Mass marketing is no longer effective in a B2B marketplace. A marketing strategy which ignores the differences between market segments and buying personas can’t be expected to work. A consumer’s buying journey is no longer what it once was — with use of the internet and social media, a buyer is well entrenched on their journey before they even think of engaging with your business.
Additionally, customers want to be approached as individuals. What that means to us marketers, is finding a way to engage with customers which adds value and insight to their buying decisions. Not an easy task to accomplish, but one that ensures the marketing function is central to your business and contributing to the bottom line.
However, when faced with new technology to achieve this, many marketers may resist through fear of failure or apprehension. But as the old approaches are no longer working, it seems fortuitous that there is a way to improve both customer engagement and conversion rates. The trick is to engage with them where they’re most responsive to your messaging and this may involve doing things differently than before.
Different actions. Different results.
In the rapidly evolving B2B market, buyers are increasingly smarter and more empowered than ever before. They’re not just relying on more traditional and linear methods to engage with prospective customers, such as brochures, sales calls and company websites, to make their buying decisions. They’re talking to their peers on social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, even Facebook), and they have a wide choice of video, reviews and blog content across a multitude of online media and forums to help guide their knowledge building.
As a result, identifying prospective B2B customers, who are searching for your specific proposition, has become much harder. Throw in the challenges around data, compliance and adhering to privacy regulations, such as GDPR, and it’s a huge challenge for marketers.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a powerful method to help marketers to draw together all the outbound and inbound touches with a target customer in a co-ordinated plan. The key ingredient for ABM success is the rich data insight, which will identify the critical 2% to 5% of customer prospects who are actively seeking your value proposition. The question is how?
It’s about understanding customer behaviour
By applying a behaviour-based approach to ABM, making it stronger and driving it (and lead generation) forward. Behaviour-based marketing is a qualitative approach based on insights, fuelled by buying intent that transforms the quality of leads generated by marketing.
Behaviour-based marketing is so effective because it is able to accurately spot and take action on elusive intent-to-buy signals demonstrated by the active 2% to 5% of your audience. This approach enables you to target the active audience with accuracy and create hyper-relevant messaging to the right person while maintaining GDPR compliance…in real time.
Target your prospects where they are
Here’s how it works: you can use insights from combining and analysing a number of data sources to fully understand where your prospects are in the buying cycle. This behaviour insight is generated from all online activities and signals, from what prospective customers are looking for, what they’re looking at, to who they’re talking to about it. You can study the behaviour insight in real time and identify which of your prospects is in active buying mode. The result? You can target them more precisely, with content and messages tailored specifically to them and their stage in the buying journey.
Making ABM better
When you apply behaviour-based insights to strengthen ABM, you can focus your resources more effectively. In most traditional marketing campaigns sales conversions are less than 1%. However, in the right combination, based on the success of organisations who’ve successfully implemented behaviour-based insight to underpin ABM, you could realise a 300% uplift in high-quality leads; and using 66% less budget and resources to generate those leads. Sounds good, doesn’t it? But where do you start?
Take a layered approach
By taking a tiered approach to identifying the 2% to 5% active prospect customers within your total addressable market you can allocate the marketing and sales resources to those audiences that are most likely to engage with your business.
Optimise your efforts
Use a behaviour-based insight approach to learn where to place the most effort, where to cut ineffective activity, and how to identify those most likely to buy within a shorter lead-time window.
Recognise your buyers
Build a deeper understanding of your customers by researching and mapping the actions and behaviours of the entire decision-making unit for each customer. In turn this helps you build out a plan to engage with the personas within the decision-making unit (DMU) with relevant topics, using context, timing and relevance.
Being able to focus on customer prospects who are already in buying mode enhances your marketing investment and optimises your cost per acquisition (CPA). Augmenting your ABM strategy with behaviour-based marketing allows you to deliver highly personalised messaging to these customers and improve engagement and ultimately sales.
Customers want to be treated as individuals and they expect to see relevant messaging from forward-thinking businesses. The good news is that behaviour-based marketing and ABM are available to you now, along with the people who have the knowledge and expertise to help you achieve this.