Thesmarketers
Blogs

Key ABM trends for B2B marketers to track in 2021

abm trends for b2b marketers

With 2020 drawing to a close, it is imperative to adapt to a post-CoVid world and fast. With the pandemic’s repercussions more far-reaching than predictable, it is becoming necessary to re-evaluate marketing strategies that worked before and how communications need to change in the coming year. 

80% of customers say they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences.

It starts with aligning the sales and marketing teams. While this is very easy to get on board with, executing it and having the teams work in concert is tough. With the current state of evolution, the units are most often than not sitting in different locations. Whether separate floors, offices, cities, or countries is irrelevant. Reconciliation will prove challenging, as sales and marketing are usually seen as two individual teams with traditionally disparate objectives and metrics.

Harnessing ABM in 2021

Traditionally, marketing meant casting a wide net by creating content that would appeal to a large demographic. The metric for success was lead generation. With b2b marketing teams giving leads and several of them not materializing when the sales teams takeover, it is essential to remember that leads don’t buy; accounts do. 

The last several months have seen a decade’s worth of digital transformation with intuitive technology slated for release several years later, being deployed on the go to make the best of the situation. B2B marketers have had to be at their creative best, thinking on their feet as the world at large struggled to make sense of the new normal. 

Marketing needs to be specific and tailored for leads that convert. Research shows that 87% of marketers that measure ROI say that ABM outperforms every other marketing investment.

While ABM’s efficacy isn’t up for debate, the content and channels required for its effectiveness have rapidly changed due to the pandemic. 

The 2021 Buyer

Research shows that 64% of customers say trust is the most critical factor when purchasing from a new brand. 

The rules in the pre-CoVid ABM playbook no longer apply here. Consumer trust has evolved to make or break purchasing decisions over the last several months. Security and data breaches have caused consumers to become sceptical of perceived authority and expertise, with growing awareness of marketing strategies. 

This distrust has led to buyers safeguarding their personal information and behaviour by making major purchasing decisions in a vacuum away from sales and marketing teams. However, studies demonstrate that 72% of customers won’t take any buying actions until they’ve read reviews. 

The 2021 buyer expects preferred brands and companies to engage in a high level of transparency while meeting them as equals on a level playing ground. This includes making them part of the conversation. 

This requires the basic understanding that the 2021 buyer knows their mind. Companies need to stop trying to click-bait prospective customers and meet the buyer where they stand. Reaching customers in the future will necessitate moving away from traditional account-based marketing to an account-based management strategy focused on the relationship. 

Account-Based Management

Account-based management is the evolution required to involve all facets of the revenue machinery in the organization. 

96% of customers say customer service is vital in their choice of loyalty to a brand.

Creating a richer end-to-end customer experience, on and offline, is possible through account-based management. To achieve this within a changing digital landscape amid personalized content, traditionally disparate teams must work towards a unified goal while delivering a consistent, unified customer experience. 

Succeeding in a trust-based system

Decades ago, branding and public perception were the primary strategies required to drive success. In today’s landscape, customers want transparency and accountability, irrevocably linking the brand and reputation to the company’s behaviours and activities. 

The Trust Economy, coined by Rachel Botsman, is the response to this lack of consumer trust. This is the beginning of the change of perception about brand reputation. 

The pandemic accelerated changes in our working environments, with trust growing to be mission-critical. This has automatically translated into the relationships customers are seeking from brands. 

Customers today are looking for organizations 

  • that work from the same set of values and principles 
  • that have their best interests at heart 
  • that are capable of developing and maintaining a long-term relationship

Integrating Account-Based Management 

  • Targeting accounts that will benefit from your products/services

Identify the right accounts and develop strategies specific to the account.

  • Providing engaging, authentic content

Deploy tools that will provide access to social assets, video reviews, and other content sourced from your actual customers instead of sending out case studies. Deliver fresh content on your website curated from credible sources.

  • Engaging buyers on platforms they prefer to be engaged on 

Marketing strategies need to be contextual and provide value addition to the buyer, 

Leveraging available data sharpens the focus of the marketing team. Further, this makes it possible for customers to interact across multiple touchpoints on their preferred platforms. 

Customers today are making choices based on their ability to offer personalization. This folds into the overall experience dealing with them and peer’s reviews. 77% of consumers view brands more favourably if they seek out and apply customer feedback

Bringing in 2021

With the digital landscape changing, marketing teams need to hit the ground running through refined account targeting and execution. This will enable deeper account engagement and intuitive sales orchestration. Leave the basic account segmentation and sales collaboration behind in 2020.

Move past spreadsheets and create a unified view of account engagement. A consolidated framework will serve as the base to drive marketing programs and decision making with actionable insights.

2021 will be seeing more alignment between sales and marketing teams. Equipping both teams with technology that smart data will be essential. Leveraging technology and data together will be vital in making strategic decisions about revenue programming. 

It is necessary to bring interesting digital and content-powered experiences into virtual events with the current state of affairs. While this is not a substitute for the personal touch, it can go a long way in converting leads.

With 2020 accelerating transformation in unprecedented, unexpected ways, it is essential to reinvent legacy systems into account-based marketing and run on customer-centric strategies.

inbound marketing
Are you looking for ways to elevate your growth marketing efforts?

Schedule a free 30-minute analysis of your marketing initiatives with a senior Smarketer.

rELATED BLOGS