The way B2B buyers learn about and purchase solutions has changed dramatically in the last few years. To effectively engage modern buyers, adapting to their evolving needs is no longer an option—it’s a necessity. That’s where the powerful combination of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) and Demand Generation comes into play. By seamlessly integrating these strategies, you have the opportunity to position your company as a trusted advisor to your ideal prospects, securing a coveted spot on their shortlist. Are you ready to ignite your demand, skyrocket your traffic, and leave your competition in the dust? Let’s dive in and uncover the winning formula that sets you apart from the crowd.
Assessing the Evolving Landscape
B2B buyers are making purchase decisions differently. Their preferences on where they consume information and how they consume information are changing dramatically. Today’s buyer wants to go through most of the buying process independently and reach out to sales once they’ve locked into a solution.
- A Shift in the Decision-Making Process – B2B buyers conduct most of their research online before engaging with sales. Buyers are in control of the information they consume and don’t want to go to your website to learn about your offering. They prefer platforms like LinkedIn, podcasts, live events, and online communities. You must adapt and meet buyers where they are with information that will aid them in their journey.
- Importance of Being on the Buyer’s Shortlist – According to Harvard Business Review, B2B buyers start with a shortlist of 4-5 potential vendors. Being on that shortlist is vital, as 90% of purchases come from those vendors. Solely targeting “now buyers” is a losing strategy because it reduces the chance of winning business to less than 10%. The key is to reach future buyers and to become a preferred vendor in their minds before they are in the market.
- The Influence of Digital Natives – Digital natives, particularly millennials, influence B2B decisions more than ever (75% involvement, 1/3 as sole decision-makers). This new breed of buyer is primarily using social media to stay informed and connect with their peer group. They use their mobile phone over a desktop and expect on-demand experiences packaged in bite-sized, easy-to-consume formats.
As B2B marketers, we must embrace these changes. This is where you can gain a competitive advantage over the competition who are either unaware or resistant to these significant shifts in buyer behavior. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take every competitive advantage available in this economy. Be sure to check out our on-demand webcast on ABM + Demand Generation for a deeper dive into this subject.
What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?
Account Based Marketing (ABM) is aligning your business, content, and actions to educate and engage targeted prospects throughout the buyer’s journey. When combined with demand generation marketing, you can ensure that you are reaching ideal prospects before and during their purchase process. ABM and Demand Generation strategies are pivotal in staying top-of-mind and nurturing relationships until the buyer is ready to convert.
What’s Working Now in B2B Digital Marketing
To successfully engage with modern buyers, we must shift our mindset from simply generating pipeline and appointments to becoming the go-to resource for our target customers. This builds trust and authority with future buyers and is crucial as we aim to secure a spot on their shortlist of preferred vendors. Transitioning from being sellers to becoming helpful peers is vital in establishing trust.
- Create and distribute highly relevant content that addresses the specific needs of your buyers.
- Foster relationships with buyers that extend beyond sales and involve the entire company.
- Simplify the buying process and eliminate friction and unnecessary hoops.
- Prioritize hand raisers and buyers who have the intent to purchase and are ready to talk to sales.
- Focus on the best ABM channels where your audience spends the most time.
Stop doing this:
- “Pitch slapping” prospects with unsolicited cold emails and messages.
- Gaiting valuable content
- Focusing solely on “now buyers.”
- Treating all leads the same.
- Running lead generation ads to cold audiences
- Falling into these two common ABM mistakes
ABM + Demand Generation Framework
Vende Digital has developed a framework for implementing ABM and Demand Generation. Our framework takes a unique approach, moving beyond the traditional marketing/sales funnel model. Instead of simply pushing prospects through a linear path, we focus on understanding their needs and preferences at the different stages of their journey. The goal is to aid their journey, not cram them through our funnel.
Here are the different stages:
- Cold/Problem Unaware: In the cold stage, prospects may not know your company’s existence or the problem you are solving. The customer could also be unaware of a problem negatively impacting their business.
- Problem Aware: Here, buyers understand that they have a problem and are actively thinking about solving it. Focus on providing relevant content and resources that help them prioritize and find a solution.
- Solution Aware: In this final stage, the buyers actively seek a solution to their problem. They are evaluating various options, including your offering. Aim to provide personalized and targeted information highlighting how your solution can meet their needs.
Engaging Buyers at Different Stages:
We employ various strategies and tactics to engage buyers effectively at each stage of the journey. Here’s an overview of our approach:
- Zero-Click Content: When buyers are unaware or cold, we drive zero-click content to them. This means delivering valuable information directly through the channels they frequent without requiring them to click through to our website.
- Retargeting Pools: By monitoring signals from the zero-click content and other sources, we build retargeting pools of prospects progressing through the stages of awareness. This allows us to track their engagement and tailor our efforts accordingly.
- Content Hub: Once prospects enter the retargeting pool and become problem aware, we direct them to a relevant content hub. This hub serves as a resource center where they can access deeper and more comprehensive content related to their problem.
- Initial Offers: At this stage, we offer prospects an opportunity to learn more about our take on how to solve their problem. It could be through events, webinars, or other engaging formats that provide valuable insights without the pressure of a sales pitch.
- Personalization and Surge: As we gather more information about the prospects and their specific needs, we personalize the content and experiences we deliver. We aim to create a surge in interest and engagement, indicating they are ready to take the next step.
- Booked Meetings: The ultimate goal is to drive booked meetings with genuinely interested prospects and prepare to explore how our solution can solve their problem. We want to ensure the engagement is meaningful and productive for both parties.
5 Critical Ingredients to Win with ABM + Demand Generation
These five ingredients form the foundation for an effective strategy that aligns sales and marketing efforts, personalized content, and surrounds targeted prospects to generate demand and opportunities.
Let’s dive into each ingredient:
- Marketing Stack: A well-designed marketing stack empowers your team to deliver targeted and effective campaigns. It encompasses the tools, technologies, and platforms that enable seamless integration and execution of your strategy.
- Account Selection: ABM and Demand Gen focus on specific accounts that align with your ideal customer profile. This ingredient brings sales and marketing teams together to identify and prioritize the right accounts to target. By understanding your audience and focusing on the customers you can serve best, you maximize the effectiveness of your efforts and resources.
- Personalized Content and Experiences: Personalization is critical to engaging buyers and creating meaningful connections. Tailoring your content and experiences to address each account or buyer persona’s unique needs and challenges enhances relevance and drives engagement.
- Sales and Marketing Alignment: Successful ABM and Demand Gen strategies require close collaboration and alignment between sales and marketing teams. Both teams should have a shared understanding of goals, target accounts, and messaging. Regular communication, joint planning, and coordinated efforts ensure a seamless buyer experience, consistent messaging, and effective lead handover, ultimately driving better results.
- Effective Plays and Demand Generation: Executing well-crafted plays is essential for generating demand and opportunities. A play is a specific action or campaign to engage and convert target accounts. By designing plays that align with the buyer’s journey, addressing their pain points, and highlighting your unique selling proposition, you create compelling experiences that guide prospects toward conversion. Continuously refining and optimizing your plays based on data and insights will enhance their effectiveness.
The Role of Content Marketing
Content marketing is the fuel to an effective ABM + Demand Gen strategy. To drive relevant content that excites our buyers, you need to keep these key factors in mind:
- Relate it to their specific situation: Your content must be highly relatable to your audience. It should address their specific industries, roles, topics, or problems. You want to move away from generic and watered-down content and deliver something that addresses their unique needs.
- Write “remarkable” content: Strive for your content to be “remarkable” (worthy of a remark). In today’s buying journey, the involvement of a buying committee is significant, and you want your buyers to share your content. By creating unique, outstanding content, you increase the chances of sharing and spreading it through word of mouth.
- Normalize the idea of what you do: Showcase that your solution is a new and improved way of doing things. Point to your unique selling proposition and provide a clear plan forward. By normalizing the idea of what you do, you demonstrate how your approach is better and more beneficial. This will catch the attention of prospects.
- Build Trust and Authority: Your content should demonstrate expertise, reliability, and credibility in your industry. When prospects see your company as a trustworthy source, they are more likely to engage and consider our offerings.
- Provide Sales Opportunities: Content marketing should provide sales reps and SDRs with practical reasons to reach customers. Sharing interesting studies, articles, or on-demand webinars gives them opportunities to initiate meaningful conversations and showcase our value.
What Buyers Want from Our Content
According to a DemandGen report on B2B content preferences, the buying committee is more likely to share content that offers the following:
- Actionable Insights: Quick wins and actionable information that can drive immediate results.
- Stats, Facts, Benchmarks: Comparisons and industry-specific data that help businesses gauge their performance.
- Customer Success Stories: Real-life examples and use cases demonstrating how others have benefited from our product or service.
- Ungated Content: Content that is easily accessible without requiring form submissions or registrations.
By aligning our content with these preferences, we increase its shareability and engagement among the buying committee.
Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?
The short answer; is ‘Yes!’ Studies have shown that companies engaging in ABM and demand gen experience a 170% higher average contract value compared to those that do not. Additionally, their sales teams are 50% more effective, resulting in more meetings, increased pipeline, and higher closed deals.
By leveraging the power of ABM and Demand Generation, you can gain a competitive edge in today’s dynamic marketplace. This requires an understanding of the evolving preferences of B2B buyers, aiming to be on the buyer’s shortlist, catering to digital natives, and recognizing the importance of timing and conversion are all crucial elements in achieving success. Embrace these strategies, adapt to the changing landscape, and position your company as a trusted advisor to engage, convert, and maximize revenue growth in 2023.
Key Takeaways for ABM + Demand Gen
- Shift in Decision-Making: Adapt marketing strategies to meet independent B2B buyers where they are in their research journey.
- Be on the Buyer’s Shortlist: Aim to secure a spot on the buyer’s shortlist for a higher chance of winning business.
- Target Future Buyers: Don’t solely focus on “now buyers”; prioritize reaching future buyers.
- Utilize Various Platforms: Engage buyers through LinkedIn, podcasts, live events, and online communities. A website-first strategy won’t work anymore.
- Maximize Revenue Growth: Embrace ABM and Demand Generation to boost revenue growth in 2023.
- Leverage Digital Transformation: Embrace digital tools and technology to enhance the buyer experience.
- Personalize Messaging: Tailor your messages to resonate with buyers’ unique needs and pain points.
- Focus on Customer Advocacy: Cultivate customer advocacy to drive referrals and positive word-of-mouth.
How Can We Help?
The world is changing fast, and engaging buyers where they are with the correct information is critical to stay competitive. At Vende Digital, we help B2B organizations like yours develop B2B marketing strategies to win in the digital-first world.
Tired of struggling on your own?
Schedule a complimentary strategy call with our team to learn how we can help you accelerate your growth and leverage the latest trend to your advantage.