As ABM continues to pull in all parts of B2B organizations, marketers are constantly looking for new methods of collaboration to keep their workflows and tech stacks working toward a unified goal. Additionally, companies are seeking innovative ways to keep accounts engaged while standing out from the digital noise and their competition.
#B2BMX: Next-Level ABM highlighted these growing trends during the Wednesday keynotes and sessions, with many practitioners and vendors sharing their personal experiences with ABM alignment and creating novel strategies for engaging key accounts.
The opening keynote presented by Terminus’ Sangram Vajre and panelists Darryl Praill of VanillaSoft and James Gilber of CRMNext explored the future of ABM and how collaboration can increase operational efficiency to help sales reps drive revenue in multiple channels. The day closed out with a CMO panel keynote that explored the new realities and priorities of CMOs in a hybrid B2B world, with a focus on data collection and personalized engagement.
Boosting ABM With Collaboration & Multichannel Engagement
The morning keynote kicked off with Vajre, Praill and Gilbert discussing ABM’s evolution with an emphasis on the continued need for a unified organization.
One of the biggest takeaways was the pitfalls of inaccurate account lists. ABM relies heavily on accurate account lists to help sales reps determine how, when and who to engage within target accounts, but misalignment often creates faulty account lists that cause programs to fail.
To solve this, Praill and Gilbert explained that ABM needs strong leaders on both sides that encourage marketing and sales collaboration. This, in turn, streamlines the process of building a unified account list.
“It all comes down to the company’s maturity and ability to do what ABM requires,” said Praill. “Marketers don’t know how ABM falls into the sales methodology; they have no experience with it. And sales can’t influence ABM without effective collaboration. You need to truly start from the beginning with a strong champion on the marketing side and a champion on the sales side to build out those account lists for effective ABM.”
This reality was echoed by Brooke Bachesta of Outreach during a breakout session, who explained that SDRs are now tasked with driving ABM campaigns and engaging accounts with the lists and data provided by marketing and sales.
“Outreach sales has done a lot of work with our marketing operations team to rank accounts,” Bachesta explained. “We do this by looking at a number of factors, such as their industry, the type of sales teams they have, the types of tools they have in place, etc. and determine whether or not they are fit for engagement. Then our SDRs take that data and go after key accounts.”
Another major point of discussion was the process of vetting intent signals. According to Gilbert, many marketers who leverage intent data fall into the trap of not accurately vetting the signal, sending it straight to sales as an account showing buying intent to engage. This results in more account engagement efforts falling flat and creates friction within ABM programs.
Gilbert suggested creating a multi-layered system that takes in various intent signals from multiple sources, such as website clickthrough rates, social media engagement and podcast interactions, to help marketers accurately triangulate where the intent signal is coming from and whether or not the account is looking to buy or just browsing.
“Having an intent provider giving you intent signals is not enough,” said Gilbert. “There’s no way to validate that. But when you start combining that with other types of data, you create powerful data that is actionable to every part of the organization. Think of it like a multi-layered cake that has a lot more texture and tastes a lot better because more effort went into making it. Intent signals are the same way.”
Finally, the keynote explored the idea of adopting an omnichannel ABM approach. Praill explained that organizations need to understand all aspects of engagement in their ABM programs and focus on a holistic, omnichannel view of revenue generation and engagement.
“There is a future where the lines between sales engagement and ABM dramatically start to blur,” Praill explained. “I need to know about all of these channels, social media, events, websites, etc. to inform my process. How we engage with our prospects will become a matter of different tools and tactics, especially as these existing tools and solutions become one.”
Creating Hyper-Personalized Virtual Engagement With Data
During the closing keynote, DGR’s Andrew Gaffney explored the new priorities of CMOs in the ABM-focused market alongside Karen Sage, CMO of Syncron, and FortressIQ’s VP of Marketing Christelle Flahaux. The CMOs divulged their ABM revenue secrets for success and highlighted the renewed focus on clean account data and new methods of personalized engagement.
During the panel, Sage and Flahaux discussed the value of cleaning up account databases for revenue-focused marketing efforts, and the impact of digital databases on ABM effectiveness. Sage explained that accurate data is one of the keys to driving revenue marketing. Skilled SDRs that can gather that data from digital channels are essential to driving engagement and revenue from target accounts.
“It is absolutely critical to create an accurate universal record of the truth to pull from, and SDRs are the best equipped for doing it,” said Sage. “Early in the pandemic, we let these types of people go because we didn’t think there would be business, but now you really need that data collection touchpoint. There are a lot of changes in the types of data we are collecting and being able to navigate those digital channels and glean data from them is a skill revenue organizations will need.”
Accurate and relevant account data is essential to modern revenue operations because of the growing focus on personalized account interactions. Flahaux believes that B2B is slowly shifting toward relationship marketing, which builds strong personal relationships with key accounts to simplify engagement and fast-track the buyer’s journey.
“We’re going to see a major switch back to relationship marketing where hand-holding and content are becoming more important for driving traffic and engagement,” Flahuax explained. “Spending the time to promote human interaction will be critical. This will help organizations actually talk with buyers on a human level and drive more sales.”
Another major takeaway from the panel was the innovation surrounding virtual engagement and the movement away from virtual events. With Zoom and event fatigue setting in, many marketers have turned to different content formats to engage key accounts in more intimate ways, allowing their ABM strategies to thrive in a digital environment while keeping their end goal of personalized engagement.
Sage and Flahaux listed a few unique content formats that can help engage accounts and drive revenue, including:
- Podcasting – Podcasts can be personalized for buyers with relevant topics of interest for specific accounts, allowing organizations to drive engagement with important information in a consumable content format;
- Direct mail – Gifting is still a viable form of buyer engagement, as it appeals directly to an account’s interests and opens the door for more intimate conversations; and
- Private Events – These small-scale events are designed to help build buyer-seller relationships through activities such as cooking classes and wine tastings.
“We’ve been trying to think outside of the box to find new avenues of engagement,” said Sage. “These types of events are becoming a lot more accepted, and so there’s been a lot of test and fail in terms of finding the right content that engages target accounts.”
#B2BMX: Next Level ABM drilled deep into the need to prioritize collaboration and data accuracy to effectively engage accounts. Organizations have the opportunity to go beyond cold calling and basic personalization to engage key accounts by creating more fun and engaging content and events for more personalized experiences.
This story premiered on our sister site, Demand Gen Report.