The focus on Account Based Marketing and it’s requirements has ignited a range of discussions and specialized B2B and ABM technologies and processes. For companies that are selling to accounts, the strategies associated with ABM are well understood, yet the technologies are still evolving. At first blush, you might think that a closed loop marketing architecture doesn’t apply to B2B and account based marketing. Closed Loop Marketing is data and insight-driven. It clearly works for B2C and high volume campaigns. Yet, how does CLM apply to a highly relationship-centric account based marketing focus?
Actually closed loop marketing is a core foundation for effective Account Based Marketing / ABM.
What is a Closed Loop Marketing Architecture?
We define Closed Loop Marketing as a continuous flow or process to deliver highly tailored experiences that engage customers and drive conversions. By ‘closing the loop’, teams align around the end-to-end customer lifecycle (across marketing and sales) and campaigns are measured for total revenue impact . We offer the Closed Loop Marketing Architecture (CLMA) as a blueprint for campaign design and execution. It describes the critical elements and flows of a modern marketing and sales campaign.
There are six steps and five systems needed for CLM and in this article, we explore what these are and how these line up with account based marketing principles.
The Six Steps of Closed Loop Marketing – Aligned with Account Based Marketing Principles
1) Analysis. This step us universal to any campaign. It identifies trends from recent account interactions and campaign engagement life cycles. Marketers produce behavioral and predictive insights by reviewing data, performance and metrics of recent campaigns. With Account Based Marketing the analysis also includes preferences and account level insights that go beyond the typical B2B inbound or B2C campaign. The strategy begins at the account level and is informed by the account plan.
2) Insights: This step in the flow is relevant to the ABM approach. It is critical to understand different buyer personas in complex sales to committee buyers. In this step, you can develop and enhance the account profile as well as define specific customer profiles within the account, incorporating personas, segmentation and value metrics.
3) Opportunities: Account plans help drive out specific strategies for account penetration and opportunities are also informed by the insights from prior interactions and campaigns. Marketing and sales teams prioritize opportunities and strategies to capture customer value and they mobilize resources to launch account-based marketing and sales programs.
4) Campaigns: Account Based Marketing campaigns are highly tailored and typically compliant with strict protocols associated with each account. It is more crucial to control exacting communications at a 1:1 level and programs are tightly integrated across marketing and sales. Team members work together to engage segments, decision makers and influencers within the account. The web plays a key role delivering relevant / personalized experiences and communications throughout the account driven by roles, preferences, interests and behaviors. Ideally account contacts are registered and engaged in the marketing messages and programs impact both new acquisition and expansion.
5) Engagement: Account Based Marketing experiences engage contacts within accounts with personalized messages and they help nurture customer relationships. Engagement is also critical after the sale to maximize total funnel impact. Revenue systems help capture customer profiles and build a 360 degree view informed by intents, context, actions and behaviors across all channels and systems.
6) Conversions: Campaigns and account teams orchestrate leads, prospects and customers through the marketing-sales lifecycle, responding to customer behaviors and key performance indicators. In account based marketing, conversions are engineered to optimize the total revenue funnel – at each stage – recognizing the complexities in customer nurture/ prospect care.
Five Underlying Systems critical to Account Based Marketing
1) Omni-Channel: The website plays a central role in account based marketing engagement along with events, digital advertising and direct sales and account teams. Accounts are engaged with an optimal mix of B2B focused paid, owned and earned media to deliver account level and customer-specific experiences and interactions across the customer lifecycle.
2) Marketing Automation: Teams configure and integrate campaigns using business rules to engage audience segments at different stages of the buying cycle and based on different role ‘personas’. Optimization around conversions, sales nurture programs, qualification and lead scoring helps generate and maintain marketing qualified opportunities.
3) Salesforce Automation: The features of salesforce automation / CRM are at the center of account based marketing. Account team coordination, contact management and deal management are all central along with account and contact intelligence. CRM enables sales effectiveness using tools, intelligence, assets and services that track and manage customer relationships including contacts, account information, opportunity management and service interactions.
4) Business Intelligence: ABM Marketers engage tools, applications and methodologies to develop and run queries, create reports, dashboards and data visualizations that enable more predictive and informed decision making about accounts, specific contacts and the performance of campaigns.
5) Data Management: Data Management is a foundation requirement that applies to ABM as teams collect, store, index and harmonize internal, external,current and historic customer data to enable a 360 degree customer view of both the account and the customer and helps define relevant communications.
Account Based Marketing and Closed Loop Marketing – Perfectly Aligned
Closed loop marketing is a central foundation for effective Account Based Marketing / ABM. The Account Based Marketing Consortium (AccountBased.Marketing ) is a consortium of B2B marketing technology leaders focused on delivering ABM solutions. The consortium describes a set of defining characteristics for successful Account Based Marketing programs. These align directly with the Closed Loop Marketing Architecture approach. Here we describe how to map these principles into the continuous engagement approach of the CLMA:
- Account selection – Tied to the analysis and insights stage of the CLMA. This is a core entrance criteria for an ABM campaign or program.
- Insights – This is a direct alignment with the CLMA “Insights” stage.
- Content – Content is assumed as central to any campaign experience, and is not unique to ABM. However, the type of content required in ABM programs are much more tailored and personalized. These are defined in the “Opportunities” stage and then implemented in Campaigns and driving the experience and engagement.
- Orchestration – We agree that account orchestration is critical to ABM. It is the collection and coordination of engagement that drives the impact. We address this element in the “Opportunities” stage as we integrate campaign designs across channels and tactics.
- Targeted delivery – We address targeted delivery in campaign design (opportunity) and execution (campaigns) in ABM, we recognize how important it is to align and tailor communications to specific account influencers.
- Measurement – The CLMA describes both a range of systems (Business Intelligence and Data Management) along with steps (Analysis and Insights) to ensure that campaigns are optimized and meeting target goals.
To learn more, please contact us for a complete briefing on the CLMA and how this can be applied to your complex B2B sales and account based marketing strategies.