Beyond the pandemic: Account-based Marketing and Sales for IT organizations
The emergence of Account-based Marketing as an effective and alternate B2B marketing strategy has gained significant momentum in the recent years. The sudden and massive shift to remote working, and the consumerization of B2B buying, due to Covid-19 has added new vigour to ABM. Unsurprisingly, the shift has brought more prominence to some of the core principles of ABM such as personalization, Sales-Marketing overplay, working with a carefully chosen Account list.
B2B Marketing and Selling must pivot their processes and reposition themselves for the shift and prepare themselves for the variable customer demand. Marketing and Sales teams have their tasks cut out and they have to redraw their play-books and strategies to create results and to embrace the unpredictable. It requires them to navigate the shift in new human behaviours, and the new social practices. This has a profound implications for how companies Sell and Buy from one another in the new normal world.
Here are some practical ideas for organsiations as they go about retaining their existing revenue and work to acquire new logos at a fast pace to recapture growth.
1. Look for opportunities within [ Expansion ]
Back to the basics. Get closer to your existing customers and strengthen relationships. Times such as this are the best to reinforce existing connections and develop new ones. Be proactive in reaching out to them with empathy and purpose. Help them navigate their evolving priorities. Make efforts to identify and solve their high-value problems with your solutions. Once you have built the rapport and gained their confidence, have them provide references, write/record testimonials and do introductions to their colleagues. Use this to up-sell and cross-sell to the existing buying centres or to new ones within their organisations. Device marketing plans to digitally reach the new buying centres and pre-target them with custom messaging.
New opportunities does not have be developed at the cost of neglecting existing customers.
2. Focus on High-value markets and verticals [ Account Selection ]
The pandemic has had a profound impact on markets, industries and demand. Recognise the change and shift your go-to-market investments away from lagging segments and geographies; stick to stable markets; increase focus on areas likely to bounce early or sustain long-term growth. Re-position the value of the products and services for this new climate.
3. Relook the funnel [ Quality over Quantity ]
Customers’ needs have changed and so have their priorities. A hot lead a quarter ago may not be in the market today. Reassess your target list based on the changed dynamics. Drop accounts that may no longer be relevant. Add new target accounts by activating new sources. Double down on high-value opportunities. Create interventions through targeted marketing campaigns for pipeline acceleration wherever it is slowing down.
4. Mine for Account needs [ Intent ]
Uncover new signals for demand of your products and services. Scan for changes in supply and demand across relevant geographies, regions and local markets. Go beyond the usual suspects, tap into social media channels, referrals from existing customers and service interactions to mine account intelligence. Leverage dark funnel customer data. Take advantage of new customer data sources and predictive AI tools to achieve the optimal customer targeting and uncover new propensity-to-buy shifts in real time.
5. Right message at the right time [ Personalisation ]
B2B sales and marketing are at an inflection point. What used to fill the funnel won’t fill the funnel anymore. Refocusing on is a must for what is to come. Always target the right customer with the right message; keep communication timely, relevant, reflective and tailored to each customer’s unique situation. Maintain consistency across your go-to-market teams using an effective blend of digital interactions. Proactively solicit and analyze feedback from customers. Infuse their feedback in customer campaigns with insightful KPIs; learn from client responses and drive continuous outreach in the new environment. Update win strategies and sales materials to position your products and services to reflect new needs and priorities of customers.
7. Change Narratives and Approaches [Reposition]
Companies must acknowledge these massive shifts in landscape by understanding new buyer patterns and unmet needs. They must also actively test, learn and accordingly reposition their interactions, offers, messaging and deal terms to fit these changing needs. Update messaging and sales materials to position your products and services to reflect new needs and priorities of customers.
8. Create true Customer Visibility [ Sales and Marketing interplay]
Uncover customer-specific insights that is critical to surviving today and thriving in the days ahead. Bring your marketing, sales closer as a combined single source of truth for your campaigns, leads, customers. Use new data sources - first- and third- party and dark funnel data, among others - to capture a 360-degree view of your customers. And, be sure this key data is fed directly into your one source of truth. Invest AI/ML tools that improve your marketing, sales and service platforms.
We are in a digital inflection point, where B2B customer acquisition journey going forward will look fundamentally different from what they were before the pandemic. There is no better way to digitally engage with your prospects and customers than taking an Account-centric strategy.
If you are embarking on an ABM journey or generally interested in the topic, head down to the link and download a copy of an easy to consume ABM playbook.