As a B2B marketing company with a primarily tech-focused client list, we know well the complexity of the martech landscape. We also know the importance of using technology to support good marketing, not to replace it.
The best ABM programs measure engagement, personalize and refine communications, and are built to scale—which is where technology shines.
The phases of marketing matter
At The Marketing Practice, we use an internal framework known as the “TMP elements” to develop marketing strategies that answer our clients’ business needs. These four phases can be defined as:
We call these the TMP elements because they are inherent to every campaign we have worked on, and plan to work on. They guide all of our activity and engagement and ensure that no effort is made without thorough thought and planning. That said, we also realize that each of these steps has evolved alongside modern martech—making it easier to make smarter marketing decisions and deliver a personalized experience.
Below, we’ve created something of a “Table of Martech Elements,” outlining the tools we use in our campaigns.
How does this apply to ABM?
Let’s break down how all of these elements fit into an ABM go-to-market strategy.
Broadly speaking, it can be broken down into six stages, regardless of whether your strategy is 1:1, 1: few, programmatic, or blended.
Stage one: Account selection
With predictive analysis, we define the ideal customer profile based on common attributes from best customers and highest-converting targets. In turn, this helps us prioritize accounts to target, so we know exactly where to focus our efforts.
These intent tools also provide additional topics for engagement and help us refine existing campaigning activities.
Tools used in this stage include Infer, Lattice Engines, Tech Target, and 6sense, among others.
Stage two: Account insight and intelligence
In this stage, we identify business imperatives, challenges, and initiatives in target accounts—and look at where our client can best add value and solve problems.
The sales team is brought into the account activity at this stage. It’s imperative that the initiative and account marketing plan align with sales incentives: we want to ensure that sales follow up on the best leads.
Tools such as DiscoverOrg support this stage by collating data from public and private sources to provide insights.
Stage three: Engagement
Here, we create personalized communication journeys. Key to this stage is orchestration software, which brings together marketing automation and CRM tools to create relevant user journeys with highly targeted content.
Predictive software, some of which is familiar to us from stage one (Tech Target, for example), comes into play again at this stage. This software identifies intent and allows the buyer journey to be refined.
Content personalization techniques are essential at this stage. Tools such as Get Smart, Adobe Suite, MAP platforms, Uberflip, and Path Factory help us to scale while keeping the campaign intimate. Regardless of how many prospects we’re reaching out to, we always want to keep the human touch at the center of our efforts.
Stage four: Ongoing nurture and retargeting
At this stage, we use IP matching and retargeting to support sales outreach with ads. This makes it easier to connect with target accounts: the messages they see support our strategy.
Stage five: Sales enablement
At this point in the campaign, our sales team is engaging with prospects, so we want to provide them with the right tools—ones that provide easy access to account and contact insights.
CRM and marketing automation tools provide much of this information, but additional tools such as Crystal Knows and LinkedIn help us personalize outreach based on the prospect’s personality traits.
Stage six: Reporting and optimizing
Finally, we analyze our efforts to understand which activities and messages resonate with the audience, so we can further refine our approach and build account insights. Among other things, we look at ROI and attribution rates.
The TMP Elements
You can see from our handy graphic that the stages and tools above align with our four core elements of Understanding, Strategy, Solution, and Delivery. But we want to bring up the elements again for a different reason.
You’ll see that although Solution and Strategy are represented on the graphic above as an essential bridge between Understanding and Delivery, there are no martech tools listed. This is intentional.
Our strategies are developed using the insights we glean in the first phase, but also from our in-house expertise, global best practice, and our clients’ own insights. Once we have developed a solid messaging framework and approach, this is then translated into a creative solution, which combines a well-justified channel strategy with the final execution. It’s really human empathy, imagination, and connection that ensures the efficacy of these crucial phases.
So, while the martech landscape continues to grow and evolve and new technologies help, we firmly believe that a solid strategy and creative solution is something that must be developed in person and in partnership with our clients, and their marketing and sales teams.
Good martech changes with the times, but a solid strategy should be timeless.
Interested in learning more? Take a look at our article on ABM comms plans and reporting dashboards.
16th April 2019