Like many of you, the current global events have resulted in reflection on marketing results, successes, failures and everything in between to help plan for the ‘now normal’. A key part of that reflection and planning revolves around the question…
“How should a B2B marketer adjust their ABM and sales strategies for 2020 and 2021?”
Let’s walk through strategies to keep up with the evolving market and position your organization in a place for growth.
Don’t rely too heavily on inbound accounts and website captures
This was a strategy that many teams had to rethink right out of the gate once companies began full-time remote work. The days of identifying companies that visited your website by reverse IP address lookup were over. Instead of seeing a list of website visitors from employees at Coca-Cola, Home Depot or Lowe’s you’re now seeing AT&T, T-Mobile and other cable providers. This put inbound ABM tactics to a grinding halt for marketers that tracked and analyzed their website visits monthly, weekly or even daily.
The learning point from this is to rethink your target account list and become more proactive. Adjust to the industries that were affected negatively – i.e. hospitality, airlines, leisure, etc. Even within the markets that are seeing growth, adjust your goals and messaging for a conservative buyer persona. For some organizations, this might require a pivot in your go-to-market strategy and openness to attract new industries. Use that as a time to get creative, build out their customer journey and evolve rather than sit back and wait for things to return to how they were before the pandemic. As the economy eases and companies reopen offices, the identified website visitors will start to trickle back in, but it’s important to maintain a hybrid mix of inbound targets and a focused outbound target list.
Keep a strong Marketing and Sales alignment
Marketing and Sales teams have been preaching this for years, but the pandemic heightened the need for a closed gap. As you rethink your target account list for ABM campaigns, it’s important that the Sales team is up to speed to avoid overlap. Many companies rely on Salesforce or Dynamics CRM to stay ‘aligned’, but chances are there are conversations and activity that has slipped through the cracks in the platforms.
An easy, quick solution for alignment is a 5-minute daily or weekly scrum meeting between your Marketing and Sales teams. It allows marketers to share email engagement, website visitors, form fills, event sign-ups, etc. and the sales reps to share updated targets, lost opportunities to drop in relevant nurtures, won opportunities to remove from email communications, etc. You’d be surprised at the amount of overlap that can be avoided in a short internal conversation. This will also enhance your personalization.
We’ll use Kroger as an example. Let’s say you are rethinking your target account list and add Kroger because they are seeing growth and fit your target account requirements, but have no idea that your Account Executive knows a previous co-worker that just landed a job at Kroger. They’ve been exchanging emails and texts about a potential opportunity, but you have no visibility into those conversations because of a lack of alignment with sales. If you have this daily scrum meeting you will know to swap Kroger with a new target account and maximize your efforts. The idea is that the alignment will enable better decisions about key accounts that will increase your chances to win deals.
Create a solid Customer Experience Strategy
Your customers are in control. They know what they want and expect brands to deliver in the way they want, when they want. If you’re online journey is too complicated, confusing or difficult to navigate, there’s a good chance your customer will become frustrated and go somewhere else. Take the friction points out of your experiences, not only for customer satisfaction, but for your bottom line. Siegel+Gale reported, “$98B / year is left on the table by companies who fail to provide “simple” experiences to their consumers”. That number and the importance of a “simple” experience is only going to gain importance. Before investing in new resources and CX tools, it’s important to measure and truly understand what your customers expect at each stage of the journey. Use your data, technology, customer surveys and feedback to make small changes. This investment in a solid CX strategy will position you for revenue growth and make your customers want to stay with you for the long haul.
Provide valuable, educational content
I can’t harp on this one enough. The field events and direct mail campaigns are on hold, so it is crucial to provide extremely valuable and relevant content to keep your prospects engaged. This ties hand-in-hand with having a focused target account list for your ABM strategies. Each industry, company and buyer have specific needs that should be addressed with significance and empathy. Focus on building a relationship and becoming a trusted advisor for prospects in a responsive and cash preservation state. While you might not be able to touch them with calls, in-person events or direct mail, if you show an understanding of their new journey and challenges through relevant content you will set yourself up for success and an opportunity when that time does come.
All in all, this is a time for testing and growth. Test new offers and incentives. Test new messaging to more targeted lists. Test new processes to align sales and marketing. Capturing identified companies on your website may have worked at the start of 2020, but might not work today. Your new virtual events that work today might not work in 2021. Remote work and COVID-19 have forced a reset on B2B marketing programs that set the precedent for constant testing and evaluation to keep up with market changes.
If you’d like to discuss how to implement strategies to move your organization’s Marketing program forward, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule time with an Arke executive at www.calendly.com/arke-1/.