ABM isn’t really about accounts. There, I said it.
Yes, we sell to companies. But we market to people.
Conversion only happens if we educate and enable the real live humans behind our target accounts. The same humans who enjoy frictionless, personalized experiences in their daily consumer lives.
The on-demand economy is changing everything about buyers’ expectations. They expect speed, convenience, and relevance with everything they interact with. Whether they are binge-watching a Netflix series, purchasing socks on Amazon, listening to a custom Spotify playlist, or getting a personal shopping experience with InstaCart. And it’s this speed, convenience, and relevance that keeps them coming back for more.
All these B2C experiences have something in common. They offer highly curated content recommendations – read this next, watch this next, buy this next. Surfacing the “next best asset” enables buyers to get exactly what they want when they want and B2C does this really well. So well that buyers now expect the same on-demand experiences in their professional lives. It’s time for B2B marketers to embrace buyer enablement. And to do this they need to stop marketing at accounts and start helping people buy.
Today, most B2B buyer’s journeys are:
The sad reality is most B2B buying experiences are filled with friction like gates, landing pages, and drip email campaigns. They aren’t tailored to meet the needs of the individual buyer. They often move at a predetermined cadence that is far too sluggish for the highly engaged buyer. They are too complicated and difficult to navigate. And they leave B2B buyers frustrated by not offering an obvious next step in their journey.
Now, I’m not trying to give B2B marketers a hard time. B2B is hard! It’s easy to personalize the front door: offers, ads, and email subject lines. But it is extremely difficult to deliver a personalized, end-to-end journey. Especially in ABM where you have to educate a buying committee. That’s a lot of content to consider.
It’s no wonder marketers say most issues related to delivering personalized content, messages, and sales materials are content related. According to an ABM Benchmark Report by Demand Gen Report, 3 of the top 10 biggest ABM-related challenges are all to do with content:
So yes, the struggle is very real. But the answers are within reach.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: personalizing ABM at scale is not about creating tons of new content. It’s about surfacing what you already have at the right time, in a personalized, on-demand experience.
That’s the key to doing ABM without it totally overwhelming you and your team. Especially for the majority of marketers who don’t have a dedicated ABM team and have to run programs alongside traditional demand gen programs (like the team here at PathFactory!).
TIBCO removed friction and enables content bingeing
TIBCO packages relevant content together for their ABM programs using PathFactory Content Tracks. Each track includes a custom welcome page for the specific account with pertinent information and messaging geared directly to those individuals. TIBCO achieves this without creating tons of net new content! The Netflix-like experience they provide offers only the most relevant content seamlessly in their own, personalized channel. The individual can then consume as much information as they want, barrier-free. Serving information this way encouraging the same bingeing behavior as Netflix (but they’re bingeing on TIBCO’s B2B content instead of episodes of Stranger Things!)
PathFactory gets personal with branded channels
The PathFactory marketing team is a small (but mighty) team and we don’t have unlimited resources. We recently came up with a creative way to do personalized ABM at scale. First we came up with a very targeted list of accounts based on specific firmographic and psychographic attributes. We zeroed in on these top-tier accounts as the ones we wanted to take a 1:1 approach with.
We mapped existing content to each of these target accounts based on relevancy to the individuals within the accounts. Then, we packaged the assets together in a branded instance of PathFactory.
This way, when someone from IBM, for example, lands in an IBM branded Content Track, they know they are in the right place. Because we created the environment just for them.
Understanding buying committee engagement
The true power of personalization comes from understanding the data behind it.
PathFactory customers track actual time spent on content down to the minutes and seconds. This insight helps answer important questions like:
Knowing answers to questions like these helps identify the hottest accounts and the problems they are trying to solve. You can also feed this engagement data into your CRM to enable sales to prioritize the more engaged accounts and have more productive conversations on the topics they care most about.
The key to personalized, on-demand ABM is to stop thinking about accounts and start thinking about people. The formula is pretty simple and very possible to achieve without completely overwhelming your team: collect the right kind of data, make hyper-relevant, real-time recommendations, and provide binge-able content experiences.