Consumer marketers aren’t the only ones segmenting and targeting their audiences in as many ways as will help reach the right customers and prospect at the right time. B2B marketers do so, too—but don’t always get the same attention for their efforts. In some cases this is because the emphasis is more on what’s happening with their sales counterparts; for example, strategic account sales—or, targeting specific organizations based on size, customer value, industry, and the like.
But as B2B buyers take more cues from their own B2C purchasing behaviors, B2B marketers need to think more about not only targeting the right customers, but also doing so in ways that support the sales team all along the purchase funnel. This is one reason that account-based marketing (ABM) is gaining renewed attention. According to research from LeanData, 85% of B2B companies in late 2014 were either beginning to use or were fully utilizing ABM.
“Account-based marketing is critical to B2B professionals,” says LeanData CMO Dan Ziman. “It clearly outlines the execution and measurement of marketing programs across the entire sales funnel that specifically create and influence opportunities in target, named, and strategic accounts.”
In other words, marketing that thinks in terms of specific customers and their relation to where they are in the sales funnel—in the sales organization’s terms. This can help with marketing performance, and can help nurture marketing and sales collaboration. “ABM helps improve marketing and sales alignment by executing and measuring programs against a distinct set or type of accounts that sales cares about the most,” Ziman says. “Additionally, marketing will be guided by measurements that show impact at the account level—such as opportunities created or influenced—as opposed to reporting marketing-centric information, such as lead volume, Web traffic, downloads, or views.”
Of course, Ziman sings the praises of ABM, since that’s LeanData focal point. The lead management solution is designed to match leads against contacts in a company’s CRM data to help remove some of the complexity from lead management and support activities like ABM. In fact, its spring release includes account-based nurturing, account-based reporting, and account alignment. The new capabilities are designed to help marketers improve reporting at both the campaign and the opportunity level, provide salespeople with a view into relevant campaign touches, and ensure that the right lead gets to the right rep. These capabilities include matching leads and contacts to opportunities; creating targeted email campaigns around account details such as sales stage, account owner, products owned, or customer type (e.g. strategic account); and “showing how leads generated and nurtured are touching active opportunities and customers,” Ziman explains. The new release also includes account-based nurturing for Marketo.
Echoing Ziman’s sentiment, Chandar Pattabhiram, VP, product and corporate marketing at Marketo, said in the news release about the LeanData product upate that account-based marketing will “help marketers be much more aligned with sales and revenue objectives, and have more engaging relationships with their audience.” Also in agreement with this view are the 33% of marketing and sales professionals that LeanData surveyed who say that a top benefit of ABM is marketing and sales alignment, as well as the 27% who agree that a key benefit of ABM is an increase in lead follow-up and conversion rates.