Are you really creating compelling B2B marketing experiences?

PHOTO: Jakkapant

If you work in the B2B world, you’ve almost certainly been the target of B2B marketing and sales. Most likely, several times a day. And it’s not pretty.

So while you know these marketers and salespeople are smart and capable, you also know that the tactics they use are, too often, dumb. Marketers absolutely hate that organizations keep spamming them with irrelevant content, ads, and other communications that miss the mark — and they show it to us by opting out, opting out, and throwing our posts away.

Even if you’re not guilty of sending non-opt-in emails, that doesn’t mean your brand is in the clear. Any irrelevant interaction that doesn’t help or add value to your buyers can be considered spam.

With all we know about buyer preferences and best practices, why is this still happening? Why do really smart marketers and sales people always annoy the people they want to reach?

It turns out that the answer is what I call account blindness. When you don’t have a clear picture of your accounts, their behaviors, and what matters to them, it’s nearly impossible to achieve that magic moment of engagement at the right time with the right message. Here’s how to tell if you’re suffering from account blindness and how to fix it.

Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-part series.

Your systems are fragmented and unoptimized

Account blindness takes root when your data is fragmented. Many organizations experience this when they have data in a marketing automation system, CRM, their website, etc. It’s nice to have all this data, but it won’t help you understand your buyer journey if it’s not connected.

Additionally, many of these systems are not account-based, but lead-based. In this case, your data will not be transferred correctly to an account. You can imagine how this can cause a host of problems in an account-based approach. For example, if someone in a target account is highly engaged with your website, that doesn’t necessarily mean the account is showing interest. Conversely, many people on an account can engage, but you can’t realize what an opportunity they are if you can’t connect the dots.

The original promise of marketing automation was that it would allow marketers to track the digital body language of their buyers. But, we have seen that promise broken. Marketing automation is a key part of account-based go-to-market, but it alone provides a narrow view of what buyers are actually doing. Your data and your path to purchase cannot be optimized while your systems are fragmented.

Related Article: 3 Ways Marketers Can Ease the Account-Based Transition for Sales

Your buyers are increasingly anonymous

Another way to know you’ve fallen prey to account blindness is if you’re frustrated with the anonymous nature of today’s buying journey. Gartner found that today, 27% of B2B buying groups’ time is spent doing independent research online, which means 27% less time browsing your website. And when they come to your site, they can avoid filling out forms in an effort to avoid unwanted communications (i.e. spam).

But as people search third-party websites, they become harder to identify and track. Moreover, individuals do not make buying decisions in B2B; entire buying committees do (all of whom conduct that aforementioned anonymous research). With a lack of information available on potential buyers, how can you get a clear picture of your target accounts and reach them?

Related Article: How to Attract and Engage, Not Alienate, B2B Buyers

Account Intelligence: Augmenting Data with Intent

The only way to overcome account blindness is to use account intelligence. This includes defragmenting your go-to-market (GTM), de-anonymizing your buyers, and augmenting your data with intent, technographic, and other third-party data. Don’t know how to do this? Do not worry; I will detail all this in the next article.

Stay tuned for part two, which will offer a deep dive into understanding, harnessing, and leveraging account intelligence – and will help you put account blindness in the past.

Jon Miller is the CMO of Demandbase. In his role, Miller is responsible for driving Demandbase’s account-based go-to-market and evangelizing its mission to transform the way B2B companies market and sell.

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