-party signals from new prospects with technographic and firmographic data can strengthen messaging. MRP found that high-performing organizations are 2.5X more likely to have deep integrations in their tech stack.

  • Align content to buyers’ needs at the moment. To deliver the right content at the right time, successful ABM programs develop and revise a wide range of content tailored to each target account’s evolving needs along the buyer journey. Compared with lower-performing peers, more than twice as many ABM leaders have a library of content to serve specific target-account goals. This content is influential, with 84% of B2B buyers in DemandGen Report’s survey stating it informs buying decisions, and 68% communicating demonstrated knowledge of specific company needs was a crucial deciding factor.

Download “The Marketer’s Roadmap to Mature Omnichannel Account-Based Experiences” for a 10-step roadmap to enterprise ABM success, along with case studies from top performers. Schedule a demo to see how MRP’s global enterprise ABM platform can help your company navigate today’s complex environment.

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