Account-based marketing (ABM) has proven to be more than just a trend in the B2B sector; it’s an essential strategy that combines marketing efforts with sales alignment to engage key accounts effectively. ABM keeps changing to new technological breakthroughs and changing purchase behaviours. With a a growing need for personalised marketing methods, ABM stands as a example of innovation in the B2B space.
I attended the annual ABM Conference in London and would like to share my main learnings with you in a series of articles. Today an overview of the highlights of how we see the future of ABM.
AI and machine learning: The new frontier in ABM
At the forefront of ABM progression is Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI). Advanced tools are becoming essential for B2B account targeting, allowing marketers to prioritise potential customers more likely to convert. And AI doesn’t stop there; it’s optimising content for varying stages of the buyer’s journey and predicting future customer needs through detailed data review. ABM platforms are becoming powerhouses of AI-driven insights. This enables both automation and interaction on scale.
“There are only so many hours in a day, so you need to focus on the right things. It’s about using resources in the smartest possible way.”(David Keene, Wipro)
Sales and marketing synergy
The essence of ABM lies in the seamless sales alignment and marketing collaboration. With AI as the bridge, shared analytics and insights allow teams to collectively understand account engagement and needs. This understanding helps in creating a combined approach in customer engagement strategies.
Scaling ABM for personalised engagement
ABM has grown from talking to one customer at a time to reaching many at once in a way that still feels personal. Thanks to technology, we can group customers and send them special content. This helps us connect with more customers at the same time while keeping the personal touch that makes them feel important.
The rise of predictive analytics in ABM
Predictive analytics is revolutionising ABM, offering foresight into which accounts to target and the optimal timing for outreach. By analysing intent data and buying signals, ABM campaigns are more timely and relevant than ever. This ensures that the right message reaches the right account at the right moment.
From lead generation to account intelligence
The shift from lead-centric to account-centric marketing is obvious when looking at the near future of ABM. Deep account intelligence is now possible. And, with a thorough understanding of an account’s business landscape, challenges, and priorities we can now develop strong B2B marketing strategies.
“We should no longer talk about Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), but instead talk about Qualified Buying Groups (QBG).”(Jon Miller, Demandbase)
Content personalisation with AI
As mentioned earlier, generative AI has been a game-changer for content personalisation at scale. It’s the human touch though that ensures the content resonates with the intended audience. Marketers are still needed for the brand story, guiding AI-generated content to align with brand values and customer engagement guidelines. How to use content effectively in practice is another step in the process, and relates to channels and campaign execution. Using a variety of the right promotional channels to reach your target audience is best practice. Best-in-class B2B marketers use paid, owned and earned channels.
New metrics for ABM success
As ABM starts to care more about building strong, long-lasting relationships with customers, we’re paying less attention to old ways of measuring success like how many new leads we get. Instead, we’re looking at things like how well we interact with customers, how much they’re buying, and how healthy our relationship with them is.
“Demand gen is no longer the solution either!” (Robert Norum, Propolis, in discussion with Hanna Leerink, Trend Micro, David Keene, Wipro, and Neil Berry, Capgemini)
Adapting to shifting buyer behaviours defines the future of ABM
In response to buyers’ preference for remaining anonymous longer in their decision-making process – forms are no longer filled out -, ABM strategies are evolving. Basically the emphasis is on nurturing potential buyers with strategic customer engagement that doesn’t solely rely on traditional gated content or forms.
Strategic account planning at its core
ABM goes beyond normal marketing by becoming a key part of planning for important customer accounts. All things considered we see that sales and marketing teams work together closely to create personalised plans to make sure these key customers are successful.
Customer Experience: ABM’s linchpin
Acknowledging that a great customer experience is key to not only winning new customers but also expanding within existing accounts, ABM strategies now prioritise seamless, personalised interactions at every touchpoint. Understanding the underlying buyer persona is still one of the important criteria for success.
“We can use a bit more emotion and humour in B2B still.” (Andrea Clatworthy, Fujitsu)
Commitment to ABM expertise
With ABM becoming more popular, the demand for specialised training and development in this area is growing. Companies are likely to invest in ABM centres of excellence to create and share best practices. This will in any case ensure the success of their targeted B2B account strategies.
“The best way forward is to try and get championship at senior level. Also piggyback on existing programmes. And give people permission to experiment, fail and learn.” (Emily Claire Poupart, Arup)
The landscape of ABM is one of constant evolution, where working with new technologies and maintaining flexibility are critical. On the one hand the need for personalised, relevant engagement with key accounts will continue to be a priority. And on the other hand the methodologies to achieve this becoming more sophisticated and aligned with business objectives. Lots of opportunities for both marketing and sales teams to collaborate even more!
If you want to create your Always-on ABM strategy or use content to deliver great results, the best solution is to get advice from the experts. See how SPOTONVISION can help you with your ABM content strategy and implementation.