The Future of ABM: Succeeding with account-based strategies in a virtual landscape

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The past year has seen a significant shift in the way businesses implement their ABM marketing strategies. Industry experts are forecasting ABM’s evolution in a virtual world as it continues to dominate the marketing industry. We see it through powerhouse companies morphing to create powerful tech stacks such as Zoom’s acquisition of Five9, or the merger of Salesforce and Slack that will close this month.

With ABM being dependent on high-touch engagement, marketers must double down on their campaigns to continue driving meaningful engagement to their target accounts and eventually convert them to customers. The challenge lies mainly in how sales teams reach out to their target accounts, now that the usual lunches, events, and other in-person channels sales teams have relied on are less frequent. 

Here are tips on how to help you execute an ABM campaign in a virtual setup. 

1. Engage your audience with relevant content.

Delivering high-value messaging and content that resonates with your audience shouldn’t stop just because you are doing online marketing and sales. Your messaging should craft a narrative that speaks directly to your target audience’s pains and challenges. If your personalized approach works—an engaged account will follow suit. 

  • Research and map your target account to where they live and breathe online. Who does your target account follow? What industry pain points might they be experiencing? Who is the decision-maker, and what challenges may they encounter in their role?
  • Build out account personas and work across sales and product teams to align resources and messaging to craft a highly relevant and ultra-personalized campaign
  • Find creative ways to make a memorable first impression. While we may be virtual – snail mail is an innovative and surprisingly effective way to get in front of your account rep. 
  • Ensure your campaign has a healthy mix of digital, social, and direct marketing to ensure you are 
  • Maximizing the impact of your social influencer and online advertising strategies to ensure you aren’t leaving anything on the table. 
  • Track, track, track, and iterate. 

2. Use automation platforms in managing your campaign.

Automation is critical in ensuring your campaign execution is seamless and provides the insights you need to assess effectiveness. Your tech stack needs to integrate across marketing, sales, and product so you could attract and identify leads together, gather account insights, and streamline the process for all.

A well-integrated tech stack should capture:

  • A Customer Relationship Management tool (CRM) to help build out and track the nurture funnel
  • Visitor Intelligence Software to track and monitor who is visiting your properties (think website heat maps)
  • Intent Data Provider to narrow down on exactly what your visitors are searching for online
  • Marketing Automation tool to streamline your connection points
  • Analytics & Data Visualization tools to understand how your efforts are landing and where to iterate

The marketing solutions in this space are overwhelming – so ensure you develop a tech stack that complements rather than competes with each other. Integration with your existing technology is critical to ensure smooth processes. 

3. Get rid of Zoom fatigue.

Zoom fatigue is getting more common as people spend more time using it as a primary means of communication. 

Autum Molay, director of demand generation at SurveyMonkey, recommends diving deep into what matters for your customers and being highly creative in getting your message across. 

“Do it in a way that’s eye-catching and fun in new and interesting ways, and have virtual events that are full of entertainment,” Molay suggests. 

One solution is to have your brand present, even if you cannot. Host interactive virtual events, send complementary physical products to attendees or invite influencers and guest speakers to partner as a brand or product ambassadors. Going the extra mile in producing virtual events will make your customers feel valued even when there’s less face-to-face interaction and increase brand awareness and engagement.

If budget allows, try to make your content interactive and engaging as a new way to capture interest. Record and reverse engineer what catches your eye in today’s virtual world, and use imagery in your outreach can also help elevate your message. 

Creating High-Touch ABM Campaigns in a Virtual World

Building a meaningful ABM strategy is still possible in today’s work setup, and as industry leaders are forecasting, it will continue to be an effective technique for fostering meaningful relationships with customers even after the pandemic ends. It just takes careful planning, strategic execution, and having the sales team involved to get the most out of ABM and win significant deals through it.

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