It's not just about leads anymore

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Greg Ott
Greg Ott

B-to-b marketers are the gurus of lead generation, nurturing campaigns and measuring actions to develop marketing qualified leads (MQLs). Yet, revenue-focused companies realize they need support from multiple people within a prospective company to close a sale. When was the last time you sold to just one person at an account? In the coming year, b-to-b marketers must shift to account-based marketing — online and offline — moving away from delivering individual leads to delivering qualified accounts.

Both consumer and b-to-b buyer activity has shifted online, but most lead generation tools remain rooted in b-to-c applications, tracking an individual's behavior. In reality, b-to-b differs from consumer marketing. The fastest path to revenue will come from focusing on companies that offer high potential, e.g., quality traffic to your entire site.

Knowing that the end goal is to sell products and services to a company, b-to-b marketers must understand how specific companies respond to campaigns and engage with Web content to follow up with the logical next action or specific content. Scoring by account activity and qualifying by account will help the sales team focus, shorten the sales cycle and ultimately close deals. For the marketer, maximizing account engagement 
will mean taking an account-based approach to driving, converting and analyzing Web and campaign metrics.

Making the adjustment to marketing qualified accounts (MQA), rather than leads is not difficult, and it will drive significantly better alignment between marketing and sales. Here are a few suggestions that will get you on your way:

n Determine the profile of your best accounts. Talk to sales or analyze CRM data to produce account segmentation for current customers and prospects.

n Use tools to identify the Web traffic on your site. Analyze your website traffic by account using new technology to identify visitors and determine patterns by company.

n Target and measure programs to the accounts that matter. As you move forward, use digital marketing's capabilities to target messages to engage companies with the right content at the right time.

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