Account-based marketing (ABM) is a hot term as of late, with B2B marketers seeing it as somewhat of a panacea given the amount of noise in the market – particularly within the battleground of the inbox.
Last week I hosted a session with Tessa Barron from ON24 on using webinars for account-based marketing (you can also view it on-demand). To help whet your appetite, here are a few of the key takeaways.
If you have the privilege of meeting a B2B salesperson or marketer who came from the pre-internet days, some of the techniques seem woefully inefficient compared to today. One that sticks with me is a former database salesperson who regaled me with tales of having ‘postcode beats’ – where he would literally walk around knocking at offices in the hope he could have a chat with someone.
Fortunately, technology means these kinds of tactics are seldom used. We can market and reach people at a larger scale and geography than ever before – in theory, filling up the funnel with more prospects than we could possibly handle.
But all is not perfect with technology.
Technology also means a glut of spam and ill-targeted email in people’s inboxes. Doing bad marketing has become so easy that the end result is too much noise. Spam crowds the inbox, meaning it’s hard to get through.
While technology is changing the way marketers market, it is also changing the way B2B buyers are buying. More information means the typical B2B buying cycle takes longer to complete. Buyers are also doing much of their own research, only reaching out to a salesperson when they are close to making a purchase, in the hope that they will avoid phone calls and emails asking for a ‘10 minute call’.
This solo research means that – as you’ll see on the webinar – many people simply resort to just lying about their details.
We’ve also seen the average size of the B2B buying group has grown, making it necessary to impress a lot more people than before.
Taking an account-based approach is an opportunity to combat several of these problems.
By focusing on only accounts that matter, your marketing efforts can become more targeted and personalised – increasing the likelihood that they will stand out among the noise in someone’s inbox.
As buying decisions become more complex, ABM also switches the focus from generating leads to focusing on the buying group as a whole. It reflects the way that companies buy, rather than sticking with the traditional and linear lead-to-sale approach of the funnel.
ABM also provides an opportunity to change the type of marketing based on the size of the target account. The most important accounts can be treated as markets of one, having campaigns aimed specifically at them, while the rest can be served programmatically.
An issue with static lead forms, PDFs and emails is they don’t lend themselves towards any real engagement.
When you’re marketing to strategic accounts, having one of your prospects asking a question and being able to answer it in real-time is a significant benefit compared with following up some months down the road.
It’s one of the reasons why Econsultancy has been using webinars – the Digital Shift series has been running since 2013.
And while it’s important to deliver them well, the most important thing is to start small. Account-based webinars can begin with a series of quick campaigns as part of a test-and-learn process. Over time, your process and performance will improve (as you may observe if you watch any of my webinars from some years ago).
Going forward, you’ll make your offer both higher value for attendees, and be able to integrate webinars more deeply into your technology stack.
To hear more about the finer points of account-based marketing and how to use webinars, you can sign up to the account-based marketing session and view it on-demand.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.