The pandemic-induced crisis has pushed businesses to re-evaluate their marketing strategies and approaches. B2B marketers are no exception. Infact, B2B marketers, are facing two discrete challenges during the pandemic. The brands offering products and services which work on a remote ecosystem are overwhelmed with leads, while the rest of the marketplace has seen severe downward trends. This has resulted in B2B organizations rethinking demand generation & how to target the Right Decision-Makers.
Since there are no tradeshows or events taking place, a significant amount of the marketing budgets have shifted to online events and marketing strategies, and therefore one of the key strategies for B2B marketers, Account based marketing (ABM), is spearheading its way and appears to be the top go-to-strategy for B2B firms to get high value, engaged leads into the pipeline.
A few reasons what make ABM the go-to-market strategy amidst Covid :
- Ability to flexibly adapt to the changing needs of customers
- Being cost-effective
- Focus on quality leads rather than quantity
- Extremely targeted in terms of audience and messaging
A benchmark report from ITSMA suggests that ABM adoption is at various maturity levels among B2B marketers. While some are rapidly experimenting the approach, others are taking careful exploratory steps. Crucially enough, for those B2B organizations who are still speculating whether or not to include ABM in their marketing strategy, things may begin to look gloomy. Let us look at how the pandemic has affected marketing strategies and how ABM successfully factors into it.
Since ABM is Customer-First Conversation and helps create stronger relationships with the already existing accounts of a B2B firm, during these tough times, the most important imperative is to nurture the existing relationships and client base for recurring revenue.
We are all aware that ABM uses a flipped-funnel approach, that targets an account first and works through to conversion from there through 3 distinct styles One-to-One, One-to-Few and One-to-Many. According to Lisa Dennis, President of Knowledgence Associates and a senior associate at ITSMA – “The biggest trend in ABM is moving towards a blended approach — selecting more than one type of ABM, depending on your goals and the makeup of the accounts you are considering for this approach“. A blended approach seems to be right strategy during pandemic to nurture existing accounts and drive penetration.
Zensar’s proven expertise on Account Based Marketing, leveraged this blended approach enabling strategic B2B clients achieve higher account engagement while building a significant & qualified lead database. Let’s look a few tactics we adopted to help clients achieve their goals –
- Segmentation of the existing accounts into smaller target clusters for sharper personalization.
- Orchestrated set of activities that accelerated the opportunity pipeline and got their two most important arms – sales & marketing to align efforts focused sharply on the target account
- Engaged ‘Educationally’. Our content experts developed rich, personalized and domain-centric creatives which addressed the pain point of the target accounts
- Enabled ‘Web personalization’ for our clients. We leveraged explicit, identifiable data about the individual contact within the target account, provided dynamic content, thereby captured their attention
While these efforts gained momentum, we were overwhelmed to see the responses from the target accounts during the pandemic. Our robust ABM engine very quickly moved through the ABM maturity curve, playing a key role in strengthening engagement, enhancing positive perceptions & enabling clients build longer lasting customer relationships.
Account based marketing can also be leveraged to target the ‘unknown’ leads. While we believe this approach will be one of the key trends in the post covid era, it is worthwhile to mine some key elements of this phenomenon.
- Social media: This will be an ABM gold mine. Pandemic poses the opportunity for people to post about their pain points, challenges and asks, interact more with a brands’ social media handle. This provides B2B marketers with the unique chance to deliver valuable content right on the users preferred channel and leverage social media effectively
- Work with partners within the target accounts: Gain an understanding of the different roles in that account who will have a direct and indirect impact on your strategy. Understand their goals, create hypothetical variation models to create rich educational content that will support them in achieving their goals
- Design nurture schemas: Make these more persona driven to have maximum value and impact
- Create 1-2-1 C Level campaigns: Assign possible grades to prospective contacts and build creatives based on what would appeal to that audience cluster
Account Based Marketing is a process. It will be continual during and beyond the pandemic. Since B2B purchases are always made by groups, account based marketing takes centre stage. It is imperative that the ABM campaigns are strategized, built, executed and reported in a manner that will drive higher ROI at the account level and not focus efforts only on individual leads. Brands need to test, measure, and optimize ABM marketing campaigns to ensure they are effective and show improved results over time. Want to know more about our ABM solution, connect with our experts!