3 Building Blocks of Personalization in Account Based Marketing

It seems impossible to discuss present-day martech without mentioning personalization. Customized experience – once a differentiator and now a commodity – is at the forefront of every marketing strategy these days, and both consumers and companies alike are obsessed with personalization.

You’re probably aware that consumers are highly influenced by personalized experiences. The statistics about its effect on conversions and brand loyalty are truly incredible:

  • 59% of shoppers were influenced to buy something because of a personalized experience. (Source: Infosys)
  • 91% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy from a brand that offered personalized product recommendations or offers. (Source: Accenture)
  • 65% of shoppers expect businesses to remember their purchase history, 56% want to be recognized by name, and 65% want to have personalized promotions and recommendations sent based on their purchasing behavior (Source: Accenture)

Clearly, marketers are under a lot of pressure to meet up with these demands. 88% of marketers surveyed in a study by Evergage agreed that consumers expect personalization these days, but only 31% think that they are getting it right. The truth is that these incredibly customized experiences are just not easy to create and maintain – especially if you are servicing a large number of clients.

Thankfully, ABM (account-based marketing) does make this task a little bit easier since you can create individual profiles for every customer. But in order to create a successful ABM-fueled personalization strategy, there are some essential steps that you need to take to lay the foundation properly.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Addressing the elephant in the room for each individual customer makes your interaction personalized and valuable straight away.
  • Know customers’ intent and how it changes throughout their purchase and user journey.
  • Use a CRM that is closely aligned with your ABM process and sales model.

1. Identifying the Most Important Criteria for the Target

Not all personalized efforts are created equal. Receiving an email with their first name or other generic customizations simply doesn’t impress customers anymore. Today’s consumer wants the entire shopping experience to be tailored to their needs, preferences, and interests. So, first, you need to know what these are for each and every account.

Thankfully, ABM helps you create an incredibly useful database from past interactions with customers, letting you observe and learn more about your audience – which is truly the key to effective personalization.

One thing that makes ABM marketing truly unique is the fact that it essentially flips the sales funnel. Rather than trying to appeal to the masses with wide campaigns that eventually trickle down to only the most relevant leads, AMB starts small with hyper-focused efforts that nurture relationships. So this first step of not only identifying but truly understanding who your audience is and isn’t really matters.

Start by taking a look at your current audience and identify the overlapping characteristics that define your best leads. What industries are they in? Are your best clients those in upper-level positions at their jobs, executive level, supervisors, or management? Do they tend to come as a referral from someone else, or is your organic traffic more likely to convert?

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Once you start to recognize these traits you can look for ways to customize interactions to connect better based on these individual’s preferences and motivators – and you can also determine almost immediately whether or not a lead is actually qualified.

For example, Savi, a sensor analytics solution, actually adapts their websites based on the company that the visitor works for in order to accommodate to their needs and interests. Say, if a prospect works for a government agency, their website adapts to show content that aligns with these types of organizations.

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However, if the visitor works for a Fortune 500 company, their landing page looks like this:

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These simple changes show this company’s dedication to personalization. However, these details are clearly not random and depend on important data that comes from using an ABM approach and is integrated into an advanced or customized CRM.

2. Personalized Content Based on Intent

In addition to personalizing based on the characteristics of each account, you should also look for opportunities to customize the experience based on the customer’s intent. This can be determined based off of various data points, such as:

  • What brought them to your site (organic search, external link from affiliate site, PPC ad, social media, or direct referral)
  • Their past interactions (Is this the first time looking at your website or have they reached out to a sales representative in the past?)
  • Which stage of the buyer or customer journey are they in?

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Typically, the intent of a first-time visitor is not to make a final purchasing that decision in the moment – especially if you are targeting the B2B market. So, instead, you should look for ways to customize their interactions in order to match up with their likely intent. In the case of a first- or second-time visitor, it is likely to gather more information about your product through your website’s content.

Creating a personalized trigger-based email communication strategy is a great option with ABM. This can help to make your email content far more relevant with a truly targeted approach that is entirely customized based on each account’s behavior and interactions. This can easily be aligned with researched behavioral patterns and determined intent so that each message can be designed to help move the customer from one phase of the journey to the next.

So, say that a customer has already engaged with several content pieces and conducted an on-site search for pricing information about your SaaS product. Clearly, they are moving from the first stage of research into the second, where they are likely comparing your brand to other options. This would be an opportune time to send this account a personalized email message providing them with further information in regards to how your product compares to the competition or retargeting them with a personalized combination of a display ad and appropriate landing page.

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3. Integrated and intelligent CRM

Finally, the only way that ABM is going to work is if it has a strong foundation of data and information behind it. ABM is entirely dependent on an integrated CRM system that collects data from multiple sources and organizes it into an easily useable program so that both sales and marketing teams can access this information whenever its needed.

Since most modern companies use a broad mix of marketing channels to engage with their targeted audience, you also need to be using an intelligent program that can match up your visitors to their correct account in your database. AI is certainly helping in this regard, thanks to its ability to correctly profile accounts by analyzing millions of data points in a short amount of time.

Another reason to go with an online system that includes AI technology is the fact that it can help your team determine their next steps. Predictive analytics can be applied to personalization strategies to help marketers discover what the right next move will be with individual accounts.

AI uses information from both Big Data as well as internal data points to create a smart customer profile based on behavior from other similar accounts. This will mean that all of your business’s personalization efforts will have a better effect and better results.

Going Granular

As you can see, ABM and personalization really go hand-in-hand. It is hard to be able to offer truly successful personalization with an account-based approach. But, you need an effective ABM model already in place for your personalization methods to have any real effect.

Ask yourself:

  • Is your ABM system on-point and strong enough to support this level of personalization that your customers are demanding?
  • How can you improve it in order to ensure that you can customize every interaction point for clients in different verticals or industries?
  • How can you make sure that the personalization methods you’ve chosen are best suited and most effective for your specific audience?

What are your answers to these questions? Care to share in the comments?

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.

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