Personalized content experiences and increasing conversion rates
Needle sharp focus on the right accounts to target and address, is the key for a successful account-based marketing strategy. Marije Gould, VP Demand Generation and Field Marketing at Unit4 explains their journey in rolling out true account-based marketing, ABM at scale.
Unit4 sells ERP, Financial Planning and Human Capital Planning software solutions worldwide. A year on they can look back on a successful ABM programme. More importantly they now know where to dedicate their future efforts on improving the results. It’s never finished.
“Our conversion rates from Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) to opportunity went up to 10%. That is a big increase for us. We are now figuring out how to improve those rates even more.”
How we started
“We created a list first of all, together with Sales. We used Lattice Engines (a Customer Data Platform with focus on ABM) to define the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). And, we looked at verticals and the total addressable global market. This way we defined a target account list where we thought we deserved to win. The global list however was made up of 1400 target accounts. This was based on a number of 30 accounts per net new sales rep. With about 1 in 7 accounts actively looking for new solutions, this made us realize that we wouldn’t reach our global target,” so says Marije.
Due to Covid-19 less than 1 in 7 accounts were actively looking at Unit4 and at the same time Marketing was forced to transform activities to a full digital experience. This made the team decide to define and create dynamic key accounts lists based on insights, rather than based on a wish-list from sales that was static.
“A static target account list didn’t work for us, we got off on the wrong foot!”
A dynamic target account list
Marije: “We created a new ICP based on demographic data, interest and intent attributes. We can monitor the interest and intent attributes from accounts in our ABM software ‘Terminus’ and Lattice Insights. This way we created a new list, which is a flexible or ‘dynamic’ list of 5000 accounts. We were helped by Salesforce CRM and Lattice Engines to define our list based on who was showing online interest. This way we could start ABM at scale. During the process we added other parameters to our Ideal Customer Profile, such as regions, industries and company size, focusing on where we know we can win to refine our list based on intent and behaviour.”
The Unit4 marketing team works closely together with Business Development. Together they have organized themselves in four teams: besides Marketing we have CDR’s, BDR’s and Sales. The Contact Development Reps (CDR’s) would keep an eye out, check engagement on account level and add active contacts and leads to the accounts. Lead to account matching is a very important step in the process. Newly implemented Leandata helps automate this process.
When an account seems to qualify, through a combination of account rating and individual lead qualification (MQL), a CDR will hand over the account to a Business Development Rep (BDR). The BDR undertakes a BANT qualification check (Budget, Authority, Need and Timeline) before handing the qualified account to Sales. When an opportunity is in the hands of Sales the marketing team continues to support Sales by using account targeted influence campaigns.
“The cooperation between Marketing, Business Development and Sales works like clockwork, we all know what to do and when to hand over.”
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Creating a seamless content experience
Unit4 goes “all in” when it comes to grabbing the attention of their audience. Cooperating with local branch associations, using content syndication, organizing webinars and localizing content and ads. Marije: “We even use direct mail solutions, which allows us to for instance offer webinar participants a coffee voucher to use during a webinar. This way we engaged the right audience and included them in one of the 50 nurture streams that we set up.”
Unit4 nurtures the leads based on job title, industry, stage of the buyer’s journey and behaviour.
“Our next challenge is how to hyper-personalize our content for 5000 accounts across countries and languages?”
The role of technology in ABM at scale
To get the most out of the ABM programme Unit4 has integrated lots of tools. This goes way beyond CRM and marketing automation. Tooling to select, segment and enrich data. The team uses e.g. Lattice Engines to analyse data, and combining internal and external data to improve the running campaigns.
Marije: “And we just now started a pilot with conversational marketing, using Drift. We can still improve our multichannel experience, and chat is a channel that is not yet fully integrated in our ABM approach.”
For the personalized ABM approach the ABM software works really well. And for content syndication Unit4 has a system in place as well. The team also uses tooling for personalized web pages. When a target account visits the website, the system displays a personal layer on the page, based on their IP-address. And so on. The Marketing Operations team integrates and enables all the technologies.
Marije concludes the ABM at scale story with a challenging wishlist: “We have achieved a lot in the last year, but we can still improve of course. Things on my mind are: How do we convert the leads even better? What is the exact contribution to the conversion of the campaigns and tactics? How do we get more Marketing Qualified Leads instead of unqualified ‘hand raisers’? How can we utilize all our tools even more?”