Transparent Audience Strategies: The Fuel for Your B2B ABM Strategy
B2B marketers are facing digital acceleration and significant pressure to determine how they can shift more of their marketing tactics to online media. For many B2B marketers, this shift has to accommodate an Account Based Marketing (ABM) strategy, a specified list of accounts that serves as the central target audience in order to create more personalized experiences. At its most effective, ABM strategies can improve B2B marketing efficiency by capturing the leads with highest value and intent, thereby shortening the B2B sales cycle and exploding media ROI.
So what does the most effective ABM strategy look like? For starters, it requires lock-step alignment between marketing and sales to close the loop on qualified leads. Below, we’ll dive into the steps of one essential component to this collaboration: transparent audience strategies.
Transparent Audience Strategies
Our approach to developing a B2B audience strategy is built on agility and transparency, with custom solutions designed to drive revenue growth for every unique organizational structure.
Step 1: Alignment
An essential first step to a strong ABM strategy is agreement across new business teams on key performance indicators (KPIs). These should be measurable and directly tied to the leadership’s definition of company growth. For example, is success based solely on closed business? Or, knowing many B2B businesses have a long sales cycle, can the marketing and sales teams agree on the definition of a qualified lead? This alignment means more than strategic direction—having these KPIs as your north star is what will drive campaign optimization and budget reallocations for efficiency.
Step 2: Identification
Creating the right account or contact list is table stakes for any ABM strategy. To be successful, it is important to identify who your ideal customer is so that you can be confident in activating your marketing plans against the list. Every company starts at a different level so this could be naming specific accounts, grouping classifications of accounts, or developing a general audience to focus on such as industry vertical or job function. However, the point isn’t to include everyone that could be potentially a good customer, you also must narrow in and focus on where your brand has the right to win. Be able to articulate your strengths and industry differentiators so that you can use that in your personalized messaging.
Step 3: Team
With your goals, target list, and company differentiators in place, the next step is to align the necessary resources and team to support your overall strategy. This is not only thinking about the internal teams needed (marketing, sales, finance, etc.) but also the relationship between client and agency. At Rise, we believe the strongest results come from fiercely collaborative relationships that go beyond delivering leads. To completely support your ABM strategy, you should expect an accountable agency partner invested in your growth as an extension of your team.
Step 4: Cross-Channel Media Strategy
Building a cross-channel media strategy is going to allow you to find your target audience and deliver personalized messages to help move them down the funnel. Consider leveraging channels with a myriad of granular prospecting options, such as Paid Social and Programmatic, while integrating the right infrastructure to retarget those leads on Paid and Organic Search. Linkedin and Facebook allow very granular targeting which is key to an ABM strategy. With Programmatic, brands are able to home in on the right accounts through geo-based, IP, and intent-based targeting. A successful ABM media strategy is always audience-first, so include the channels that allow you to get in front of the decision makers in your target audience with a compelling message.
Step 5: Technology
Now that the goals, objectives, and team are aligned, it’s important at this stage to establish the key reporting method and relevant KPIs that align with the established goals. The technology you use must support your team’s goals and align with your strategy. Because your goals should include both conversion and efficiency metrics, it’s important to look at the tech stack that is currently owned and evaluate if it can sufficiently meet your measurement needs. By doing this due diligence, you may discover how potentially valuable acquiring new technology might be if your needs are not met. However, there are many different types of technologies out there, and building an internal network of too-many-solutions is a new headache you don’t want. Instead of buying the latest and greatest technology and then figuring out how it will help, first understand your goals and find the technology that will integrate with the systems you have to meet your needs.
Step 6: Optimization
At Rise, we do not stand by the ideology of media programs being a set-it-and-forget-it approach—your B2B ABM strategy is no different. Once the media plan is created and the initial program is launched, then the optimization loop begins. It’s important to regularly measure the impact of your program, re-align spend to top performers, shift inefficient efforts, and test expansion opportunities to achieve long-term success.
While your marketing efforts provide value themselves, there are also full company benefits gained by syndicating additional insight and data from your efforts to the larger organization. By sharing this information, you’re welcoming an even greater optimization cycle with many teams involved to have a great impact on continued learning, insight, and improvement. For example, behavioral data, engagement/web data, as well as overall target and persona performance is valuable outside of just marketing and sharing with the UX/Customer Experience team and especially the sales team can spur further conversations and innovation.
It’s important to have in mind that the right B2B ABM strategy will also improve your sales and marketing strategies. Contact Rise to help you master these strategies by making them more effective through an efficient plan.