2020 was a big year for Account-based Marketing (ABM) - with 2021 set to be even bigger.
Looking at the numbers; budgets dedicated to ABM have increased by 40% year-on-year, showing that more organizations are recognizing the value of an account-based approach than ever before.
So in an increasingly competitive space, how can you take your ABM program to the next level?
A coherent strategy, clear ICP and account selection, business-wide buy-in and Sales and Marketing alignment are foundational. But beyond that, having the right ABM tech stack to support your team can make or break your efforts.
Is HubSpot in your ABM tech stack?
There are many options when it comes to building your ABM tech stack, and for many ABMers (us here at strategicabm included), HubSpot is a very good choice.
Providing everything from marketing automation and sales sequence management, to in-depth reporting and engagement measurement - HubSpot creates a single-customer(or account) view that allows clear alignment across your business.
“Just having that single customer view means that Marketing and Sales can work together to create a compelling account experience” - Fes Askari, Director of Sales and Strategic Accounts at strategicabm
So how can HubSpot help you drive the best results from your ABM program?
Why use HubSpot?
80% of marketers report an increase in leads due to marketing automation.
It also improves productivity by 20% and provides a more seamless sales and marketing process from start to finish.
With numbers like these, the real question is: why wouldn’t you adopt marketing automation?
Of course, software like HubSpot isn’t just about automation.
It’s about tracking and measuring engagement, Sales process management, account-level insight and more!
Considerations before using HubSpot for ABM
Ready to dive in? Hold on!
As helpful as HubSpot is, there are many other criteria that must be met outside of the software for your ABM program to be a success.
Some elements - like having a strong value proposition and creative process - need to be established first as a foundation.
In addition, having the right team alignment, and planning an ABM strategy to support your goals and objectives are critical before you dive into any particular platform, to avoid program failure.
The technology will not make your ABM program a success. Technology will not cover over the cracks in your strategy if it is not right in the first place.
So where to begin?
1. Ensure that your entire organization agrees on your defined Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
2. Refine your target account list (TAL)
3. Build out the Decision Making Unit (DMU) of your target accounts
4. Define your program goals and KPIs
5. and last but not least, ensure Marketing and Sales teams are aligned!
None of the rest matters if your Marketing and Sales teams aren’t speaking the same language - your tech stack won’t save you if you haven't done the groundwork!
But once you’re ready… HubSpot has some great features that can support these steps, then take your ABM programs to the next level.
4 ways HubSpot can support your ABM program
1. Defining your Ideal Customer Profile
From helping you initially define your ICP to building a buyer persona; the data and insight (whether technographic, firmographic etc) stored in HubSpot allows you to determine trends in your highest value accounts and use these to gain insight into your customers.
According to HubSpot, “if done correctly, an ICP can help define the problems you're solving for, align your product/service capabilities with customers’ needs, and assist in laying out your future road map for product/service updates and changes.”
If you can clarify these details early on, any customers that come into your database will automatically be segmented into a persona, based on your defined ICP.
From here, you’ll be in the best position to then assess whether these accounts are a good fit for your business - and ABM program - or not.
“Even before you get into any sales and marketing processes, it’s just about having clarity around your personas, your ICP, your tiers and using that to segment your accounts” - Fes Askari, Director of Sales and Strategic Accounts at strategicabm
In fact, one of HubSpot’s newer features allows you to assign customizable ‘tags’ to contacts. These can be anything from ‘Decision Maker’ to ‘Influencer’.
These tags allow your team to share vital information about a contact’s business and organizational structure.
And ultimately, this enables your Sales and Marketing teams to build relevant messaging directly for that buyer role.
2. Automating Marketing Processes
The average marketer spends almost a third of their time completing repetitive tasks.
So, consider the time and resource your teams can save by having your account data and contact information in one place!
According to Invesp, using marketing automation enables up to 14.5% increase in sales productivity!
"Marketing automation is all about using software to automate marketing activities. Many marketing departments automate repetitive tasks such as email marketing, social media posting, and even ad campaigns - not just for the sake of efficiency, but so they can provide a more personalized experience for their customers." - HubSpot
Typically, when you think of marketing automation, you think of scheduled emails and social media posts, or gathering data like email open rate, etc.
But in reality, marketing automation is more than that.
With the insight HubSpot provides access to, the personalization of your campaigns can be more relevant and engaging to the audience.
It goes beyond emails and scheduling - it’s about using all of the channels available to you to enhance the communication between your brand and the account.
It [marketing automation] goes beyond emails and scheduling - it’s about using all of the channels available to you to enhance the communication between your brand and the account.
HubSpot’s workflow templates and tiering systems are entirely customizable, meaning you can immediately identify which contacts fit your ICP based on variables that you define - whether it’s based on industry, average revenue etc.
And with this information, you can decide which accounts fit best with your chosen ABM program type (One-to-one, One-to-few or One-to-many) and vary your approach accordingly.
Ultimately, HubSpot’s automation features help to save time and allow your team to focus on the important stuff.
3. In-depth Reporting
The key to any successful account-based program is knowing where your strengths are, and what needs to be adjusted for maximum engagement.
With HubSpot, you can report at a number of different levels - from Marketing and Sales, all the way through the pipeline.
HubSpot’s reporting features allow you to build customizable dashboards based on any metric in HubSpot's marketing, sales, or customer service software.
And with access to real-time data, your dashboards can provide up-to-date visuals, allowing your team to gain insight into the engagement and success of different campaigns.
HubSpot also easily integrates with third-party tools like Databox, which can help to augment your HubSpot reporting.
Of course, that’s not to say you’ll need more tools - and it’s best to refine your tech stack wherever possible - but if your company already uses other software, it can be helpful to interlink your tech to create a more seamless process.
4. Managing Sales Processes
Automation is practically a godsend for Marketing teams - but what about Sales?
It’s important to strike a balance when automating processes. After all, Sales in ABM needs personalization to be effective; go too heavy on blanket automation and you might risk losing that.
However, a recent extension to HubSpot is Sales Hub, which allows you to create personalized sequences. It focuses on process management for Sales teams to engage contacts aligned to a process that’s been agreed upon with the Marketing team.
Ultimately, this allows both teams to work together to build a compelling account experience.
Another useful feature in HubSpot is the playbooks tool which enables a smoother and more cohesive Sales process.
Playbooks provide sales enablement information to Sales teams so that they can follow a clear, centralized road map on how to engage, follow-up etc. with accounts.
And this means that everyone within your teams has access to the same insight, making for a more streamlined Sales approach.
What else does an ABM tech stack need?
As helpful as HubSpot may be in supporting your ABM program, simply using the software alone won’t be enough to ensure success.
By integrating third-party tools with your CRM in HubSpot, all of your data, insights and reporting will be interlinked, allowing for a more streamlined process.
In fact, HubSpot has a great API and integrates with a number of third-party tech that can help to enrich your accounts.
Regarding other technologies to include in your stack:
- Intent data platforms - such as Cyance
- Direct marketing platforms such as Reachdesk
- Reporting software - such as Databox
- Website monitoring software such as Leadfeeder
- Social media platforms such as LinkedIn
The above and more can all help to enrich your ABM program and account understanding, and provide the clarity needed to personalize at the right time, right place.
Note that if your company is already using a different CRM platform, HubSpot is also able to integrate with most of these, to ensure all of your data is centralized.
Now you’re ready to take your ABM tech and program to the next level - but remember:
As important as technology may be in supporting your campaigns and overall account-based program; relying on tech alone will not be enough to grant you the ABM success you seek.
The right technology is no substitute for coherent planning ahead of launching your campaign. But it sure will make managing, actioning and running your program that much easier!