Mark Tarro, Solutions Engineer, Oracle
A few years ago, I tried to win the first round in my fantasy baseball league’s playoffs. I sought any advice I could get to help my team. But while I consistently made the postseason, but I just couldn’t get over the victory hump. So, I needed to revamp my strategy. Several people suggested that I read the book “Moneyball” which discusses the use of Sabermetrics in baseball to gain a competitive advantage. In it, baseball managers mined data and discovered that valuing attaining players with certain statistics over traditional power statistics would allow them to build a winning team. I read the book. While I didn’t end up winning my league, I did learn a valuable strategy that has helped me understand the recent fascination around Account Based Marketing (ABM) a bit more.
Account Based Marketing in Practice
With Account-Based Marketing, marketers usually follow a variation of steps;
Identify Key Accounts
When a company picks their key accounts, they’re looking for ones that will impact their bottom line. As we gather more data on targeted accounts, we use that data to strategically focus our efforts and resources on those accounts and their contacts. What does a lead from the right company yield? How many awareness leads would you need to equal one quality lead? In traditional marketing, we might pay $5-10 to acquire a new lead. With ABM, we know that acquiring a specific lead may be worth much more in the long run, so we'll increase our spend per lead exponentially to acquire that account lead so we can start expanding and engaging.
Expand Stakeholders Within Key Accounts
Data is vitally important when marketers embark on an ABM strategy. Merely picking a number of key accounts isn’t enough. Marketers need to study and understand accounts to best plan how to expand and engage with key contacts at these accounts. The more relevant data we collect and connect, the more targeted impact the messaging can have. Using account data to create segments and dynamic content within a Marketing Automation tool allows marketers to deliver a positive experience. We’ve all engaged with brands that don’t know we’ve purchased before, or, don’t recognize what we’ve already done or seen. When a contact at a key account disengages because of this, it negatively impacts our relationship.
Relevantly Engage with Them
Marketers can create valuable lead scores that help guide the funnel and sales conversation. With traditional point based scoring, you’ll get some basic insights and can aggregate those contact scores to show an “account score.” However, is the account with 10 overactive interns more valuable than the account with an engaged Vice President? Or, do teams just need insight into how to best move forward with those accounts based on the current lay out? If my leads at an account are influencer-only, but not decision makers, it could indicate something like the intern issue. I may need to expand more within that account to find their manager. If I’ve got the Vice President who only clicked once, I may need to engage more relevantly. I could also expand to their reports to influence the decision. Just as Moneyball’s baseball managers compared their current roster with possible openings, marketers and salespeople can do the same with ABM to expand and engage within accounts effectively.
Create Advocates for Repeat Sales
There is constantly more and more data available on the contacts and accounts we’re trying to sell to. Collecting and connecting that data can be a nonstop challenge. Similar to how the managers in Moneyball capitalized on this multitude of data, marketers can do the same for ABM. Query data to learn about accounts. See what’s working and identify where to focus next to provide insights to a team looking at enacting an ABM strategy. There isn’t one particular campaign that will enable ABM just as there’s not only one formula for a winning baseball team. It’s a strategic decision to relevantly engage with contacts from those key accounts. This requires flexibility and adaptation. You’ll likely end up with multiple ABM campaigns throughout the year, engaging contacts differently based on if it’s a new target account or an existing customer you’re expanding with.
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