What’s required in order to embark on and scale an account-based marketing campaign? What part can technology play in that process?
The Paradox of Account-Based Marketing at Scale
Can you scale account-based marketing (ABM) success? This may seem a straightforward question, however the answer can be yes or no depending on what you’re willing to include in your definition of account-based marketing.
To understand why, we first need to understand how account-based marketing works:
Strategic account-based marketing (1-2-1) is based on the principle of treating a single account as a market of one and targeting that customer and the people within it for maximum impact.
Achieving this requires a combination of individual processes;
- Selecting the right accounts
- Insight – developing a deep methodical understanding of your customer challenges, building out the decision making units, including identifying any new contacts you need to build relationships with
- Developing an optimum customer value proposition aligned to the customer’s commercial goals
- Account specific messaging translated into a series of high impact campaign assets
- A powerful engagement plan built around best fit media and channels
As these ABM processes combine to develop a deep, insightful - and bespoke - relationship with a specific account; by definition, replicating a bespoke campaign at scale is paradoxical.
However, it is possible to scale ABM to the extent that you can scale certain individual elements within a campaign as a whole.
Can We Scale Account-Based Marketing Processes With Technology?
Technology can help with part of this; an array of social listening tools, predictive data analytics, customer engagement data, 3rd party intent data, marketing automation and CRM technologies are available to help us scale activity. With them, we can gain deeper account level insight and profile stakeholders, gauge buyer propensity, identify the correct mix of media and channels to engage on and more.
However, interpreting the data necessary to select ABM-ready accounts is another matter. Looking at the individual elements of ABM above, activities such as developing an optimum and persuasive customer value proposition and developing account-specific messaging and bespoke content will still rely on a considerable amount of human judgement, so can’t be scaled by technology alone.
Equally, while a myriad of marketing automation vendors provide the capability to automate workflows and execute campaigns with a high degree of accuracy, as well as return detailed and accurate reporting, they can’t legislate for times when your target audience is not digitally or socially active, or at the point of in their customer journey interaction needs to move offline.
So this shows the idea that ‘you can use technology to successfully scale ABM to hundreds or even thousands of accounts’ is a paradox!
So What Can I Do To Scale My ABM Success?
While the idea of scaling an account-bespoke campaign to a large volume of accounts is paradoxical, there are still ways to scale account-based marketing success.
An ABM Lite, or ‘one-to-few’ approach, works by grouping accounts with common values, such as their challenges, business motivations or even vertical markets; making it highly scalable with the right technology tools.
As a HubSpot platinum partner our pioneering ‘Inbound 2 ABM’ model depends on leveraging the right blend of technology, mixed with human judgement and backed by insight, to deliver maximum impact across all stages of the customer lifecycle.
So, can you scale your account-based marketing success with tech?
So long as you:
- Aren’t distracted by tech,
- Consider technology as an enabler rather than an initiative,
- Work backwards from your business goals to determine what’s needed to support a sales conversation,
- Start with outcomes, processes and accurate data,
Then yes, it is possible to for technology to play an important role in scaling ABM. However, it’s important to always keep in mind the importance of human judgement and unique account engagement if campaigns are to be truly account-focused.