June 23, 2020
More companies are considering an account based marketing (ABM) approach, and for good reason. However, these companies are often hesitant to make a complete shift since they also rely on a current demand gen strategy that brings in a steady stream of leads to feed their sales team. The truth is that ABM and Demand Gen do not need to be a one-or-the-other decision. Both methods can complement each other in several ways, and when used in conjunction, can create a more comprehensive B2B marketing strategy that yields short term gains with long term ROI results.
First, it’s important to distinguish the main difference between the two. Essentially, ABM uses a highly targeted approach that focuses all its marketing and sales efforts only on a company’s ideal customer profile, whereas demand generation casts a wider net by engaging and interacting with more users as they move down in the funnel and essentially get qualified and move to sales. Each approach has its benefits and drawbacks, which is why complementing both strategies can be extremely beneficial.
Here are 4 ways to align ABM with Demand Generation while increasing their respective effectiveness:
Regardless if it’s ABM or demand gen, targeting is key in order to optimize your budget and see greater returns. Gone are the days that you can rely on mediocre targeting capabilities that mix your target audience with irrelevant look-alikes and users that “walk like” or “talk like” your ideal user, but end up being consultants or even competitors. To be successful in your marketing strategy, the starting point needs to be an accurately targeted audience that can be used as both your target account list (TAL) for your ABM efforts and your demand gen reach of your content and advertising efforts. Reliable data and targeting technologies will give a large pay-off since you are focusing your efforts on your ideal audience. Use solutions that can use your TAL for your demand gen channels or audience solutions that can create your ideal audience to focus all your marketing efforts on.
Traditional demand gen marketing is similar to a relay race. The marketing team creates campaigns to generate leads that are then handed off to sales for conversion. With ABM, the relationship between marketing and sales is expected to be more aligned. However, for any plan to be successful, both teams must be in sync. The strategy should be agreed upon and communicated beforehand, messaging should be ongoing and focused, content and offers should be audience-specific, and open communication lines as to what is working and what isn’t will be imperative.
If it all pans out, your sales and marketing teams will learn to work together effectively and should improve your overall campaign and sales performance.
Because you’re focusing on a targeted audience, your content and message must be customized to the users you’re targeting. The highly personalized user experience and messaging are what makes account-based marketing effective, but will benefit your demand gen efforts as well.
This is all about understanding your users. Firmographic and demographic data can provide insights. You need to know what their pain points are, what challenges they are facing, what engages and drives their decisions. You should also know what their business goals are and how your offer supports them. The cold, hard intel can help you create an offer and message that’s so tailored to the prospect that it’s hard to pass up. Looking at engagement and conversion metrics per offer and ad messaging gives you intel into which of your campaigns are yielding results and which are draining your budget. Platforms that show real-time performance metrics, such as Genly’s dashboard, show which offers and ads are converting into demos and wins which empowers the marketing team with integral insight and agility to optimize campaigns on the fly without needing to complete long cycles and programs while wasting valuable time and budget.
Don’t wait until the year is up to measure successes and failures. Constantly evaluate which offers and programs are yielding results and which aren’t. If you’re not getting a response from one campaign, move on and choose a new focus. For both your demand-generation and ABM campaigns, optimize, iterate, learn, change and toss out what’s not working.
Proper targeting, sales and marketing alignment, personalized messaging, and reliable attribution are all key to ensuring successful ABM and demand generation strategies. Combining both approaches while maintaining these tenets gives you more tools to work with and the ability to take advantage of both methods and increase your chances to see returns.
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