Demandbase Chief Marketing Officer Peter Isaacson examined account-based marketing (ABM) during his presentation at the 2017 CMO Forum: B2B Marketing in the Digital Era in San Francisco on November 29. In his presentation, Isaacson discussed the evolution of ABM.
Today, many marketers deploy ABM to achieve the best-possible results. This approach requires marketers to focus on finding accounts and targeting them appropriately. Yet ABM continues to evolve, and marketers who fail to adapt may struggle to help their respective companies stay ahead of the competition.
"ABM is a full-fledged legitimate [technology] category," Isaacson said. "In a relatively short period of time, account-based marketing has really taken off."
Although many marketers focus exclusively on marketing activities, they must look beyond their own departments. In fact, marketers who collaborate with sales teams may be better equipped to help a company accomplish its immediate and long-term goals.
In the past, marketers would focus on promoting a brand, its products and its services, and sales teams would explore ways to convert leads into sales. Now, marketers and sales teams must work in conjunction with one another as part of an ABM approach.
"You want to make sure that you are targeting accounts that have a fit for your company's value proposition."
Marketing and sales teams who collaborate tend to learn from each other. Both teams can leverage a wealth of data about a company's target audience and develop effective strategies to ensure the optimal business results.
"The model around sales and marketing collaboration is changing fundamentally," Isaacson noted. "Sales and marketing were once very separate and distinct groups … There is now a much more productive ABM model that drives collaboration between sales and marketing across all aspects of the [sales] funnel."
Furthermore, a collaborative approach to ABM may help marketers extend their reach within a company.
A marketing team that can provide in-depth customer insights can help sales partner with clients. As a result, a marketing team can have a major impact on whether a company meets or surpasses its sales goals.
"More and more marketing teams are getting their variable compensation based on pipeline contributions and closed-one revenue," Isaacson stated. "Marketers want to arm sales teams with the tools and insights that they need … to close business."
The amount of customer data available to marketers sometimes can be overwhelming, but new technologies are helping marketers maximize the value of this information.
"Marketers want to arm sales teams with the tools and insights that they need … to close business."
Going forward, ABM will require marketers to deploy state-of-the-art technologies to fully analyze large, complex customer data sets. Marketers who can perform deep data analysis can track customer behaviors and trends, and can make data-driven projections.
"The fundamental of account-based marketing is choosing the right accounts and going after them," Isaacson indicated. "At its most basic level, basing the accounts [you go after] on customer profiles and other basic criteria … can help you get pretty far."
ABM now gives marketers the ability to craft customer profiles based on extensive data sets. These profiles ensure marketers can consistently deliver the right message to the right target audience.
"You want to make sure that you are targeting accounts that have a fit for your company's value proposition," Isaacson said. "Now, we're able to get much more sophisticated … and can match basic criteria, fit and timely intent."
New technologies enable marketers to understand how businesses and consumers search for brands. These technologies give marketers a glimpse of all aspects of the buyer's journey, and can provide insights to instantly connect with a company's target audience.
"Understanding when companies are researching topics that are relevant to your company … is much more sophisticated," Isaacson stated.
Many businesses and consumers perform comprehensive research into a brand. Meanwhile, technologies are available that help marketers understand how businesses and consumers perceive a brand. These technologies could prove to be exceedingly valuable as they can help marketers find the best ways to engage with prospects at each stage of the buyer's journey.
"Companies are starting to do research on your competitors and are trying to get smart," Isaacson noted. "What you really want to do is get to companies as they start to research your segment … and we now have the technology to do that."
ABM constantly changes, and marketers must be ready to adapt to ongoing ABM innovations. If marketers maintain flexibility and agility, they can keep pace with businesses and consumers and discover innovative ways to connect with customers, regardless of the global marketplace's conditions.
"We're really just at the beginning stages of becoming very sophisticated with [customer intent]," Isaacson said. "That is going to change how B2B marketers engage with prospects."
Peter Isaacson is a proven business leader with more than 25 years of marketing experience in job responsibilities ranging from branding and advertising to corporate communications and product marketing. This includes deep experience in both B2C and B2B marketing and managing large teams across international markets.
As Chief Marketing Officer for Demandbase, Peter is responsible for overall marketing strategy and execution, including product, corporate and field marketing. Prior to joining Demandbase, Peter was CMO at Castlight Health, helping to scale the company and build the marketing team prior to their successful IPO. Peter has also held leadership positions at Microstrategy and Adobe, where he led various functions, including brand marketing, WW field marketing, and the WW Education vertical business. Peter got his start in advertising, working at agencies in New York on accounts ranging from Procter & Gamble to Compaq computers.