Marketing Automation and ABM: A Perfect Match?
July 21, 2020
Good account-based marketing involves a lot of nurturing. You’re building a relationship between businesses, and there will be a lot of nudging, encouraging, reminding and helping along the way.
All of that takes time.
However, B2B relationships are just like normal relationships—if you don’t invest the time, the relationship will die.
Unfortunately, that can be hard to do when you’re trying to nurture dozens or even hundreds of relationships simultaneously. B2B marketing automation helps to bridge that gap.
Incorporating Marketing Automation
You see, most of the interactions that help nurture your target accounts along their journey to becoming customers don’t have to be initiated by a living human being to be effective.
For example, reminders about an upcoming appointment aren’t less valuable because they’re automated. A follow-up email doesn’t have to be completely custom-tailored to be worth reading. Your customers don’t always have to chat with an actual person to get their questions answered.
As long as your marketing automation is providing the right value at the right time (and doesn’t feel canned), your customers won’t care whether it was automated or not.
Of course, as with every other aspect of account-based marketing, to pull all of this off, you have to really understand your customers. Otherwise, your marketing will come off as mechanical and forced.
If you have a good grasp for your target accounts and their needs, though, B2B marketing automation is your best friend. With it, you can give your customers what they want, when they want it. You’ll be giving them exactly what they need, and in response, they’ll be much more likely to give you their business.
Odds are, you’re probably doing at least a little marketing automation right now, but what can you do to take things to the next level? There are a lot of options, but here are a few practical tips to help you get started.
Look at the Big Picture
The first step to creating an effective B2B marketing automation plan is to think about your buyer journey as a whole.
- What does your overall buyer journey look like?
- How does account-based marketing fit into that journey?
- What do your target accounts need to learn or do to progress towards becoming customers?
- How do you help them get to the next stage in their journey?
Once you’ve thought through your overall account-based marketing strategy, break it down into specific, manageable pieces and determine how you want to interact with your potential customers at each touchpoint.
Build Out Email Drip Campaigns
When most people think of marketing automation and account-based marketing, the first thing that comes to mind is email drip campaigns. There’s a reason for that. Between marketing and sales, B2B businesses send out a lot of emails.
Email is still one of the best ways to do account-based marketing. A lot of companies prefer to communicate with vendors and suppliers via email, so it’s a great way to get in front of (and stay in front of) potential clients.
With marketing automation, you can set all kinds of drips up once and then reap the benefits for months or years.
Until your target accounts are actively interested, it’s often not very economical to send out individualized emails. With a well-planned set of adaptive email drip campaigns, though, you can provide all kinds of value without having to lift a finger.
Chatbots are often seen as a B2C or customer service tool, but they have a ton of potential for account-based marketing as well. If you set them up correctly, you can use chatbots on social media or your website to give prospective customers a great experience.
No one likes sending a chat request in to a business…only to wait for minutes or even hours for a response.
Once you’re on a target accounts’ radar, you can’t afford to leave them hanging. You need to deliver a killer experience at every touchpoint.
With a smart chatbot setup, they can get the answers they need in seconds. Most requests tend to follow certain question-answer patterns. So, if you dive into your chat history and think about things from your customers’ perspective, it’s usually not too hard to set up response trees that will take care of most of your customer needs.
Again, like all good marketing automation, this will take some time to think through and set up. But, once it’s working, it will save you a ton of time and help you land additional customers.
Set Up SMS Marketing
SMS marketing can be a great marketing automation option for account-based marketing. 80% of professionals use SMS text messaging for business purposes and 53% of millennials prefer communicating via text to talking on the phone.
Here are some ways to incorporate SMS messaging into your marketing automation. You can use SMS to:
- Help set up and schedule appointments
- Send reminders about appointments
- Remind users about downloads
- Send useful content
- Gather information from leads
- Send out survey requests
And these are just the simple, easy options. If you get creative, there are tons of additional ways to use SMS messaging with marketing automation!
One of the best ways to streamline your ABM efforts is to use marketing automation. The trick is to look at the big picture and identify where a “personal touch” is necessary…and where automation can provide the same value with a lot less effort.
Email drip campaigns are an incredible time-saving option for ABM. You have to be thoughtful about how and where to use them, but almost every AMB strategy should include automated email campaigns.
The right chatbot setup can help you provide basic information to influencers from your target accounts without requiring a massive investment of time from your marketing or sales team.
SMS marketing can help ensure that none of the little details of your strategy—meeting reminders, updates, content suggestions, etc—get lost while you’re trying to juggle all the demands of account-based marketing.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
To learn more about account-based marketing and how to put it to work for your B2B business, reach out to us here to get specific tips and advice for your business. Talk to you soon!