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Is ABM A Fad?

1millerAt a recent industry event, the above question was posed by marketers and industry observers, who wondered out loud where the account-based marketing train was actually headed. It’s certainly a question worth pondering, especially as the marketing-tech world has become awash with buzz-worthy new technologies promising all manner of sales, revenue and AI-powered Nirvana.

Marketo Unveils Expanded ABM Offerings, New UI At Marketing Nation Summit

Marketo announced new features to its ABM offering designed to better align marketing and sales teams on account data, as well as enhance account engagement across channels. The company also unveiled new user interface (UI) updates to its marketing engagement platform, which the company states will help customers better analyze and leverage behavioral data obtained through their marketing initiatives.

ABM + AI = True One-To-One Marketing

PeterAccount-based marketing (ABM) has become a powerful way for B2B marketers to connect with their most valuable customers and prospects, and many companies are beginning to implement it throughout the organization. The latest buzz around artificial intelligence (AI), and the combination of AI and ABM, are intriguing to many marketing organizations as well, but the process of combining the two can be intimidating.

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Compelling Retention Messaging Strategy Boosts ABM Efforts

If the goal of account-based marketing is about acquiring and retaining the best long-term customers within organizations, the customer story you tell includes two crucial parts—the acquisition message (why change from what you’re doing today?) and the retention message (why stay with us now and in the future?).

Study: Lead Quality Top Objective, SEO & Email Main Revenue Growth Channels For B2B Marketers

Lead quality is the top objective in 2017 for digital marketers, according DemandWave’s 2017 State Of B2B Digital Marketing study. Close to half (48%) of respondents chose cultivating sales-qualified leads compared with raw leads, which was named this year’s toughest challenge.

The study also revealed nearly half of respondents expect to invest more in digital marketing this year, while only 6% expect a decrease in budget. DemandWave surveyed 200 B2B marketing professionals.

The top channel for revenue growth is tied between SEO and email. While email retains its throne as a top channel for revenue gains (63%), marketers are paying attention to the financial gains of SEO as well.

hile respondents indicated ROI is still among the top challenges, 22% named ROI as the number one metric they use to measure performance—a 77% increase from last year.

“Once a mystery, tools like attribution models are finally offering clarity,” per study. “Perhaps the ability to better track marketing efforts is also contributing to a fresh sense of confidence in digital, and therefore leading to larger budgets.”

Other findings in the study include:

  • While blogs and videos are the most popular forms of content for marketers, 40% said white papers produce the most revenue. (Last year’s top revenue driver—webinars—finished a close second with 37% of the vote).
  • Despite account-based marketing hype, just 37% of respondents have tried or currently use ABM. Of those who use it, 42% say it’s effective, while 40% say they’re not sure.

6 Steps To Optimize Your Contact Data For ABM

Brian hession 1croppedWhether you have embarked on an ABM program or are planning to do so, you’ll realize that contact data issues are amplified with an account-based approach. With the spotlight on your that data, there is nowhere to hide. Sales and marketing will blitz your contact data, so now you need to worry about a lot more than just email deliverability. 

Think about it—you have a lot riding on these high-profile accounts, and the last thing you need is inaccurate, incomplete, or missing contacts holding you back. To ensure your efforts yield positive results, follow this six-step process to ensure your contact data is ready. 

Step 1: Identify Your Target Accounts

There are a number of different approaches that sales and marketing take to establish target accounts. A common one is based on firmographic criteria (i.e. company size and industry) and often supplemented with additional attributes, such as technology installs or buyer intent data. More advanced approaches include predictive analytics, which utilizes data and pattern recognition to identify the accounts with the highest propensity to buy. 

Step 2: Take Inventory Of Your Contacts

With the accounts identified, it’s time to pull together and assess all the contacts you have associated with these companies. No matter the number of contacts you have, are you confident they’re accurate? How are you going to deal with fractional records, like ones missing job title, phone numbers or email addresses? To get a handle on the state of your contact data, start with a Data Health Check. Most data providers or agencies offer them at no charge.

Step 3: Cleanse Your Contact Records

With insight from the health check, you can now strategically clean-up your contact data. First, consider suppressing contacts that are misaligned to your audience definition. It makes no sense to invest resources and time on contacts that play no role in the buying process. Second, apply real-time hygiene to the eligible contacts to isolate bad and problematic data. Lastly, fill in missing fields and enrich with attributes that provide a more complete view of the contact. 

Step 4: Understand The Size Of The Addressable Market

Now that your data is clean and complete, you need to map the buying committee—including decision makers, influencers, and end-users—within each account. With a contact gap analysis, you’ll learn the extent to which your house contacts align to your audience definition, and you’ll gain insight into the ones that you’re currently missing.

Step 5: Design A Contact Acquisition Strategy

With an understanding of the gaps within your database, you can design a contact discovery strategy to close the most important gaps first. The objective is to identify and acquire the contacts that constitute the buying committee within each account.

Step 6: Implement A Continual Contact Data Strategy

To increase ABM success, it’s imperative that your contact data management strategy is ongoing. You need to maintain a standard of accuracy with your house contacts while simultaneously seeking greenfield contacts as they become available.   

Optimizing your contact data for account-based marketing is a process that requires continual attention. You can gain a competitive advantage if you can improve the accuracy and completeness of your contact data while simultaneously ensuring you have identified the right people at each account. It’s this idea of establishing the buying committee that provides you the foundation to orchestrate plays that will build brand equity and revenue. Check out this brief video to learn more: 

Brian Hession is the President & Founder of Oceanos, where he helps companies design data management strategies that deliver smarter data, better marketing automation performance and more revenue.  Brian is a member of MOCCA Operations Board—the leading professional association dedicated to operational excellence in marketing operations—serving as Data & Information advisor.

Proof Introduces Analytics Platform To Measure Business Impact

Proof is a new platform designed to compute marketing and sales data—along with other inputs across the business—to reveal what’s “moving the needles” and how long it takes to move them, according to the company. The solution also can calculate attribution to help marketing and business leaders better understand and manage spend.

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