The next evolution of ABM
For years, marketers have engaged audiences with account-based marketing strategies to better align sales and marketing practices and, in turn, deliver more relevant and personalized content and messages. In the B2B space, this process has naturally evolved into group buying marketing, which focuses these tactics on multiple decision makers within accounts.
“That means looking to identify and engage those buying groups and key decision makers within your target accounts,” said Nirosha Methananda, vice president of marketing at Influ2, during a recent webinar. “It’s about looking at people who actually want to talk to you.”
“The way to do that is to monitor their engagement signals and sentiment, making sure that information gets back to sales and marketing,” she added.
Customers don’t care whether the communication comes from marketing or sales, Methananda says, they just want a “holistic experience.” And in the B2B space, treating sales leads as buying groups can help brands achieve that goal.
B2B as a purchasing group
Many marketers still view B2B marketing as one-to-one interactions, but Methananda pointed to Forrester’s Buying Groups Manifesto, which affirms that B2B is also a buying group. And the data backs it up.
“According to Gartner, the average size of the buying team is between 14 and 23 people, and it depends on the size of the spend,” she said. “From Forrester’s perspective, 66% of B2Bs have more than six people.”
She added, “That’s why it’s important to focus on buying groups.”
B2B purchasing is almost never done by one person – marketers need to be able to strategize with groups of stakeholders in mind. And, as these shoppers often come from different departments, the need for a holistic shopping experience becomes even more important.
In response to the 2020 pandemic, the Methananda team implemented a B2B strategy with these buying groups in mind, building brand awareness through a “digital everywhere” strategy.
“When COVID-19 hit, it was a shock to everyone,” she said. “From a marketing perspective, we had to go completely digital to be able to reach our audience. So Influ2 launched a campaign that helped show their capabilities to their audience… our platform allowed us to track engagement for each target, which enabled our SDRs [sales development representatives] to be able to follow up on the contacts that have been initiated. »
“This approach has allowed us to scale our marketing efforts and connect top-of-funnel to bottom-of-funnel and drive measurable results,” she added.
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B2B buying group engagement throughout the sales funnel
Methananda emphasized the need for buying group engagement when looking to connect and generate leads through sales funnels. Recognizing that the B2B accounts you are marketing include multiple people can help sales and marketing teams coordinate their efforts.
“[Buying group marketing] starts to make your marketing more tangible when you’re able to funnel that information between sales and marketing,” she said.
Influ2’s buying group marketing strategy focuses on building awareness and demand with top-of-funnel audiences with relevant social media ads and landing pages. Each of them is designed to highlight its digital capabilities for buying groups.
The next stage – the middle of the funnel – is the perfect place to engage and educate these buying groups. To foster greater interaction, the Methananda team used social media to provide relevant content for these accounts.
“This was supported by LinkedIn messages sent by our SDRs, which were supported by ads and landing pages,” she said. “He started humanizing SDR by delivering relevant content even before he spoke with the prospect.”
Methananda then outlined his team’s tactics for converting groups of buyers who were bottom-of-funnel audiences: “The campaign moved down-the-funnel to support our account executives in conversations they had, essentially helping them convince and convert key decisions -manufacturers. That means engagement within the buying group with content tailored to the needs of that account.”
She then gave an example of Influ2’s work with Autodesk, a company that does its own 3D rendering work (pictured above). The company used a T-Rex image on its website to give customers an idea of what their product looked like. To drive engagement, Influ2 adjusted the image and sent it with a message linking its brand message to Autodesk’s priorities. They also included a landing page that talked about the main pain points of the potential customer.
“It saved the conversations that were happening at the bottom of the funnel and converted the account,” Methananda said.
Although buying groups are made up of many people, B2B strategies that target them should be laser-targeted. These marketers are trying to determine the specific needs of their organization, and marketers need a certain level of maturity to understand their audience and secure their buy-in.
“Marketing buyer groups depends on the maturity of an organization,” Methananda said. “There needs to be some maturity in terms of understanding your audience – it’s an approach that will help with precision.”
Watch this webinar presentation at Digital Marketing Depot.
Account-Based Marketing: An Overview
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. The people likely to be involved in the purchase decision are targeted in various ways, in order to sweeten the ground for the business organization.
Why is it hot. Account-based marketing responds to changes in B2B buyer behavior. Buyers are now doing extensive research online before contacting sales, a trend that has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the tasks of marketing in an ABM strategy is to ensure that the company’s message reaches potential customers while they search.
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 are benefiting from this success rate, ATM vendors are also reaping the benefits as B2B marketers invest in these technologies and apply them to their channels.
Read next: What is ABM and why are B2B marketers so optimistic about it?