Account-based marketing (ABM) software is a technology that empowers marketers to run ABM strategies at scale.
Within the past decade, no marketing innovation has caught the attention of B2B professionals as much as account-based marketing (ABM). ABM aligns your marketing and sales teams, allowing them to identify high-value accounts before implementing a personalized marketing strategy.
Doing so requires an effective way to organize your team and resources to approach the market — and that makes account-based marketing software a key factor in successfully implementing an ABM strategy.
Here you can learn the functions of ABM software and what defines an account-based marketing platform.
What Is an Account-Based Marketing Platform?
An account-based marketing platform is a technology that allows marketers to run ABM strategies at scale, including the following:
- Account selection,
- Engagement, and
Account-based marketing is a B2B marketing strategy in which marketing and sales teams align to target high-value companies — referred to as accounts — with personalized marketing and content. The vast majority of marketers view ABM as a “must-have,” and that makes it worth investing in the right tools to run your ABM program smoothly — this is where ABM software enters the picture.
To support the personalization that plays such an integral part in a successful ABM strategy, ABM platforms may synergize with the following channels to engage audiences:
- Display advertising and retargeting,
- Social advertising,
- Content syndication,
- Corporate gifting, and
- Email marketing.
There are many benefits to implementing an ABM platform. ABM software enables users to combine prospect data with real-time customer experience technologies, which makes it possible for marketing and sales teams to work together on furthering your organization’s goals.
Through the above channels, an ABM software solution can be used to acquire new high-value accounts, nurture existing and promising ones, and grow and expand enterprise accounts.
Read more about account-based marketing here.
ABM Software: Choosing the Right Platform
There are many different account-based marketing vendors who offer different categories of ABM platform. Each category offers different functionalities and integration options, enabling marketing and sales teams to choose a solution tailored to fit their ABM program.
Below you can read more about the different categories of ABM software, what they do, and how they function.
Account Management Systems
An ABM strategy requires communication. For the strategy to be successful, marketing and sales teams need to maintain an open line of communication in order to work together most effectively. An ABM program also requires intelligence gathering and an organization-wide awareness of target accounts and ongoing sales cycles. Account management systems are designed to facilitate these elements.
Account management systems streamline the intelligence gathering process for salespeople and marketers. When salespeople make contacts and marketers receive leads, time is of the essence. Both parties need to know quickly whether the target account is already in talks for a deal. They also need to discover early on whether the account is a good match for their products. Account management systems facilitate the documentation and communication of such information between departments. This makes it possible to:
- Automate the transfer of important account information between contacts and their linked accounts,
- Communicate account-level details between marketing and sales, and
- Manage sales pipelines or marketing funnels at account level.
Account management systems give marketing and sales teams far greater control over account information: where it comes from, how it updates other parts of the system, and how duplicates or missing account information are managed.
Typically, account management systems will integrate with marketing or sales automation systems and maintain account information in those databases. However, some account management systems can also serve as standalone systems of record.
Among the tools which account management systems provide are the following:
- Target list creation with automated tools to identify and weed out poor-fit accounts.
- Sales pipelines and marketing funnels that document lead-based movement and how accounts move through the buying cycle.
- Engagement analytics to measure and document clicks, conversions, and calls across account contacts.
The purpose of an account management system is to support your organization’s workflow. This means the system and its usefulness to your organization should be evaluated based on its alignment with your ABM strategy. When determining if an account management system is the right match for your organization, consider the following:
- How account data is being acquired,
- What records the data needs to update,
- What data needs to be recorded,
- Who needs to see the data, and
- Which other systems the data is going to flow through.
Account Intelligence Platforms
Before accounts can become leads, they need to be qualified — and this requires data. Account intelligence platforms facilitate the qualification of accounts by:
- Connecting existing leads in a marketing database to their account and providing qualifying data about that company,
- Connecting marketers to prospective accounts, and
- Implementing a lead scoring engine to optimize marketers’ target account lists and better qualify leads.
The traditional focus of sales intelligence platforms is data such as contact information and company personnel hierarchy. Account intelligence software, however, expands this focus to include firmographic data, IP address data, and intent data — also known as buying signals.
In order to mitigate problems with stale, missing, or irrelevant data, account intelligence platforms rely increasingly on feeds of automatically updated data. The provided data varies between platforms, but can include:
- Media mentions,
- Social media sentiment,
- Website domain strength, and
- Employee web and search engine activity.
This data can either be delivered wholesale or used to interpret intent data. In the latter case, the platform can notify marketers when a target account receives a notable investment or when an account’s employees are researching products that are similar to those offered by the marketers.
The shift towards big marketing data has resulted in marketers being burdened with industry noise, making it more difficult to interpret buying signals. As a response to this, some account-based marketing software vendors have opted to make their systems more useful, developing platforms with lead scoring or lead qualifying capabilities which can help guide marketers to their ideal accounts.
Lead scoring ideally qualifies existing leads as well as delivers new qualified accounts through interpreting buying signals. Account scoring or lead scoring software may evaluate accounts based on personas, proprietary algorithms, and artificial intelligence.
When evaluating account intelligence platforms for your organization, consider the following:
- Accuracy and robustness of data,
- Availability of data about target accounts,
- Variety of sources,
- Types of data,
- Relevance of data to industry or selling strategy, and
- Effectiveness of lead qualification.
Account-Based Advertising Platforms
There are numerous stakeholders involved in negotiating complex or expensive sales. While a buyer will receive input and approval from a number of these stakeholders, your sales team may never come into contact with them, hence leaving those stakeholders to research your product independently. An account-based advertising platform is designed to target and sell to everyone involved in the buying process — including those whom the sales team may never meet.
Through targeted and personalized advertising stock, account-based ad targeting makes it possible for marketers to influence buying decisions and build brand awareness in a company at manageable costs. Account-based ad targeting segments audiences (by account) by serving ads to:
- Specific IP addresses: Typically, an account-based advertising platform provides a database of known IP addresses. Additional addresses can potentially be automatically captured via the lead form (with an email-address field) of some content management systems.
- Cookied website visitors from target accounts: The cookies that website visitors receive when they land on your page can catch stakeholders from target accounts who may be using unrecognized IP addresses due to being in, or working from other locations.
- Mobile and SMS marketing, and
- Social, search, display, and video advertising.
When choosing an account-based advertising platform, consider the following:
- IP address availability,
- Ease of campaign building and orchestration,
- Ease of syncing IP addresses and cookie-targeted campaigns,
- Advertising effectiveness, audience reach, and effectiveness of engagement.
Web Personalization Software
Personalized proposals and tailor-made buying journeys for each account or account persona are key elements of a successful account-based marketing strategy. However, as established above, some decision makers might be researching your product independently. Web personalization software tailors and delivers web experiences to your visitors based on their associated account.
Evolved from A/B testing platforms for website optimization, web personalization software combines the traffic bifurcation capabilities of A/B testing with real-time audience segmentation. This allows web personalization software to provide digital experiences tailored to the needs of each individual visitor.
Like in account-based advertising, the real-time data required for web personalization are IP addresses and retargeting cookies pertaining to the account of interest. Through these, account-based web personalization software can deploy custom pages tailored specifically for selling to predetermined IP addresses or cookied website visitors.
When evaluating your options for web personalization software, consider the following:
- IP address availability,
- Page design flexibility, management of personalization campaigns, and overall personalization ease,
- Quality and smoothness of web experience, and
ABM software supports the personalization integral to a successful ABM strategy. Different account-based marketing vendors offer different categories of ABM platform:
- Account management systems,
- Account intelligence platforms,
- Account-based advertising platforms, and
- Web personalization software.
Each category has its own unique functionalities and integration options, allowing marketing and sales teams to choose the best-fit solution for their ABM program.
Before choosing an ABM software solution, remember to carefully consider the specific wants and needs of your organization.