Account-based marketing (ABM) has been the hot buzzword in B2B marketing. One of the recognized thought leaders on this topic has been Scott Vaughan, CMO of Integrate.
We’ve been friends with Scott and the Integrate crew for awhile now, so we caught up with him in this interview to get his thoughts on ABM. To learn more about ABM from Scott, join this upcoming live webinar on April 14 titled “Jumpstart Account-Based Marketing with Predictive & Outbound Demand Generation”.
Question: ABM has received much attention the past year. Why do you think that is? What about the industry has made ABM so important now?
Scott: B2B marketing is shifting from lead generation to account opportunity generation to match sales teams’ true needs. Let’s take a quick step back for context of where we have come from. Over the past five to seven years, B2B Marketers became proficient at generating and qualifying leads to send to sales with new tools such as marketing automation. This is not really what sales wants. Rather, they want opportunities. Even more precisely, they want opportunities that match up to their top target accounts that provide the best opportunity to generate new customers. This is pushing marketers to shift their focus.
The good news is marketers have an increasing amount of data to generate and draw from for targeting these accounts, and now we also have more technology to help us do it.
Question: A great idea is one thing – executing that idea is another. How is this playing out with ABM?
Scott: You just nailed the big gap and where we stand today with delivering ABM results. It’s definitely not as easy as applying the same techniques and technology and just doing more precision targeting to named accounts. Many marketers get so immersed in targeting accounts they lose sight of the importance of engaging decision makers. The lesson here is “accounts” don’t buy anything, “people” do. Remembering to focus on and execute at a personal prospect level is just as critical as which organizations you go after.
To deliver on ABM strategies, B2B marketers have to leave some of their broader lead gen techniques behind and need to re-think and re-tool their approach. It all starts with compiling the right data. The data required to identify the right accounts first, and then the data to more precisely target and engage the key stakeholders with the right value proposition. Once prospects are engaged, a well-defined process for smooth transition from marketing to sales ownership is important. This includes what role marketing should play going forward to customer generation.
Question: I’ve heard you use the term “outbound demand orchestration” What is it and why is it so important to ABM?
Scott: Many marketers have built their demand marketing efforts around “inbound” strategies (driving visitors to your web site and then converting them). The reality for most B2B marketers is that they are using multiple 3rd party lead and data sources generated where B2B professionals are going for research to fuel their sales and marketing pipeline.
Demand orchestration is integrated technologies, processes and data to ensure the large investment and resources put in marketing tech investments truly and effectively inform the billions of dollars spent on top-funnel paid media and prospect acquisition for significantly better outcomes. It also assures the processes in between are streamlined and automated to reduce friction and increase speed of engagement, nurture and follow-up…and the prospect data that is generated is accurate and actionable.
This last statement is critical. You can generate the most powerful data about your target accounts and decision makers; however, they must be actionable and personalized. An orchestration layer between your outbound demand gen programs and your lead conversation and customer acquisition systems assures you can efficiently execute new data-driven capabilities like account-based marketing and predictive marketing.
Question: What’s your advice for marketers who’ve just been given the green light for an ABM pilot? Where should they start?
Scott: First off, I applaud marketers who are trying new approaches to try to improve their results.
For ABM pilots, defining joint goals and roles substantially increases your odds of ABM success. This collaborative, integrated approach also includes jointly defining the target accounts and the specific roles of key decision makers so that your targeting and outreach will be focused. Better yet, with the tools and data available today, marketers can bring a suggested list of target accounts to go after based on behavior patterns, predictive models, and customer data.
With this important info in hand, now marketers can gather a full set of account and prospect data within their existing databases and ready inbound and outbound marketing programs to begin engaging new contacts to generate customers within target accounts.
Question: Can you tell us a little about Integrate’s software and where it fits into the greater ABM picture?
Scott: Integrate enables marketers to streamline, orchestrate and execute demand marketing programs. By automating and syncing top-funnel prospect engagement efforts across numerous sources, channels, media types and workflows with lower-funnel operations such as lead nurturing, scoring and conversion reporting, Integrate’s software orchestrates all the moving parts from launch to closed-loop measurement, adding rich and actionable data to increase both efficiency and demand marketing results.
For ABM specifically, Integrate’s software orchestrates ABM programs and its enabling data required to discover and generate prospects (leads) within specific target accounts to fuel the sales pipeline and customer acquisition efforts. The software also assures the data generated is first accurate and the leads generated fit the target account and role criteria, maximizing ABM budgets and eliminating manual data processing efforts. The software then provides direct injection into marketing automation and CRM systems for real-time lead nurture and prompt follow-up. Lastly, it provides marketers with performance data to inform and optimize ABM media investments for greater ROI and predictability.
To hear more about Account-Based Marketing (#ABM), check out this webinar replay presented by Scott and Mintigo’s Chief Product Officer Atul Kumar titled “Jumpstart Account-Based Marketing with Predictive & Outbound Demand Generation”. View the slides and replay now!