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B2B Marketers Use Predictive Tools To Boost Account-Based Marketing Results

While it is not a new strategy, account-based marketing has recently become a critical part of the marketing mix. More than 90% of marketers believe that account-based marketing is a “must-have,” according to SiriusDecisions’ 2015 State of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Study. While just 20% of respondents are currently using an ABM approach, 60% expect to adopt a targeted account approach over the next year, according to the survey.

"Account-based marketing has been a viable and successful strategy for B2B for the past decade, but the tools that are available now make it much more attractive to implement," said Megan Heuer, VP and Group Director at SiriusDecisions, in an interview with Demand Gen Report. "There is a greater opportunity to take advantage of ABM because today's technology makes it much less labor intensive."

To succeed at ABM, many savvy B2B marketers are relying on predictive analytics to focus on the accounts on their targeted list that are showing the highest propensity to buy. “The majority of ABM programs have a list of targeted accounts in the 500 to 2,000 range, so that is still a lot of activity that is hard to track manually,” said Heuer. “Predictive is the one thing that enables companies to scale their ABM efforts, something which was not possible even a few years ago.”

Demandbase, which offers an ABM platform, is using predictive tools to boost its own ABM strategy. “To accelerate our account-based marketing efforts, we required a scientific understanding of the highest value companies to target,” said Peter Isaacson, CMO of Demandbase. “By organizing our sales and marketing efforts around these high value accounts, we have better aligned our teams and significantly increased our pipeline.”

Using predictive tools from Lattice Engines, Demandbase identified the key characteristics of its closed accounts and late-stage pipeline. Armed with that data, the sales and marketing team then developed a list of target accounts. The result was a 75% increase in close rates and 72% increase in average selling price compared to accounts identified through traditional lead scoring tactics.

Demandbase measured the success of its ABM strategy using three metrics:

  • Annual Contract Value (ACV);
  • Close rate; and
  • Funnel velocity (i.e., how quickly an account moved from MQL to close).

“Where predictive can help in ABM is looking beyond the firmographic and demographic data to really identify the buying intent data of that account,” Nipul Chokshi, Head of Product Marketing for Lattice Engines. “Predictive can zero in on intent data such as participation in forums on third-party networks or when members of a buying committee at a targeted company download syndicated white papers, attend webinars, view videos and click on ads.”

Using buyer intent data is a critical component of predicting which accounts are more likely to purchase, according to observers. “If you have an account in which for the past few weeks, multiple contacts have been researching a new phone system and downloading white papers about new phone systems, that not only tells you if they meet your buyer criteria, but it tells you they’re in the market now,” said Alison Murdock, VP of Marketing for 6sense.

CSC, a provider of IT products and services, is piloting a predictive platform in partnership with 6sense to identify new buying intent within its strategic accounts as well as new business opportunities. CSC uses models and digital buying signals to understand if a specific targeted account is showing increased interest in a particular solution area. The marketing and sales teams then work together on a coordinated approach.

“ABM isn’t a choice; it’s a necessity,” said Nick Panayi, Director of Global Brand and Digital Marketing at CSC. “We have to go to market in a focused, highly targeted way. Our products and solutions are quite sophisticated, and we support mission critical environments in large customers and governments.”

Predictive Helps Improve Messaging To Targeted Accounts

Panayi noted that the company also offers content recommendations to all website visitors based on their digital body language, but those recommendations are even more accurate for targeted accounts. “How well you can predict a buyer’s behavior is a direct function of what you know about them. When it comes to ABM accounts, we clearly know more about their content consumption habits and are able to make more accurate predictions about the content that will engage them.”

Overlaying predictive analytics with other attributes of successful accounts can help marketers further target their messaging. “This has helped many of our clients have more fact-based and relevant conversations with their targeted accounts,” said Lattice’s Chokshi.

Chokshi noted that one client, a tech consulting firm, has used predictive tools to identify target accounts that have had a recent change in IT leadership. The firm then developed specific content for those specific accounts.

In another client example, Chokshi said a storage device manufacturer determined that companies that have recently invested in content management systems are more likely to buy than companies with other characteristics. They targeted those accounts with use cases around the role of storage needs and content management.

The future of ABM will likely involve tighter integration with CRM, marketing automation and additional tools for more precise ad targeting.

“We’re very excited about additional integration with marketing automation and some of the new things we’re seeing and new things from LinkedIn to help with targeted ads,” said Jessica Cross, VP of Marketing for Fliptop. “Anything to make those connection points work more seamlessly will make it easier to succeed at account-based marketing.”

Lattice Engines Supports Account-Based Marketing Tactics With New App

placeitLattice Engines launched its Lattice Account Prioritization application, a tool designed to support the shift in B2B marketing toward account-based marketing tactics. The app is intended to leverage predictive analytics to segment and target the right accounts in their campaigns and develop personalized messages that resonate with buyers.

The Account Prioritization application positions sales teams to prioritize outbound efforts with buying intent signals and predictive account scores. This information can then be used to personalize the conversations sales reps have with target accounts.

B2B Marketers Look To Expand Predictive Capabilities Throughout The Customer Lifecycle

PredictiveMarketingFeature imageWhile it has been a successful tool for top-of-funnel demand generation, predictive marketing is becoming more widely used by B2B marketers to improve engagement at all stages of the buying cycle. Companies such as Salesforce have launched new predictive marketing capabilities within their offerings, aiming to enhance the customer experience throughout the entire customer journey by embedding predictive capabilities within the marketing cloud.

Industry experts noted that the expansion of predictive beyond lead scoring and early-stage demand generation is a growing trend.

"Leaders, especially in marketing, need to be able to extract insights and make predictions based on existing and external data," said Meagan Eisenberg, CMO of MongoDB and former VP of Customer Acquisition and Marketing at DocuSign, in Demand Gen Report's 2015 Marketing Automation Outlook Guide. "Marketers also need to create efficiencies in the follow up of leads using predictive analytics and modeling to create a better scoring methodology to focus on opportunities most likely to turn into customers."

Salesforce Adds Predictive Component To Marketing Cloud

Salesforce logo newSalesforce launched Predictive Decisions for the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, which is designed to provide users with access to data intelligence from their CRM and marketing databases to increase conversions and engagement.

The new platform is positioned to help marketers leverage data science to analyze customer engagement and proactively deliver new content, products or offers that bring relevancy and resonance to customers through any channel.

ScoutSource Joins Marketo LaunchPoint To Offer Customer Lifecycle Nurturing

Marketo ScoutServiceSource, a recurring revenue management platform and solutions provider, announced that its Scout platform is now available on the Marketo LaunchPoint app marketplace.

Scout's predictive analytics, along with Marketo’s automation capabilities, provides subscription-based businesses with the ability to create loyalty and increase customer lifetime value through user nurturing across the entire customer lifecycle.

As Big Data Evolves, B2B Marketers Focus On Data Management

big data shutterstock 121671508The growth of Big Data has not gone unnoticed by B2B marketers. In an annual study from Infogroup Targeting Solutions, 54% of marketers said they have already invested in Big Data. Up to 30% of marketers said they plan to invest in Big Data for the first time in the next two years.

Although Big Data has been a part of the lead generation and nurturing process for quite some time, many B2B marketers are still developing strategies for managing and leveraging the influx of information they are collecting on prospects.

Dreamforce Roundup: Revamped Marketing Cloud, Mobile And Predictive Analytics

Dreamforce logo

At Dreamforce, Salesforce debuted its revamped marketing hub — now dubbed Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud — as part of its Salesforce1 platform, a new set of technologies designed to deliver and integrate mobile versions of Salesforce-based applications.

The Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud is designed to integrate apps for email, mobile, social, web and marketing automation, into a single location. The marketing cloud also is designed to provide a consolidated view of every customer, help manage the customer journey and optimize content for every device.

Analysts who spoke with Demand Gen Report had mixed reactions to the new marketing cloud. Some pointed to a greater separation of B2B and B2C marketing tactics, while others saw it as bringing the two marketing disciplines closer together.

Vendors Combine Data And Databases With Predictive Analytics To Simplify Deployment

David RaabBy David M. Raab, Principal, Raab Associates

Predictive analytics has always seemed like a great tool for business marketers: a way to create better-targeted customer treatments without hours of painstaking research. Indeed, consumer marketers have used predictive models in this way for decades. The main obstacle for business marketers has been lack of data, since predictive models require thousands of observations to produce a reliable result.

Roundup: Eloqua AppCloud Growth, TrendSpottr Partners With

TrendSpottr, Unveil Analytics Integration

TrendSpottr, a provider of predictive analytics services, announced a partnership with

According to TrendSpottr, its real-time predictive analytics will now be available through the Salesforce Marketing Cloud; customers will access their analytics through either the Radian6 or Salesforce Marketing Cloud Dashboard.

TrendSpottr allows sales and marketing professionals to identify top trending links, hashtags and users from customers' topic profiles. It can also expand shortened links to reveal source domain and domain URLs, and it provides time-segmented analysis of top social media trends.

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