Executive Chairman for Terminus, the true ABM platform for revenue growth.
We’ve seen a serious upheaval in business-to-business marketing over the past few years—an evolution accelerated by changing market conditions, buying behaviors and data privacy regulations. Today, more people have the flexibility to work from anywhere. Rising inflation and a tumultuous economy have affected marketing teams who must squeeze every bit of value out of each marketing dollar.
I’m finding that in-market buyers are hidden, and many customers don’t identify themselves until they decide to buy. It’s hard to connect the dots between a diversity of marketing channels, and many decision-makers have become harder to reach. I’ve seen contacts change jobs, and email and phone call responses have plummeted. With overwhelming noise from multiple digital channels, it can be hard to execute the right messaging at the right time.
In my experience, outdated B2B marketing tactics such as “spray and pray” approaches aren’t very effective. And with budgets under increased scrutiny, teams feel the heat to use their budgets more efficiently while still driving engagement.
Finally, marketers continue navigating third-party disruption. Although Google has pushed its sunset of third-party cookies into 2024, eventually, we’ll live in a cookieless world. Third-party data has a rapidly shrinking shelf life, so revenue leaders must keep their momentum going to prepare for a cookieless future while the safety net remains.
I believe these factors contribute to a revenue impact gap—the gap between current market dynamics and what marketers are doing right now to drive more revenue, such as leads, intent data, etc. It’s time for marketers to conquer this divide. Bridging the gap requires a mindset adjustment to resist the urge to obsess over leads and focus on the entire customer journey—or flywheel.
After more than 20 years serving B2B and B2C brands in marketing leadership roles, including time leading an account-based marketing platform, I understand resisting the urge to obsess over leads and focus on the entire customer journey won’t be easy. But I believe a new era has dawned—one that is reliant on data-based, account-focused experiences throughout the entire customer lifecycle, not just the top of the funnel.
Revitalizing Marketing As A Revenue Engine
From my perspective, the revenue impact gap exists because many marketing strategies are simply built for another era. And frankly, the status-quo approach just isn’t enough any longer. Relying solely on the lead-based funnel can make it challenging to close the gap. Intent data only goes so far and isn’t a silver bullet. Go-to-market teams should consider creating a consistent, engaging, personalized experience across the entire customer journey.
From my perspective, many brands struggle with capturing the attention of the ever-elusive buyer. And more people have become involved in the B2B buying process—with 63% involving more than four people in a buying committee, according to a Forrester report. Not to mention, Gartner expects that by 2025, 80% of B2B interactions between buyers and suppliers will occur in digital channels.
To close the revenue gap and direct their budget to buyers who will convert, marketers can take a coordinated approach to balance traditional demand generation with account-based marketing. Don’t just discount the lead-based funnel; it’s good to have and use symbiotically with the account funnel because they make each other stronger and better by coexisting. Conversion rates, form fills, lead numbers and lead scores just don’t go far enough. But when you incorporate that with an ABM strategy that engages customers across their entire journey, magic can happen.
Revamping Strategies To Close The Gap
For years, many marketing teams have relied on the lead-focused funnel as an inbound engine to engage customers. But it’s time to expand your focus to a revenue flywheel. The revenue flywheel includes the whole customer lifecycle. It’s not just bringing in new business. It allows you to engage target accounts and expands on the broader net of brand awareness or top-of-funnel activity.
Whether you sourced an account from your ABM or lead funnel, as soon as it turns into an opportunity, give it the white-glove treatment it deserves. Marketers, for example, can use display advertising and landing pages to share educational content on their products to build more awareness and keep the opportunity moving through the funnel.
Once the buck passes to ABM, marketers can leverage deeper buyer or buying committee insights to create stage- or persona-based ads and activate curated content via chatbots, emails or other channels to convert those accounts into closed-won deals.
To further unlock the flywheel, marketers must also align the entire go-to-market team, including sales and customer experience, around these motions. Anyone who touches a customer relationship, from first impressions to advocacy, should commit to an account-centric approach to drive and maintain revenue.
Marketing can use this approach to become a growth engine by focusing on:
• Raising brand awareness with new ideal customer profiles or accounts showing engagement or intent;
• Building a pipeline and nurturing or retargeting accounts across multiple channels;
• Accelerating pipelines with deal-stage nurturing, increasing buying committee reach and 1-to-1 account campaigns;
• Retaining more customers via competitive intent and product updates;
• Expanding revenue by leveraging upselling and cross-selling opportunities.
Teams should personalize the B2B buying experience across different touchpoints, from initial contact through upsell opportunities. This could help them kick the revenue engine into a higher gear, attract and retain more customers, zero in on customer intent and close deals.
Bridge the revenue impact gap by engaging your target accounts across the entire customer lifecycle. Lead-focused strategies worked years ago, as did traditional marketing playbooks. Now, marketers can take the steps shared above to engage buyers anytime and drive revenue impact for a sustainable growth advantage.
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