For those marketers out there who are excited about account-based marketing (ABM), but are unsure of the technology needed to make it a success, today, we’re shedding some light on the account-based marketing tech stack and what tools you’ll require to make ABM work for your company.

Spawned from inbound, account-based marketing is the (relatively) new B2B marketing discipline designed to target best-fit organisations with highly-personalised marketing messages as you treat them as a market of one.

Flipping the traditional inbound marketing and sales funnel on its head, account-based marketing aims to identify best-fit accounts from the outset, and from there uses technology to deliver highly-personalised, targeted messages to engage key members of the organisation’s staff – i.e. those who are involved with B2B buying decisions.

Account-Based-Customer-Experience-Funnel 

 (Image source: images.g2crowd.com)

Four Types of Account Based Marketing

More and more B2B organisations are adopting account-based marketing, not as a replacement for inbound, but as a means to supplement it.

While inbound marketing casts its net wide – using content to attract visitors to a company’s website and then identifying high-potential leads from what comes in – account-based marketing concentrates resources on engaging a much smaller group of highly-targeted accounts that are identified before any content is created.

Technology is at the heart of account-based marketing. However, because no two businesses are alike, there is no one-size-fits-all account-based marketing tech stack that any company can use to get the results they’re after.

And that’s because account-based marketing itself is in fact quite a broad discipline. Indeed, there are essentially four types of account-based marketing, each of which requiring a slightly different approach.

4-types-of-Account-Based-Marketing

(Image source: terminus.com)

As we can see from the infographic above, the four types of ABM are:

  1. 1:1 ABM
  2. ABM Lite
  3. Programmatic ABM
  4. Bolt-on ABM

The first – 1:1 ABM – aims to target just 1-10 high-value accounts, and is where most organisations will start with account-based marketing. In addition to inbound marketing activities, an ABM team will be assigned to focus on just a handful of strategically-selected high-value accounts – typically between just one and ten at a time – that warrant the highly-personalised approach to marketing that an ABM strategy dictates.

The purpose – as with all account-based marketing – is to deliver targeted, highly-personalised content, experiences and offers specific to the accounts, and even individuals (i.e. the board of decision-makers) within the accounts.

As you can imagine, this requires much work and commitment – but, even so, specific marketing technology (MarTech) is not necessarily required to reach the individuals on these target accounts successfully. Indeed, if you have the in-house resources, the same can be said of ABM Lite, which aims to target between 10-100 accounts at a time.

But what happens when you want to scale your ABM strategy? When you have a much larger number of identified best-fit accounts, and still want to deliver the highly-personalised marketing messages and experiences to all individuals within those accounts?

This is when you’ll need an account-based marketing tech stack as you move into the realms of Programmatic ABM. Launching an ABM strategy that personalises the B2B buying experience across hundreds or even thousands of identified accounts is simply not possible without technology.

And the same is true for Bolt-on ABM, which is a hybrid between account-based marketing and inbound marketing and entirely reliant on technology. This approach allows you to take the leads you have generated via inbound marketing efforts and automatically expand your reach as you target more individuals at each account – the results of the inbound funnel flowing seamlessly into the ABM funnel.

inbound-marketing-account-based-marketing-blended-funnel

(Image source: blog.drift.com)

What You Need in Your Account Based Marketing Tech Stack

If we hark back to the account-based marketing funnel at the top of this post, we can see that there are essentially four stages in the ABM methodology – Identify, Expand, Engage, and Advocate.

Your account-based marketing tech stack, therefore, needs to contain tools that enable you to execute each of these four stages.

So, let’s run through them.

Technology to Identify Best-fit Accounts

Identify technology will help you find and create your list of target accounts.

There are essentially two categories of identify technology that will be beneficial to your account-based marketing tech stack at this stage – data technology, and predictive software.

Data technology will enable you to identify and target best-fit organisations based on firmographics and various other attributes. It will allow you to search for, say, financial services providers with 500-1,000 employees that operate on a global scale. It will also provide you with other key information on these accounts, such as contact information and social media profiles.

Predictive software will enable you to prioritise accounts on your list. It will determine whether or not the account is indeed a good fit for your solution, whether or not the account is looking for such a solution (using analyses of various buying signals across the web), and provide insight into other key attributes.

Some companies that can provide identify technology for your account-based marketing tech stack include DiscoverOrg, Dun & Bradstreet, Bombora and 6sense.

account-based-marketing-tech-stack

(Image source: terminus.com)

Technology to Expand Your Reach to the Right People

Once you’ve identified your target accounts, you now need to find the right people – i.e. the decision-makers and buyers – within them.

Expand technology will enable you to find the contact data for your buyer personas, expand your reach to more decision-makers and influencers within the targeted account, and give you greater insight into the overall account profile.

Some identify technology will provide value for this stage of the account-based marketing funnel, but you may also find ZenIQ, Datanyze, Integrate and Social123 useful when looking to expand you reach.  

identity-account-based-marketing-tech-stack

(Image source: terminus.com)

Technology to Engage Accounts

If you’re running an inbound marketing or content marketing program, you will likely already be using various tools and technology that can be repurposed for your account-based marketing tech stack at this stage.

The aim here is to engage the people at target accounts with personalised content, offers and experiences.

You’ll need marketing automation tools, email workflows, a customer relationship management (CRM) system, and plenty of content – including things like videos, webinars, and infographics as well as written content such as blog posts, articles, white papers and eBooks.

In addition, you will need landing page personalisation to ensure that selected targets arrive at landing pages specifically designed for them and them alone. With account-based marketing, nothing is generic.

HubSpot is a great tool for the Engage stage, but some others include Terminus, Engagio, PFL and Sigstr.

Engage-stage-account-based-marketing

(Image source: terminus.com)

Advocate Technology

The Advocate stage is often overlooked when it comes to both account-based marketing and inbound marketing – but it’s important.

Nurturing relationships with customers that you’ve already won is important for your retention strategy and ensuring that those same customers not only stay with you for the long-term, but become your loyal ambassadors.

Advocate technology includes tools that help with onboarding, adoption, referral and expansion. Some companies offering some great solutions for this stage include ChurnZero, Ambassador, Gainsight and Influitive.

advocate-stage-account-based-marketing-tech-stack

(Image source: terminus.com)

Over to You

Do you have everything you need in your account-based marketing tech stack? We’ve outlined the four major stages of account-based marketing, so use the information here to identify any gaps you need to fill.

If you’re looking to move into ABM, need a strategy that enables you to scale your existing efforts, or need help with identifying gaps in your account-based marketing tech stack, get in touch with the growth experts here at Incisive Edge today. 

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