January 1 is the ultimate re-set, and we all buy in.
Wake with a ‘new year, new me’ mentality and hope things will be different. We quit the booze. Hit the gym. Vouch to spend less, eat better. Deliver-who?
We know we need a plan, especially a precise account-based marketing plan or the year ahead will end the same place it started and in business, next year is never guaranteed, especially now.
Britain might be post-pandemic, but the economy has long-covid and companies will likely feel the pinch for the foreseeable. New hires are slowing. Big budget line items — cancelled, and companies are safeguarding through saving — not gambling on growing — by spending.
While Rishi is getting called-out for introducing plans - amid a cost-of-living crisis - to teach kids maths, right now, if it doesn’t add up to making money, it just doesn’t make sense.
For marketers the equation just got harder, but ROI isn’t out of reach. We just need to work smarter. That doesn’t mean pausing long-term strategies and bold ambitions, but zooming-in on the short game. Eyeball the bottom line, because with the right focus in our marketing plan, the outlook can be optimistic, even in a down economy.
According to HBR, companies that use adverse economic conditions to drive ROI around marketing efforts, “can increase revenue by tens or even hundreds of millions of pounds within one or two quarters.”
So, forget the big picture and focus on the essentials:
- Get market and account segmentation right
- Optimise marketing campaign spend
- Increase conversions of MQLs into opportunities
- And most importantly, keep spending
Let's dive into how marketers can make these points their new-year resolutions and modify their account-based marketing plans for 2023 with our six key areas of focus.
Boost return ratios through smart segmentation
Segmentation allows marketers to focus programs on accounts with faster sales cycles and greater ROI, and in-turn, not waste time and money on chasing too many leads, or the wrong ones.
By teaming-up with marketing operations and leadership, marketers can pin-point high ROI segments. Then, use that data to identify the global target account list (TAL) appropriately using key verticals, industries, company sizes, geo regions or intent data.
Recessions don’t last forever, but when you’re in one, marketers need to show value fast. Aligning with leadership on the task, illustrates that commitment.
Focus on accounts ready to spend
If the main KPI of your marketing plan is awareness, assess whether that is the right focus for now. Using awareness tactics is great for brand building but that might take several quarters to show returns. Marketers need to generate and capture in-market demand. You can do this by setting up campaigns that target relevant personas within buying groups - individuals, rather than teams - using personalisation, and providing specific solutions to individual needs.
By serving ads on the content individual personas are viewing, marketers can align their offering to those relevant topics, capture the interest of that specific persona and in-turn increase the size of the buying group.
Choose ads that ad value, and don’t cost much
Marketers also need to use the right ads, optimising campaigns and budget towards those showing lower costs and greater back-end ROI. Pull back on paid advertising for awareness on expensive platforms, in favour of using them to re-target already warm website traffic or accounts.
Turn MQLs into real opportunities
With many businesses squeezing marketing budgets, the pool of accounts for sales to target is shrinking, so marketers need to help teams prioritise those that are in-market. This one is a no-brainer – focus on the MQLs but Marketers should also consider prioritising accounts with multiple MQLs. If you have several from a single account, this indicates that the buying group is likely researching and ready to speak to sales.
Get smarter with the data - then share it
By applying intent data to your TAL, accounts researching topics relevant to your solution are identified. A joint sales and marketing plan can then be formulated to penetrate and gain traction. Not only will this show you what accounts are engaging, but also what channels are working. To allocate your spend appropriately you need to know what accounts are in market and what channels they’re on, using a cross-channel view.
Help sales, help you
In a tough market, increasing sales efficiency can really pay off for both teams. Research from Reachforce shows that streamlining sales and marketing teams can improve your deal closing rate by up to 67%. By implementing regular sales and marketing meetings to discuss target accounts, you can drive more leads, shorten buyer’s journeys, and close higher-impact deals.
There’s no doubt 2023 is going to be difficult. That businesses will have to make tough decisions. That budgets may shrink, and ROI will become the deciding factor on all decisions.
But that doesn’t mean marketers need to panic, they just need to re-prioritise big-picture plans and focus time and money on the best returns and help other teams, like sales, help them. Marketers need to focus their intentions on the obtainable and plan with precision. Because they can’t afford anything less.
By Kelly Patterson, EMEA Marketing Director