How marketers can identify the right ABM vendor
Identify exact capabilities needed before vendor selection or renewing contract
Up until around March this year, marketing and selling to business accounts didn’t just take place online. There were conferences, trade shows, in-person meetings and demos. Over the last few months, the emphasis has, of necessity, shifted to digital — which means renewed focus on ABM solutions.
With such a mix of ABM solutions out there, how can marketers ensure that they select one which advances their goals? It all starts with identifying your exact needs and desired outcomes.
“A very simple definition of ABM is leveraging existing marketing elements creatively, to help sales close the deal,” B2B marketing author and consultant Pam Didner said during a recent episode of MarTech Live. “Depending on what kind of marketing elements you have within your company [you can determine the right ABM capabilities]. You can do massive email marketing, or focus on events or focus on re-targeting advertisements.”
Didner continued. “You have to understand what kind of marketing you do then you can determine what kind of tools that will meet that demand base.”
Know your current needs
Instead of selecting an ABM vendor based on a general overview of the platform, marketers should have a streamlined list of five to 10 account capabilities that the vendor needs to fill, based on current marketing operations.
Brands that just completed rolling out a new product or service through an extensive advertising campaign, will want to focus on re-targeting those ads, while brands that just completed an email marketing campaign to re-engage with dormant accounts, can identify supplemental outreach tactics to enhance that campaign.
No matter the focus, it is up to marketers to understand the ABM capabilities that they need, and not the vendor. When marketers expect the ABM vendor to identify and execute their goals, it almost always ends in disappointment from the marketers and missed campaign goals.
Even so, having a complete list of your ABM vendor’s capabilities is necessary prior to signing a new or existing contract. There is a good chance that a brand’s ABM needs today may not be the same as six months from now.
“When I look at ABM I look at things like marketing automation platforms and web content management, those are mature categories and they are really well defined because we know what those are,” said Gil Canare, VP Global Digital Marketing at Genpact. “We know what those look like, because that problem is defined. The problems [ABMs can solve] are mostly defined but unfortunately not for all users, it can change from industry to industry.”
Account-based marketing: A snapshot
What it is. Account-based marketing, or ABM, is a B2B marketing strategy that aligns sales and marketing efforts to focus on high-value accounts.
This customer acquisition strategy focuses on delivering promotions — advertising, direct mail, content syndication, etc. — to targeted accounts. Individuals who may be involved in the purchase decision are targeted in a variety of ways, in order to soften the earth for the sales organization.
Why it’s hot. Account-based marketing addresses changes in B2B buyer behavior. Buyers now do extensive online research before contacting sales, a trend that has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of marketing’s tasks in an ABM strategy is to make certain its company’s message is reaching potential customers while they are doing their research.
Why we care. Account engagement, win rate, average deal size, and ROI increase after implementing account-based marketing, according to a recent Forrester/SiriusDecisions survey. While B2B marketers benefit from that win rate, ABM vendors are also reaping the benefits as B2B marketers invest in these technologies and apply them to their channels.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.
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