Overcoming Key MarTech and ABM Challenges in 2018

Abby Gilmore Grant
Abby Gilmore Grant

Director, Client Consulting

2017 was quite the year for MarTech. From preparing for GDPR to implementing new tools and technologies in a landscape that has grown 40% since 2016, marketers have had their work cut out for them. As 2017 has now come to an end, many are reflecting on both the successes and pitfalls experienced over the past year, as well as prepping for the year ahead.

As an attendee of multiple events and working on the front lines with our IT clients, there are two challenges that were reoccurring themes throughout the course of the year: building a sound marketing stack and executing successful account based marketing strategies. Based on learnings from this year, below I’ve outlined key factors to bear in mind when approaching either task in 2018:

Building a Marketing Stack

As mentioned above, the MarTech landscape is in a continuous state of change. From marketing automation platforms and CRM systems to predictive analytics and intent monitoring – new capabilities (and companies) are frequently introduced.

Because of this, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for companies to build and implement a solid marketing stack with all necessary components. As such, marketers are tasked with making the case for new technology purchases, and subsequently promoting internal adoption.

At this year’s SiriusDecisions Technology Exchange, multiple sessions focused on the entire process: from justifying and procuring new technology through driving end user engagement. On the justification side, Gil Canare, Senior Research Director at SiriusDecisions, explained that  to successfully justify new tech, marketers need to answer the following:

  • What is the business decision for this purchase?
  • How will this technology positively impact the business?
  • What is necessary to move forward?

In a separate session, Cheri Keith, Senior Research Analyst and J. Steven Silver, Senior Research Director at SiriusDecisions, compared technology purchases to fancy kitchen utensils. How many do you own, and on the flip side, how many do you actually use? End users can be overwhelmed with the number of tools available, which can negatively influence adoption. To promote adoption, we must consider the people factor (influence from peers and leadership) and process (how the tech enhances current procedures) to each user’s experience level.

As you can see, there are lots of factors MarTech practitioners must consider when building a marketing stack. Visual examples of marketing stacks show the variation in the number and type of technologies vendors are utilizing. Building the right marketing stack is not an exact science and likely takes lots of trial and error, making it an ongoing effort.

Leveraging intent and account based marketing

With 83% of B2B marketers planning to expand their account based marketing technology stack in the next year, it’s clear that the practice will continue to be a focus in 2018 and beyond. Similarly, SiriusDecisions reports that 33% of SiriusDecisions Command Center™ respondents plan to invest “more” or “significantly more” in intent data solutions in the next year.

In their recent Technology Exchange session on intent monitoring considerations for ABM, Kerry Cunningham, Senior Research Director and Matt Senatore, Service Director at SiriusDecisions, defined the two main types of intent data: first party and third party, and how to use each.

First party intent data is vendor owned information, like website visitors and form fills, while third party data comes from external sources like web scraping, social listening and content syndication. Both types can be used for ABM campaigns in numerous ways, from account prioritization and retargeting to uncovering net-new opportunities and personalization.

For example, when you think about large IT purchases, there are numerous buying team members involved. Because of that, one person at one account filling out a form on your website doesn’t mean much. However, using first party intent data, like deanonymized website traffic, can help identify if others from the same account are visiting your website, which can be a good indicator of whether or not the account should be prioritized.

On the other hand – what if you want to break into an account, but they aren’t engaging with you at all? Just because an account isn’t active with you, doesn’t mean they aren’t in market for a solution right now… but it does mean you may miss the opportunity to influence. That’s where third party intent data can help, by providing insight around activity happening elsewhere on the web.

For example, TechTarget’s purchase intent solution, Priority Engine, not only provides rich data to fuel personalized ABM campaigns, but reveals which accounts are displaying intent to purchase a specific solution right now. With a stack-ranked list of accounts based on actual research activity refreshed weekly, marketing and sales teams are armed with knowledge around which accounts to go after.

Another ABM struggle is figuring out exactly who to contact at those accounts, and what messaging to use. Priority Engine also provides access to the total Target Buying Team, made up of researchers active on the TechTarget network, as well as relevant stakeholders involved in the purchase decision. Additionally, the tool provides information around what vendors an account is interested in, what key topics are of most importance (and more) to enable customized outreach strategies.

Though it’s obvious that ABM isn’t going anywhere, with increased adoption comes more competition. To create real separation, vendors need to think beyond the “named account list” or “known account list” by leveraging both first party and third party intent data. this will allow them to focus on the right people at the most active accounts in their total addressable market and personalizing messaging accordingly.

To learn more about intent data and TechTarget’s Priority Engine, visit TechTarget.com/Priority-Engine.

ABM, Account-Based Marketing, marketing technology, martech

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