Rachel Balik, Director, Product Marketing, Demandbase, discussed the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in today's account-based marketing (ABM) world in her presentation to Argyle's CMO membership at the 2016 Leadership in Digital Marketing Forum in Boston on Dec. 8. In her presentation, "Closing the Deal: Artificial Intelligence in an ABM World," Balik examined how an ABM approach can help marketers partner with sales teams to create pipeline and close deals.
According to Balik, marketers commonly use an ABM approach to focus on generating interest from specific accounts. The approach can help marketers understand a target audience and allocate the necessary time and resources to foster trust and loyalty with this group.
"With account-based marketing, sales and marketing are narrowing their focus and selecting accounts to focus on and can devote more energy and resources to closing those accounts," Balik said. "And [ABM] is working out for a lot of people."
Although an ABM approach has served marketers well for many years, AI is transforming the way that marketers connect with sales teams. AI provides account intelligence that marketers can use to empower sales teams with the account information that they need to finalize deals.
In addition, an ABM approach may help marketers bridge the gap with sales teams and ensure both parties can work together to help a business accomplish its immediate and long-term goals.
Marketing and sales teams frequently operate in silos. By doing so, marketers and sales professionals may struggle to help a company boost its revenues for an extended period of time.
"Marketing needs to stay involved all the way through the sales funnel and help the close happen."
With an ABM approach, marketers are able to support sales teams throughout each stage of the sales funnel. Marketers will be able to collect a broad assortment of data about a target audience and offer insights that may help sales teams close deals. Thus, an ABM approach offers immense value for both marketers and sales teams, enabling both parties to help a company drive consistent revenue growth.
"The goal of account-based marketing is to have both [sales and marketing] teams working together across the [sales] funnel on what the [business] goals are, which is focusing on the accounts that are most likely to buy," Balik stated.
Account data is key for marketers, and a wealth of account insights is available to marketers across the globe.
AI technologies can help marketers organize a large collection of account data and optimize its value.
"In our B2B lives, [AI] represents the ability to capture a lot of deep insight from across the web and bring it together with [marketing] trends … and make it effective to help close business."
When AI technologies are used in conjunction with an ABM approach, marketers can find out which accounts are interested in a business' products and services and tailor their marketing efforts accordingly.
"Artificial intelligence is a thing we use a lot in our lives," Balik noted. "In our B2B lives, [AI] represents the ability to capture a lot of deep insight from across the web and bring it together with [marketing] trends … and make it effective to help close business."
Ultimately, marketers must be able to evaluate account data throughout each stage of the sales funnel. By doing so, marketers will be able to provide relevant account insights to sales teams, increasing the likelihood that sales teams can close deals.
"Marketing needs to stay involved all the way through the sales funnel and help the close happen," Balik pointed out. "And we want to measure throughout the funnel, because a big portion of this is having account intelligence."
The combination of AI and an ABM approach enables marketers to provide sales teams with insights into industry trends. This information may prove to be exceedingly valuable and could help a company identify growth opportunities faster than ever before.
"We need to deliver insights to [sales teams] that will help them follow up on the great work that we've done," Balik stated. "And [sales teams] need to be able to understand the business landscape."
Understanding account data ensures that marketers and sales teams can deliver personalized messages to accounts – something that may help a company differentiate itself from the competition.
In today's highly competitive global marketplace, marketers are constantly exploring ways to bolster the customer experience. Now, the combination of AI with an ABM approach enables marketers to provide sales teams with comprehensive insights into account behaviors and trends. As such, marketers and sales teams are better equipped to deliver personalized experiences to accounts, which may help a business stand out from its rivals.
"When you're reaching out to an account, you want to know what this account cares about as well as who is the appropriate person at that account and what kinds of things that they are doing," Balik said. "By providing insights, marketing should be supporting the personalized messaging and the relevant messaging, and all of that is made possible by artificial intelligence."
Rachel is a product marketer and content strategist with several years of experience in high tech. She has cultivated expertise in areas ranging from cloud computing to best-in-class technology stacks to organizational alignment. Since joining Demandbase in 2013, she has been instrumental in building momentum around Account-Based Marketing through thought leadership, educational assets and product development. Most recently, Rachel instructed the first-ever ABM certification program, which she helped to develop. Rachel’s writing on technology, marketing and entrepreneurship has been published in MarketingLand, VentureBeat, Forbes, BusinessInsider, PCMag and other publications.