In the account-based marketing (ABM) environment, “orchestration” is often synonymous with coordinated multi-channel execution. These efforts end up produced and pushed by individual teams or executed as a one-off message. Even if the genesis of an idea is consistently replicated across marketing channels, its performance potential remains restricted. Thriving amidst the challenges of 2022 and beyond requires companies to think bigger – and equip themselves better to achieve true orchestration. So, what is “true orchestration” – the one required to succeed in today’s ever-changing landscape? It is an execution of marketing program strategies that is highly adaptive, automated, and contextual. It creates a symphony from multi-dimensional complexity, delivering uniquely relevant experiences that lay the groundwork for harmonious customer relationships.
The digital transformation of the B2B landscape has been astounding. As recently as 2017, 76% of B2B buyers said it was helpful to speak with a sales rep when researching new products or services. Fast-forward to the pandemic-impacted world of today, and that percentage has dropped by fully 10 percentage points. Consider this sales view, too: According to Gartner, 70% of sales reps cite access to stakeholders as a primary challenge due to increased digital buying.
Adapting to complex, buyer-controlled journeys
This dramatic shift in the level of buyer control of their journey, coupled with an increase in the number of stakeholders involved in the decision-making process, means that more and more companies are turning to ABM. With ABM they develop campaigns based on the differing needs of differing buyers within a given account. But so far, they’ve struggled to demonstrate one-to-one relevance at scale. More than three-quarters of B2B buyers describe their purchasing journey as very complex or difficult.
That complexity stems from B2B companies underestimating what it takes to fully automate and deliver one-to-one personalization at scale. ABM marketing in 2022 demands a robust solution that can accommodate multiple dimensions of complexity:
Centralized access across the organization
Not so long ago in ABM’s history, individual contributors were responsible for collecting and acting on insights derived from select platforms they functionally owned or operated in most frequently. Now, multiple teams across B2B organizations interact with ABM platforms. This evolution is key, as it can create a “single source of truth” that helps align sales and marketing activities. Currently, nearly three quarters of companies executing ABM programs don’t consider their sales and marketing teams tightly aligned. According to the MRP/DemandGen Report research, just over 4 in 10 say their sales and marketing teams agree on which accounts fit their target profiles.
Opening access to ABM platforms can inform a range of activities, from uniting internal teams across the business to account-based digital advertising campaigns managed by external creative agencies. Functions such as sophisticated access controls, specialized dashboards and reporting, version tracking, and function-controlled collaboration help companies position their ABM platforms as central hubs for orchestration.
Global, real-time data processing
Data is at the core of ABM. ABM providers must be able to accommodate a wide array of sources and formats and their underlying technology deliver the processing power to translate that raw information into insights in real time. To gain a holistic understanding of prospect activities across channels, companies should incorporate firmographic and technographic information, online and offline intent signals, digital advertising performance, and more.
Geographic and linguistic distribution of incoming signals communicate another layer of context; heavy activity at a prospect’s company headquarters in France means something different than a few clicks originating from a small satellite office in the United States. Different divisions and product lines within a corporate entity may even have different goals altogether which vendors need to address with their ABM messaging.
Timely context and location relevance are critical for ABM campaigns to deploy the right messaging to the right channels for a given prospect’s stage and level of ownership in the purchase consideration journey.
Processing and acting on this data at scale in a timely manner is crucial. Research shows that prospects engaging with online content remain receptive to further messaging for 20 minutes at a maximum. Platforms need the processing power and artificial intelligence to proactively alert sales and marketing teams when promising activity occurs.
Given that 70% of B2B buyers interact with at least three pieces of content prior to connecting with a salesperson, and a quarter consume 5-7 pieces of content, it’s crucial for B2B companies to dynamically personalize digital experiences to present content relevant to visitor roles and geographic locations. Length of engagement is another key factor; content for first-time website visitors should differ from material served to qualified leads deep in the consideration process. Frequency is another key intent signal, and ABM tools must be uniquely poised to react to changes in frequency of engagement – dialing up and back in delivery, and shifting content around accordingly.
In addition to delivering the right substance, companies must also tailor content to match users’ devices and platforms. Email, website browsing, and digital advertising should include streamlined calls-to-action appropriate to the context; ABM platforms should also integrate with offline activities such as personalized direct mail to deliver a concerted message.
As they attempt to capitalize on digital B2B growth, companies are struggling to unify discordant sales and marketing efforts. But with a comprehensive platform that leverages robust data, artificial intelligence and real-time insights, B2B companies can harness raw potential into disciplined practice, achieving true ABM orchestration and establishing profitable customer relationships.