Jul 20, 2017
By Maureen Flaherty
Data Management

Why are we seeing a resurgence of account-based marketing buzz, even when it’s been around for quite some time?


The short answer: data.


B2B sales and marketing teams have always known that to successfully close more deals — especially with specific accounts — they need reliable, uniform information at their fingertips.


We’ve probably all seen what cluttered dashboards of data look like, but what do you actually do with all of the data? What was once a manual process of turning data into insights and insights into actions is now a scalable, automated process. Even though collecting data has been streamlined due to huge strides in data management, CRM, and other tech, we still need to know how the data affects our ability to discover, score, and engage the right accounts. It could be the difference between sailing smoothly on a sea of data — or drowning in it.


To make the most of what account-based marketing (ABM) has to offer, especially for B2B sales and marketing purposes, let’s take a look at three ways to use data in ABM.


Use data for prospecting and predictive lead scoring.


Firmographic data is a fancy term for data that describes a company. Company size, revenue, vertical, location — all of this is basic firmographic information you need to know before diving into the thick of ABM. Based on your existing sales data, you might find that pharmaceutical companies in coastal cities with more than 10,000 employees are the accounts most likely to convert.


Once you have this basic account data, though, your job’s not done. You’ll have to focus your exploration even more on specific contacts — or prospects — within the organization. Usually, these are the key decision makers (such as a CMO). However, you can also look for decision influencers, the people who might report up to the main players and influence their decision-making process.


The best part about organizing all of this data? It’s automated — if you have a platform like Einstein Analytics to analyze it and provide insights. For example, Einstein lead scoring will automatically analyze your historical sales data and discover the top factors that determine whether a lead is likely to convert to an opportunity.


On top of this, you don’t have to limit yourself to the accounts that are most likely to close. You can develop and target lookalike accounts that share key characteristics with your best customers. Now, you have key accounts to target, plus lookalike accounts.


But what’s the best way to engage them once you have them in your sights?


Use data to engage.


This is the fun part, where you get to create unique ABM journeys. Access to data, paired with the fact that customers want more personalized experiences, have contributed to the growth of account-based engagement tactics.


Let’s say you’re mainly targeting chief marketing officers at pharmaceutical companies in coastal cities with more than 10,000 employees. You know that these CMOs make 10 visits to your website and download three e-books, on average, before signing up for your CMO newsletter. You also know that 50% of these CMOs click on the CTA in the first email newsletter to watch a tailored webinar about your solution. At this point, you probably have a pretty good idea of the content you need to engage your key prospects. You need landing pages, infographics, blog content, e-books, dynamic emails, and more.


But what about targeted ads for these prospects?


Personalized ad campaigns aren’t just delivered to large audience segments anymore; they can be served up to highly targeted accounts. With Engagement Studio and Ad Studio, you can create personalized nurture programs to deliver custom content for each account, and you can also add them to personalized Facebook campaigns. (Watch the demo here.)


Use data to align internal teams.


So often, we tend to look at the external benefits of ABM — our customers are more engaged and more likely to buy (85% of marketers even say that ABM delivers higher ROI than other marketing approaches).


The internal benefits are also important to note. There are many options to align sales and marketing teams, but ABM can make the task easier. Account managers (salespeople) want to control communication to their key contacts, and many times, marketers seem to get in the way with pesky standards and guidelines. Similarly, marketers want to keep communication on brand and on message across accounts, and salespeople can ignore those guidelines.


When sales and marketing teams work from a unified dataset — and the same insights about specific accounts — they’re able to work together much more efficiently. Sales data and marketing data are no longer siloed and accessible only by exclusive teams. Sales teams can tell marketers the types of content they’ll need, and they can pull from existing content to create specific journeys for key prospects.

Learn more about how account-based marketing can help you.

Get marketing insights from the Marketing Cloudcast, a Salesforce podcast.