Predictions Series 2018: The Predictive ‘Buying Center’ in the Middle of B2B Demand Gen Revolution
Triblio CMO, Jason Jue, Narrates How Demand Gen Executives are Smartly and Effectively Switching Strategy from Leads-Based to 100% Account-Based
In the age of rapid B2B marketing disruptions, we are looking at the rise of Account-based marketing as a ubiquitous approach for demand generation. The phenomenal explosion of B2B content and marketing-sales convergence (thanks to underlying intelligence driving both) have enabled demand gen marketers to build integrated campaigns and a unified contact strategy with consistent messaging and CTAs across sales and marketing touchpoints.
Further to our recent coverage in the Predictions Series 2018, Triblio CMO, Jason Jue chose to enlighten us on what demand-gen marketers should focus on in the New Year and what their ABM tactics should look like.
The Power of Account-Based Data
How ABM Sales Enablement Platforms Could Fulfill the Growing Expectations of Modern B2B Companies
Now that modern marketers have tasted success in niche aspects of the account-based approach, they want more. They see that ABM can transform their demand generation. Plex, one of the world’s leading ABM practitioners according to TOPO, saw ABM impact pipeline and grow revenue, so they changed their demand generation from leads-based to 100% account-based.
On hearing from early adopters like Plex, SiriusDecisions also saw success in the account-based approach and developed a next-gen demand funnel based on accounts, not leads.
When you revolutionize something as fundamental to modern B2B marketers as demand generation or the demand funnel, you have big shoes to fill. The new strategy is expected to come with comprehensive explanations and tools for how to measure, track, and execute campaigns. New platforms have to accommodate a new unit of measurement—the buying center. Tracking this new unit requires new metrics and new technologies that group leads into accounts.
In this new funnel, marketing and sales are expected to execute campaigns like synchronized swimmers (working simultaneously to engage target accounts) rather than those in a relay race (nurturing a lead, than handing it off). These are just some of the major changes that marketers are expecting from an ABM platform.
Very few ABM platforms will be able to meet these expectations!!!
Sales enablement, to me, has for a long time been one of the unfulfilled expectations. The best sales enablement teams focus marketing efforts on a common set of accounts. Early sales enablement platforms started on the “what” by cataloging marketing efforts like campaigns and content for easy access by reps.
Predictive Analytics Is Closing the Gap Between “Who’ and “When” in Buyer’s Journey
ABM Companies That Can Tell Reps and Marketers “When” Are Now Emerging.
In 2018, according to me, the major challenge for sales enablement platforms in delivering contextual personalization to B2B customers is around “integration”. ABM platforms may still find it difficult to seamlessly integrate best-in-class technologies tied into one platform. The ecosystem would solve for who to target when and how with what message.
Predictive analytics companies have now emerged helping sales and marketing focus on “who” and agree on a set of accounts. Some would also recommend what product or message to use based on propensity modeling, which predicted what target accounts wanted to buy next.
However, these companies weren’t very good at telling reps exactly “when” they should outbound to target accounts. They didn’t identify buying signals because they weren’t tracking intent data such as anonymous research on a publisher’s or vendor’s site.
Companies that can tell reps and marketers “when” are now emerging.
The final step is “how” to engage, which depends on campaign tools (like events, direct mail) and attribution modeling of those campaigns. There are also emerging tech vendors in this category.
I believe in the next few years, sales enablement platforms will combine the what, with the who, when, and how to meet the expectations that the sales enablement teams have.
One such example is Plex. They can recognize who is coming to your website by target account, can personalize what content they see, and based on interest level or account profile, recommend how and when to have sales and marketing campaigns follow up.
Yes! ABM Would Become the Ubiquitous Platform in a CMO’s Tech Stack
ABM Platforms Raised Major Funding in 2017 That Would Boost ABM Tech Adoption Among CMOs in 2018
At the foundational level, I believe that ABM platforms organize data by account. Major funding gives platforms the potential to innovate, educate, and provide support for how to transition from a leads-based to account-based demand generation.
Modern ABM platforms group together the known and unknown stakeholders by target account to measure campaign performance and account interest. Today, this analytics help inform marketers about executing cross-channel campaigns on their ABM platform. In the future, the analytics will automate campaigns using AI and ML.
Personally, I see modern ABM platforms raising the bar in leveraging intent data using AI/ML capabilities.
Looking for Target Accounts: Navigate Using Intent Data
Intent data serves as another source for target accounts, in addition to participating in events, scraping social platforms, and buying lists. AI/ML aims to identify patterns in behavior and learn what intent looks like faster than humans, especially on the digital front.
The output, intent data, aims to paint a more detailed picture of who’s most interested in buying. This data can then help marketers find their best potential opportunities, leverage the best-fit tools, and deliver the most compelling campaigns.
Is it going to be the year of “AI in ABM” or would it be “AI versus ABM”?
AI in ABM. AI is already used to identify target accounts. Now, we’re starting to use smart analytics and insights. In following years, we’ll be using AI for campaign execution.
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