Accounts based marketing uses a company’s sales and marketing resources likewise. It makes the combined teamwork upon every particular target account with personalized campaigns. Data for account based marketing plays an extremely important role in preparing these intended campaigns.
Hence, ABM differs from traditional B2B marketing which operates by directing its marketing strategy at a random set of accounts blindly depending on blanket campaigns aimed at an entire market.
ABM relies on flipping the marketing funnel. It concentrates on potential narrowed-down accounts and builds a strategy taking into account different perspectives from all the involved people. Even though a majority of marketers accept the value of implementing ABM based strategy, the problem that arises is the health of data available to them which is majorly cited as unreliable.
Account based marketing in one word is fundamentally “data-driven”. To make a successful ABM strategy the data required needs to be accurate, organized and analytical.
The Need For Accounts Based Marketing
In traditional marketing, only a very few leads turn into potential revenue-generating customers. The statistics from Forrester Research concluded that less than one percent of potential leads actually turned into value-based customers.
A majority of marketers are using the same tactics on the same set of people or leads.
The option of email marketing worked well until spam filters and the legal requirement of unsubscribe options were introduced. Only if you do it smartly, you can ace it with the emails.
Content marketing initially looked very promising until it became the trend for everyone in the industry. Inbound marketing shows results but it takes a very long time.
In contrast with these traditional tools of marketing, ABM shows a direct positive relationship with the company’s Return on Investment (ROI) quotient.
Marketing exclusively to individuals is a time consuming unproductive erratic approach. However, marketers adopting the ABM approach are statistically more competent and successful than their peers. According to ITSMA, about 84% of B2B marketers are of the opinion that ABM results in higher ROI.
Apart from higher ROI, ABM advantages also encompass an improved and more productive customer experience, better effective campaigns and improved sales & marketing alignment. ABM angles its entire strategy on personalization by offering extremely pointed information and content to the profiles of each account which revolves around their specific problems. This brings about a smooth unique buying experience for the customers. Also, by targeting only specific accounts ABM ensures that only the most intended sales-ready buyers are a part of the funnel where the marketer’s efforts are getting concentrated.
All this is only possible with the help of a good strong data base.
How Data Impacts ABM Strategy
ABM strategy is an account-targeting strategy catering to the customers’ experience and converting them into revenue-generating patrons. The first step towards ABM is hence the knowledge of the market in which the company operates. This knowledge can further be broken down into:
- Data research and preparation
- Enhancement/Enrichment of Data
- Understanding the undercurrents of the market
All the information relating to the company and its business from the CRM, billing systems, marketing platform, sales and support database, etc needs to be consolidated and summarized both concisely and analytically.
This data then needs to be enriched with in-depth customer and contact information by using tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Clearbit, Avention, etc. These tools enrich the data with firmographics and unique data points to provide an all-round picture of potential contact and customers.
The more insider knowledge about things like expansion, legal issues, sales pitch, etc the better equipped you are to make informed decisions about the potentiality of a contact.
Finally, data visualization tools help by showing segments that have strong opportunities to grow which in turn helps to align the sales and marketing team on target accounts.
Interesting read: Account Based Marketing (ABM) For B2B Manufacturing Companies
Types Of Data Required In ABM
To make ABM possible, firstly, data is required to enable potential target accounts recognition. ABM strategy begins with the account selection. All three key points namely Revenue, Location and Industry needs to be combined in order to make the most optimal selection.
Further, the customer and contact data have to be analyzed from a potential revenue-generating perspective.
An Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) needs to be developed for this purpose which details the critical characteristics of the most important accounts and prospects. ICP creation, in turn, requires behavioral and demographic data points. Therefore the ICP development hinges solely on the availability of good quality data.
Next, we need to identify common grounds between the profile and contact database to include analytical points like the industry, revenue generation, location, budget allocation, the technology used, the purchasing power and company size.
The entire ABM strategy hinges on the account targeting process. If the accounts targeted are wrong then the entire strategy fails even before taking off making it crucial that the marketers have access to high-quality data at every point.
The next important point of focus for ABM is Account Coverage. It refers to the marketer’s ability to recognize, infiltrate and utilize a large number of potential prospective accounts. This quotient is one of the decisive factors in the strategy success meter.
The strategy is to have umbrella target accounts with the contact leads data for better customer conversion rate and revenue generation. The marketers need to ensure that both the number of target accounts as well as the rate of conversion of contacts within those accounts is high.
For the purpose of optimal account coverage two types of data are required:
- Contact data: To even reach the key potential customers we, first of all, need their accurate contact information. For the upper-level stakeholders, access to their direct dial information is critical. Without this information getting in touch with your primary targets will become difficult and cumbersome preparing the ABM strategy for failure.
- Company organization data: This data pertains to the information about the company’s decision-making process and its hierarchy. An organization chart can be created to showcase the company’s primary stakeholders and their relevant standing in the business structure.
Further, data is required for sales and marketing alignment.
ABM is not restricted to either sales or marketing. It focuses on the collaborative result of both sales and marketing where both these aspects are equally responsible for the end result.
The goals of both the sales and marketing teams have to align. If the sales team is focused solely on generating revenue and the marketing team is focused on lead generation then the strategy will fail because of disengagement between the two.
Data for account based marketing is required to make these two brackets of business fall on the same page and be in a productive relationship. For the ABM strategy to run smoothly, the sales team needs to share its key information points with the marketing team and vice versa. And hence the company needs to run systems and databases that are integrated with each other.
Integrative tools would include either recording and storing data in the same silos or at least synced, so both sales and marketing have access to the same data. Similar metrics and dashboards need to be maintained by both the teams so that they can be working towards the same goal.
Lastly, communication between the teams has to be open, clear and unbiased for a successful ABM strategy.
It should always be kept in mind that ABM campaigning is a time-consuming strategy. Hence the company monitoring has to be leveraged to keep on top of any potential impactful activity. This would again require data collection and monitoring at the point of contact of the company.
No Data or Bad Data For Account Based Marketing – Irrelevant
Account-Based Marketing success is therefore hinged on timely accurate company information and data pertaining to the same. Every stage of the ABM process right from the accounts selection to identifying key contacts to sales and marketing pitch alignment requires productive data collection and execution with in-depth contact and account insight. An effective ABM process is both needs and engagement-driven.
Implementation without good account selection is a waste of effort. Similarly, improper sales and marketing alignment causes opportunity wastage. Every stage requires insight and understanding of the account in question. ABM can provide a good playground for the sales and marketing teams to work on the target audience but it needs to be supported with high-quality data.
Also, the accuracy and quality of the records and data need to be timely tracked and updated.
Hence, every step of the ABM strategy requires careful analysis of the available data and the ultimate result of the strategy hence is solely dependent on the quality of such data.
The more effective the data the better the success rate of ABM strategy employed and vice-versa.
Originally published on February 25, 2020. Updated on February 10, 2022.