Account-Based Marketing: Not Just a Channel
by Jonathan Agoot
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, business-to-business (B2B) companies have been forced to adapt through digital means. Sales and marketing teams needed to find a way to continue engaging their customers and prospects amid lockdowns and new COVID-19 variants. One of those ways is account-based advertising (ABA). The primary reason ABA is successful is the fact that ads can be directly served to most businesses around the world through account-based marketing (ABM) platforms that utilize IP addresses, cookies, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning to leverage a unique and purpose-built advertising network for B2B only. While this method of advertising is highly accurate and highly scalable, most businesses can achieve a higher return on investment (ROI). This blog series on ABM will focus on the full scope of what ABM can offer.
Part 1: An Introduction to ABM
Account-based marketing is a go-to-market strategy used by B2B marketers and sales teams to acquire new account leads that are likely to turn into sales opportunities, while also increasing the lifetime value of already existing customers through account expansion. ABM can be used across many industry sectors, and healthcare is a space that can truly benefit from the platform’s offerings. In a fast-evolving and over-saturated digital ecosystem, targeted and more efficient ABM can help healthcare marketers overcome the many obstacles faced when working with HCP time constraints, shrinking brand budgets, and lack of data-mining resources.
So, what can ABM do for your healthcare products? You should consider implementing an ABM strategy for your brand’s overall marketing campaign if you’re:
- looking to improve win rates and marketing efficiency, and increase revenue
- fed up with your competitors acquiring potential customers before you do
- seeing competitors that are slowly expanding their influence and reach across your existing customer base
The Components of an ABM-Centric Commercial Engine
Perhaps it would be beneficial to first explain what an ABM-centric commercial engine is and then map out the different components that enable ABM to support your health brand’s business strategy.
The Customer Journey and Experience
With ABM, the entire customer journey and experience can be highly personalized through technology, data, and insights.
- Identify: ABM platforms identify accounts through IP addresses, cookies, proprietary data, and AI. This technology significantly reduces the guesswork in identifying target accounts.
- Deliver: Some ABM platforms have purpose-built B2B ad networks with their identification technology embedded, which means your target accounts will see your brand’s ads, thereby reducing inefficiencies in ad spending. ABM platforms can also orchestrate and automate the delivery of personalized content through multiple channels, such as social media networks, emails, and individualized website content.
- Engage: Personalized content and engagement are the keys to success with long-term brand loyalty. By utilizing ABM, we can deliver personalized content throughout the many stages of the customer journey (even before a visitor fills out a web form), which means the likelihood of your targeted accounts engaging with your brand is increased.
- Measurement and Insights: Analyzing offline and online channel performance from both sales and marketing aspects and sharing these insights regularly with each team to ensure both are fully informed can help reinforce and optimize ABM’s impact.
- Optimize: To keep this high-performing engine running efficiently, tweaks and tests on various parts of the engine are made consistently throughout the process. These adjustments can include updating account lists, shifting media spend to different accounts or lists, and testing or changing content and ads.
Organization, Orchestration, and Automation
- We’re all aware that marketing and sales teams work together and dedicate their combined efforts and resources to targeting a specific account list. The ABM platform delivers insights to both groups to keep track of an account’s progress throughout the brand’s journey and life cycle stages (ie, awareness, engagement, conversion, pipeline, and retention).
- Most ABM platforms leverage integrations and automation where possible to reduce manual labor, accelerating operations that can result in decreased costs and increased agility. Think of it like this—“ABM is always on and working, even while you sleep!”
- Some ABM platforms also have orchestration capabilities. When other platforms like customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation systems (MAS) are integrated with the ABM platform, triggers can be sent to both platforms for automated actions.
- Automations are enabled by conditional logic (ie, if this company is consuming this content, do XYZ) and AI to detect when accounts are ready to have personalized content delivered across multiple channels, or to notify a sales rep or team to follow up on a prospect because the accounts are increasing their engagement with your brand.
Technology Enablement, Data, and Platforms
There are ABM platforms that can easily integrate with your healthcare marketing and sales technology, such as CRMs and MAS. These platforms, combined with ABM platforms, are designed to conduct specific account-level approaches to targeting, engaging, and converting potential accounts into customers. The process starts by identifying accounts based on their potential value, and then incorporating the data and technology to achieve the desired results for your brand—engagement and increased revenue.
ABM is not technology, software, or a vendor. It’s not singularly focused on targeting/picking the right accounts or launching ads or emails to specific accounts. These are components that will help to support your ABM-centric business strategy.
What Makes ABM So Effective?
There are many reasons ABM is effective. A few examples include:
- It enables the marketing and sales teams to work together on a mutually agreed-upon target account list. This reduces wasteful spending of time, efforts, and resources going after accounts that may not be in market for your product or solution.
- Reduced guesswork. Because ABM platforms can identify many businesses at scale without form submissions or log-ins, this allows teams to focus on what really matters—reducing the guesswork and identifying those accounts that are already engaged.
- Reduced noise. Account-based data and insights help you prioritize which accounts are worth targeting and reduce the noise in a heavily saturated marketplace. Implementing opportunity qualification criteria can further separate and highlight the true opportunities for your brand.
- An accelerated sales pipeline. The customer journey is constantly monitored so that marketing and sales teams can take automated and calculated actions at every step, which can help move things along more smoothly and expediently.
- Scaled personalization. Because you can identify your targets, you can scale and personalize communications to be more specific about which messaging and content can and should be deployed, at the optimal time and where the customers are most likely to best receive the message.
Account-based marketing transforms how B2B marketers and sales teams acquire new accounts that are likely to turn into opportunities, and increases the lifetime value of existing customers through account expansion. Because it is targeted and more efficient, ABM helps marketers and sales to overcome the challenges of constrained time, budget, and resources in a fast-evolving digital ecosystem while being in a pandemic-induced disrupted marketplace. ABM helps to improve your win rates, marketing efficiency, and revenues.
Stay tuned for part 2 where I will explain buyer-intent data and the benefits of coupling it with ABM.