Cross-Channel ABM (account-based marketing) is doing everything right, all at once and in the forever-changing landscape of B2B marketing. Any other approach is going to lead to leads being lost, time wasted, and opportunities missed.
It’s unloading the entire arsenal, with the precision of a laser, to reach every member of the buying group, at the right time, at the right place, with exactly what they need. But ABM tactics unsupported by a cross-channel approach, won’t create predictable pipeline, nor will it deliver returns on marketing spend.
We all know the marketing eco-system has been up ended with the only certainty being change: Marketing teams no longer lead the way, they simply try and keep up with buyers. Well, not even buyers, buying groups. Marketers don’t need to target and influence just one person, they need to speak to upwards of a dozen, all at once, who have different requirements, but all need to be ushered towards the same solution. And if that wasn’t bad enough, buyers are acting like they don’t need us. Making decisions in isolation, before we’ve even settled on tactics.
They’re out of reach, a step ahead, and often, unswayable.
But they’re not. For as much as the marketplace has moved in the digital era, the game remains the same. Buyers want solutions; marketers are the bridge there. Conversion has become a little more complex, but all marketers need to do is reassemble their assets, re-align their tactics and leave nothing to chance: Cross-Channel ABM.
It’s optimising digital channel spending to engage, nurture and acquire buying groups. It's getting more connected, making better connections, engaging them, and converting them. By getting tactics right, marketers can not only neutralise roadblocks but accelerate pipeline and transport the entire buying group – in the comfort of a nurture – from one end of the funnel to the other.
It isn’t without its challenges, so let’s start there, with the complexity of influencing a group of people – with different needs and wants – to all settle on the same solution.
Getting a buying group to buy into a single solution
Targeting and influencing one person is hard enough, but, as we all know, group dynamics are different: think family vacations. You might all want to go to the beach, but that’s probably the only thing you’ll agree on.
And buying groups are more complex still. They often consist of influencers, decision-makers, users, champions and ratifiers. Each require a tailored message that speaks to that role, and on all the digital channels they might be researching on. Resources, like budgets, aren’t endless, so the challenge is how to ensure each member of the buying group gets what they need.
The Cross-Channel solution to the AMB issue
Cross-Channel ABM is a dynamic strategy that allows marketing teams to optimise their spending across digital channels while effectively engaging, nurturing and acquiring buying groups.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how it works:
It starts with precision targeting: Instead of casting a wide net, Cross-Channel ABM focuses on specific accounts that align with your ICP (ideal customer profile). Goodbye wasted spend and uninterested parties.
They might be a buying group, but each member needs to buy in, and for that, they need to be treated individually, with personalised messaging and content that speaks to their role and requirements within the process.
There’s no magic elixir to winning new business, and that’s what Cross-Channel ABM is all about, its building multi-channel engagement – using every one to speak about and sell the solution. It’s playing the deck, to win the hand. Think digital display ads and content syndication.
Cross-Channel ABM might seem like a lot of work to get right, but it's the opposite. Its optimising marketing spend – through efficient resource allocation – to eliminate dead ends and wasted time and ROI. Its allocating resources only where they matter most to drive cost efficiency and maximise results.
Coordination is key: Marketers need to engage the entire buying group simultaneously; keep them all talking about the same solution. Cross-Channel ABM is having waiters at all tables, all the time. Regardless of their role, each member’s’ order is fulfilled.
Now, let’s get into a bit more detail. For Cross-Channel ABM to work, it needs to be done right – and there’s more than one approach.
How ABM Type Impacts Cross-Channel ABM
The ABM approach you select will dictate your targeting data needs, degree of content and messaging customisation, and technology platform requirements. As you progress from precision ABM to large account ABM, each step along the way requires more data, resources, and technology to orchestrate.
But in each case, the Cross-Channel ABM approach is the same.
- Precision ABM is the easiest. All you need is a target account list, an understanding of your typical buying group, foundational marketing content, and standard marketing technology.
- Vertical ABM targets a list of accounts from specific industries or sub-industries. For this, marketers need content and messaging specifically targeting these verticals, as well as data on industry trends, information sources, preferred industry terminology, and intent data. Additional marketing systems or data providers may also be required.
- Named Account ABM is based on creating account cohorts and requires marketers to leverage additional technographic, intent, and firmographic data to customise content and messaging. Again, additional technology may be required to support data acquisition, content customisation, and ABM execution.
- Large Account ABM is the approach used to target a significant account your company wants to land or expand into. For this, marketers need to coordinate with sales, and use additional data including competitive information, customer feedback, unique account protocols.
So that’s process… now let’s talk about adding some pace to the pipeline.
Accelerate Demand by Engaging Buying Groups
Cross-Channel ABM optimises both top-of-funnel contact acquisition and engagement of buying groups. This starts with marketing intentionally segmenting ABM programs and mapping out target buying groups.
Based on the product or service offering you’re creating pipeline for, and the cohort of accounts in your ABM approach, marketers need to answer the following questions:
- How many buyers are in a typical buying group and how many contacts do you need to identify from each account?
- What are the various job functions and levels within the buying group and what specific job titles do you need to acquire and engage?
- What are the roles of buyer personas in the purchase process? The more we know the better we can target, the easier we can convert. Who are the influencers, who are the deal champions, who will make the decision, and who ratify?
The Cross-Channel ABM Model
Cross-Channel ABM is effective because it uses precision targeting to deliver relevant messaging and content to desired accounts, then builds engagement with buying group members by continuing to meet their needs on delivery channels.
Marketers can then align their activities and spend to buyers in key accounts who show intent, effectively allowing them to do more, with less. Once marketers have selected their ABM type and mapped out the buying group, they can then plug that info into the Cross-Channel ABM model to create their programs.
Digital Display Ads:
- Engage, nurture, and build awareness with the entire buying group
- Acquire and engage key users, champions, and decision makers
Get traffic, fill the pipeline with Integrated Media
Integrated Media is a combination of digital display advertising and content syndication and is a great way to boost website traffic and fill your pipeline with ICP leads.
- Use digital display ads to create awareness, drive traffic to your website, and educate buyers about your solutions.
- Use content syndication to acquire buying group members, then engage and nurture them until they meet scoring requirements for sales hand-off.
- Ensure you personalise ads, content, webpages, and emails to align with the segmentation criteria of the ABM type you’ve selected.
By considering each buyer’s role in the purchase process, marketers can use the right ABM model to plan a cross-channel experience for each of them, hopefully culminating in each member concluding the same thing: Your solution is the right one. Cross-Channel ABM is a game-changer for marketers trying to keep up with the ever-evolving world of B2B marketing.
It clears the fog for marketing teams, empowering them to target buying teams more effectively while optimising their spend across digital channels. By embracing Cross-Channel ABM, marketers can realise the full potential of their efforts, because it isn’t just good strategy, it's the blueprint for ROI. Don’t struggle to keep up with buyers, get back ahead of them. For more information read our e-book here.