How to Leverage Website Visitor Insight to Drive Successful ABM
Successful ABM requires high-quality, plentiful, and actionable insight to deliver effective, personalized experiences.
But what does the right insight look like? How exactly can website visitor insight add value?
Webinar topic detail
During this 30 minute virtual-live session, we covered the critical factors to consider in ensuring ABM success. With marketing becoming ever more data-driven, using insight to understand prospective and existing customers and enrich your marketing initiatives is increasingly becoming a competitive necessity.
Successful ABM requires high-quality, plentiful, and actionable insight to deliver effective, personalized experiences. But what does the right insight look like? How exactly can website visitor insight add value?
Presented by the Social & Digital Director at Hotwire, Josh Turbill, and our own VP of Marketing, Nadja Gram; watch as they discuss the close relationship that exists between digital channels (such as your website) and successful account-based marketing. They share their own experiences as they draw on practical as well as theoretical knowledge to fuel a truly insightful session.
1. What types of organizations should invest in ABM with digital integration?
2. How do you measure the success of ABM through digital channels?
3. How do you integrate website visitor insight into your ABM effectively?
4. What technologies and tools can be used to drive insight and enable scale?
5. What are the common challenges when it comes to ABM execution?
Martin: Hello, everyone. Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us today. We've got a really great session lined up for you. We're going to be discussing how to leverage website visitor insight to drive successful account-based marketing. Our panellists today have got some really impressive experience in this space. So I'm hoping that we're going to provide some useful tips and that you'll benefit from their experience. So here we go with the introductions. I'm Martin Boyle, Director of Brand Communications here at Lead Forensics, I'll be your host for today. Please use the chat function to send in any questions. Feel free to get involved, post any questions you have to our experts. So I'm going to handover to our panel to introduce themselves. I have Nadja and Josh with me today. So Nadja, if I could just handover to you first, if you could tell us about your professional background and experience.
Nadja: Absolutely. Thank you, Martin. Glad to be here today. My name is Nadja Gram and I'm the VP of Marketing at Lead Forensics. I have approximately, I'm going to say, about 14 years of experience in B2B technology marketing. It might be a little bit more, but I'm rounding it down to seem younger. All primarily or rather a lot of that has actually been in specialist agencies where we've been very focused on B2B tech but also there has been a focus on driving hyper-personalised, insight-driven, data-driven marketing. In the last six years, I would say that's also been very focused around account-based marketing. More recently, of course, I have come into the world of website visitor tracking and have actually joined as a previous customer, so even before joining the organisation I saw the value of what it can offer in ABM and outside of that. So I'm really excited to be here today to share my experiences and like you said, Martin, hopefully other people can benefit from it.
Martin: Yeah, great. OK, Thanks very much. Josh if you could just let the audience know a little bit about yourself, please.
Josh: Yeah, thanks, Martin. Great to be here. My name is Josh. I am the Social & Digital Director at a global technology marketing agency specialising in B2B called Hotwire. I look after the activation function, which within that it encompasses digital, social, data and how we go to market, essentially. So, you know, we specialise in ABM for a number of large and global technology businesses. So I'm looking forward to talking to the public today.
Martin: OK, both of you, thank you very much for joining us today — I know how busy you both are so thank you very much for your time. So let's move on to the questions. We know that to deliver successful ABM campaigns, you need high-quality, actionable insight and lots of it, the more the better. So what does the right insight look like? How exactly can website insight add value? First question that we have is, what sort of businesses need to invest in account-based marketing and what's the importance of digital integration? And for that one, I'm going to hand that over to Josh first, please.
Josh: Thanks and so what type of organisations? I'd say from our experience at Hotwire, obviously, we work with large enterprise and that's where a lot of the experiences and I think discussion I can draw upon for this conversation will come from. However, I think all organisations of all sizes can implement a form of ABM and specifically ABM with digital integration. I think any customers that are looking to grow their top serve accounts..... you know, thinking about the accounts that are currently driving a large portion of their revenue and how to improve each of those by 10-15% over the next financial year...... ABM can really focus on that. It can focus on priority accounts or strategic accounts, so those accounts that can help propel them or be a catalyst for them into a new market or industry and identifying what those accounts are is part of the ABM process. I think ABM in itself and running an ABM program at all levels of business can be a differentiator in the current landscape we find with the dreaded pandemic that we always talk about. In that, ABM can help cut through everyone's online, everyone's on LinkedIn right now so what is it about our communications, our outreach that will land with our prospects? ABM and tight account-based messaging and creative can really help cut through that.
Martin: Absolutely, for sure. Nadja, have got anything to add to that, do you agree completely? Got any other angles on that one?
Nadja: I wholeheartedly agree. I think when you look at the definition of who should consider account-based marketing as part of their remit, Primarily I would say, well, if you're a B2B organisation, I would say absolutely everyone. Business to consumer, less so, but I don't think we necessarily have any of those on the session right now anyway. But certainly, from a business-to-business perspective, I think it's probably one of the most valuable types of communication and strategic initiatives that you can launch from an organisation perspective. I do agree that it's very important to have a definition around what your good customer looks like because that's the only way that you can make sure your targeting is correct. So you need to know exactly who is going to see value from your product and who's going to want to stay with you once they're on board so that you don't invest a lot of money into onboarding them, only to lose them down the line because actually, the fit between your product value and what they were looking for isn't there. So if you've defined clearly, your ideal customer profile, your ICP, then I think definitely account-based marketing is something that you should strongly consider. I think there's different scales to what type of ABM people might be looking to invest in and that type of ABM will very much be dictated by your budget availability, your organisational structure, what needs you have, what are you looking for the account-based marketing initiative to solve for you. What is the driving, is it the retention plot? Is it a new business plot and how many accounts are you going after? Ultimately your deal value and your sales cycles will help you determine what type of ABM as well because the investment is based around the expected return, of course, as you would expect. The digital element as Josh said, is actually really important because ABM has always been around meeting them where they are and what we have at the moment is this situation where we do not know where they are anymore. It's no longer as predictable because you don't know exactly what train they're going to be on, what station they're going to come into and what offices they're going to be based at if they're even going to be based in an office at this stage. So I think digital, more so than ever, is important now to integrate into your account-based marketing if you want to find people because that's where it's most predictable that they're going to be. I've had some really, really interesting stats and pieces of insight over the past three to six months and one of the ones that really kind of made me sit up and pay attention is the fact that the pandemic has sped up digital transformation by five years. Now, if we look back at how prevalent digital transformation was just a couple of years ago, to suggest that it's now been sped up by 5 years is, I think, mind-blowing. But it just goes to really back up the importance of that as a means to communicate and as a means to get noticed. There was another piece of research that I found, which suggested that one-third of people are saying that they would rather quit than return to the office full time. So for anyone who's thinking, ‘yes, but we're now on the downhill, things are going to go back to normal’, I don't think it's yet possible to predict what that 'normal' is going to be and I don't think we know for sure that it's going to be a to a 9-5, 5 five days a week in the office scenario. I think this blended way of communicating in B2B and in ABM is, I think, here to stay and digital is going to be a really, really core component in any initiative moving forward.
Martin: Yeah, definitely. That's quite an interesting stat Isn't it? Five year’s acceleration of digital transformation and I think that's probably one where if you feel like your business isn't quite there with it, you know, you can be losing ground quite quickly. But if you're ahead of the curve, you can do quite well. So I think there's obviously common challenges when it comes to ABM execution so we're just going to move on to that now. If we could go to Nadja first, what are some of the common challenges that we encounter?
Nadja: I think the ones that I most often come up against is, first is alignment. ABM, by definition, includes a lot of state stakeholders and functions within the organisation and bringing everyone together behind a unified vision when everyone has slightly different agendas can be an extremely complex exercise. I'm sure Josh will agree with that. Having external facilitators can help that process along, because sometimes it helps having someone there who can kind of whip everyone into shape. But, unfortunately, it can be time-consuming and it can feel like you're herding cats sometimes and most often the drive behind this comes from marketing. So they are left being the ones trying to facilitate it and trying to coordinate leadership and sales, despite not necessarily having an organisational hierarchy benefits for above and beyond those functions if you will. When it comes to pure-play account-based marketing, that alignment and getting everyone on board is absolutely critical. I do think when it comes to businesses who are only just starting out on their ABM journey and potentially also smaller businesses, irrespective of where they are in that journey, I think it's not necessarily a barrier toward starting ABM full stop. I think there is a trail of thought, which can start with a small wins, proof of concept campaign approach that doesn't necessarily warrant the alignment across all the different functions. If you can get that quick win in, if you can prove that as a concept account-based marketing works, you're more likely to then smoothen the process around getting everyone else on board. It has to be done right, of course, I'm not suggesting it's going to be simple as such. One of the things that I've experienced in the past is, even if you can't get an entire department behind your vision.... for example, sales..... if you can get one sales rep behind you and if you can launch a proof of concept with one sales rep, I think you'll find that quite quickly as he or she starts to overtake their peers in terms of pipeline contribution and revenue wins, they will be lining up to sign up to an account based marketing initiative. So I think there's different ways you can come at this alignment. But alignment often, I think, is a challenge. Scale is the other one, which I think is top of mind when it comes to account-based marketing challenges. That is both, once you've found a model that works for you, replicating that enough times but also scaling a program to include enough reach for your accounts. I think where I've seen a lot of companies become stuck or potentially trying to figure out where the line is drawn, is what is account-based marketing and what has targeted marketing with personalization. You start to hear reference to people who are employing an account-based marketing hub and spoke model but the whole definition behind the account-based marketing is targeting people based on insight that is unique to them. You can group them and you can unify them but I think a lot of people are still figuring out the best way that they can scale their efforts, whilst proving return and so the main limiting factor is resources and budget.
Josh: Yeah, I completely agree with your point about developing advocates across the business and finding out who they are first and foremost then making them a champion of ABM. Successes that we've seen have come from projects, campaigns that we've run with clients who have that alignment or at least a senior figure on both the sales and marketing sides to help pull everything together and provide the glue. One thing that I find as a challenge....... and this happens all the time with campaigns, especially with organisations that run in a pilot ABM program..... is the desire for quick wins and that's not contrary to what you were saying earlier about ‘try and get that quick win to prove the value of ABM’. I think there's a difference between showing early signals of success in an ABM program to get people on board and leveraging the success of a pilot to grow an ABM program and function within your organisation. The key to successful ABM is to be patient. Just hold on to the strategy and understand that over time that we're changing perceptions within accounts, we're broadening relationships, unlocking those blockers to do business within these accounts. These are things that take a lot of time, especially in those organisations that you'd likely put in an ABM program. They're likely to be harder to land because they're larger organisations. They're likely going to be the most significant-sized organisations that you're marketing to at any one time and as a result, these programs can take sort of 6 to 12 months or even longer. I think that's one of the things to understand and be prepared for and have an appetite for. One of the biggest challenges is coaching. For us, coaching our clients through that and keeping them on that journey and reassuring them that progress is going to follow but also helping them reiterate that to sales or, vice versa, marketing or the board. Once a pilot is complete and you see the results, that sort of mentality is really easy to communicate. But its once the satisfaction of our investment has made the return that we were expecting or more, that you can really start motoring with ABM. I think the other challenge that we come across is access to tech. So tech and ABM are often spoken about — they sort of come as a package and with the larger organisations, they always have a fantastic tech stack but not everyone knows the technology that they have already that they can leverage. If they do know, sometimes the access to the skills and resources to deploy a campaign through that tech stack is so siloed or exists in a different market or territory. Again, I think successful campaigns and organisations with ABM are more flexible with the sharing of knowledge, sharing of access to those tools and that way you can expand and embed ABM programs and scale them through your organisation. I think the last challenge, links to that quick wins mentality, trying to get things in and early successes. There's so many KPIs for ABM; things that we want to develop, change, grow within these accounts but ultimately, when the pressure's on, I think a lot of people look at leads. How many leads have we got? Sometimes the campaigns aren't designed to generate leads, that's just a byproduct or one of the KPIs. So it's again a bit of expectation management on what volume of leads, what the pacing will be. But actually, there is other engagement happening within these accounts that we need to analyse, that we need to understand, the relationship being built. But it isn't down to just someone filling in a form or downloading an eBook so that's another challenge that we often find and have to work through.
Martin: Yeah, some really interesting points there. So obviously there's some big challenges to overcome. The rewards for businesses that can crack those can be big, though. So we're going to talk a little bit later on about how we can get through some of those challenges. Just going to move on to the next question. So how do you integrate website visitor insight into your account-based marketing effectively? Let's go to Josh first on that one, please.
Josh: I mean, there are so many ways the website visitor insight that you have access to again with a bunch of free tools is super valuable. Obviously, the identification tools that Lead Forensics provide are exceptional too and I'll explain why shortly. But what I was just talking about with regards to leads, eBook downloads and capture and leads not being the sole purpose of an ABM campaign — the insights that your website can give you with regards to organisational engagement, so if you've got, let's say, you want to program in 10 accounts.... What are those 10 accounts currently looking at on your website? What do they engage with? Which topics across your website are they most interested in? .........And then let's create more of that content because we know that it's engaging them. That can help focus content. It can help focus creative....so leveraging that insight. It also helps us encourage sales, that engagement is happening within those accounts, despite it not being all about the leads so that gated versus ungated content becomes more available, I think. So with regards to awareness into these accounts and developing or changing a perception within accounts, which is a fundamental part of ABM, you can't do that if you're trying to raise awareness into an account that doesn't know you very well. By asking them to download a high-value piece of content, you first need to give them compelling reasons why...... thought leadership, blogs, videos, things that are ungated.......and website visitor insight and their engagement with that is critical for them to understand what it is about your propositions that aligns to their pain points. Before then, we can reach out and say, here's high-value content, let's download it and get you into that nurture ecosystem. So, you know, I think from that perspective, it's imperative. One of the things that we've been building on that with the help of Lead Forensics and also third-party intent tools, is to marry up the engagement, the research that these organisations are doing elsewhere on the web .......that gives us signals on those that might be in a buying cycle and then looking to map that against those that are visiting our client's websites. So they're showing intent for these products and services, they're showing intent at a certain stage, whether they're at solution exploration or ready to engage. Maybe they’re researching our competitors but they've also visited our website and to me, that's like a two pronged signal that they're aware of us. They're aware of their products and services, they're engaging with our content and they're researching these products and services elsewhere on the web. Perfect time to reach out, to engage, to hit them with the social, the paid activity. So it's marrying up those sort of first and third-party signals and that's something that's working fantastically for us at the moment.
Martin: It sounds like you're all over it, Josh. If we could move over to Nadja then, please.
Nadja: Yeah, of course. I'll try and be quick with this because I know people might be watching the clock and having other commitments. So, I think, just picking up on that last point, what's actually really pertinent with me on that and I'm sure any marketer on this call would be aware of what's happening with third-party cookies. There's some really, really compelling statistics out there around how I think it's 80% of marketers are currently reliant on third party cookies as part of their marketing remit. Yet, Google, making that move and that they have, owns 64% of the market. That's a compelling shift that's coming up and actually what's happening is that shift is slowly moving from third-party data and increasing the dependency on first-party data, if you want to be able to continue to do things like retargeting. With your website being such a rich environment for first-party data, that is a very logical way of feeding your website visitor insight into an ABM initiative, for example. So, just picking it up and sort of backing up around that. Top level, I think website visitor insight can help you strategically, especially in the early stages. So as a smaller organisation where you need to identify your accounts, the accounts that you want to go after based on who is likely to have an appetite for your product, where you need to see return on investment. If there isn't the option or the scope to do in-depth research, or you don't have the alignment with sales, for example, to select your accounts that way, website visitor insight can help you. It can also help you identify the messaging that you should be using based on the engagement that you've seen on your website and tactically throughout the execution of your account-based marketing initiative, the insight that you get can help you drive that engagement. So Gartner has started talking a lot about what they call buyer enablement. I don't know if that's something people are aware of but I think it's certainly a concept that I think is one to watch and I think it's really, really fascinating to read about it. It is sales enablement but it's flipped and it's putting the focus where it should be, which is on the buyer. It's essentially about helping the buyer complete the buying jobs that they have by reaching out and enabling them to do so with the right information, at the right time, through the right channels. Again, that principle is something that website visitor tracking can help you with and at the core of it, it's exactly what account-based marketing is. Which is serving up that right content at the right time for the individuals who need it. Ultimately, and sort of just to wrap up at the end of it, I would say often when you've got account-based marketing, you've got a multitude of different channels that you're pulling into one place. What that means is a multitude of sources that you can also report from, get insight from and ultimately need to analyse. The easier it is for you to pull that into a single source view, the quicker you can report upwards to organisational stakeholders in terms of the success of your campaign and the quicker you can pivot on your tactics if things aren't working. Again, another way to sort of unify that could be through use of website visitor tracking where you've got that dashboard and a platform that puts it into one place and gives you a real-time view of something that you can act on quickly as well as, like I said, share upwards and inwards in your organisation.
Martin: Really great point. Thanks, Nadja. So let's just do some quick-fire, top tech tooltips, then. Let’s go to Nadja first.
Nadja: I would say that's actually Josh's bag. If we're going to be really quick-fire, I'm going to make one point and then I'll handover to him because that is his expertise. But I would say I love the idea of combining an established tech with some new innovative tech. The reason for that is when you run an account-based marketing program, what you want is.... you want something that gives you the peace of mind that you've got business continuity and stability and established tech will do that. When it comes to new technology, that's often where you can create that compelling, creative, innovative cut-through. There's so many new solutions out there that either give you a new channel or a new mechanism to reach people. Although they might not have been around for as long, it can help give you that competitive edge. So when it comes to the tech stack and the scale, I would say combine established trustworthy tech with some sort of new innovative solution that can give you a compelling edge.
Josh: Yes, a great, great tip. For me again, just to be quick. I think one of the things that I notice with clients is that they don't understand or maybe sometimes aren't aware of the great technology they already have. That's not me saying, don't go out and procure anything but if you go to a website called ‘BuiltWith’ and drop in your URL, you'll see there's a whole stack of things that are plugged into your website right now. Often our clients don't know that they've got those tools, so we can find them and use them. That's a great place to start. Then tools to scale, I think what you'd look at is what gaps are there? How do we leverage our existing data and what tools can help us launch content at scale? There's a host of that, I probably shouldn't list all of them to stay impartial but yeah, there's a lot out there, it's well documented.
Martin: So last question. How do you measure the success of account-based marketing through your digital channels? If we go to Josh first on that one as well, please?
Josh: Yeah, so we're really proud of our management framework at McDonald Butler and it's something that's led to a number of recent awards. The reputation relationship revenue model is one that I'm sure many of the people on the session will have heard of and what we tend to do is make sure that we map and set KPIs across all three of those areas. The reason for that is very much to manage expectations across different areas of ABM from reputation, awareness creation or perception, shifting through to developing new connections on social within your CRM system, your automation systems and then always checking on revenue. So we have a model called Road to ROI and we're always checking back on.........a return on marketing investment of 20 to1 for most campaigns but with ABM, we push that to 30 to 1. That's because, with ABM, you can achieve greater deal sizes, typically than the average or that you used to. Create clear KPIs across both sales and marketing and always track where you are on that journey. You know, even in month one, there are early signals that you're on track to hit those KPIs over the course of the year. Present it in a dashboard, whether it's a Power BI or something free like Data Studio........and always think about reputation, relationship, and revenue KPIs.
Martin: Some really good tips there. So before we go to our absolutely final top tips about ABM from Nadja and Josh, a couple of the last pieces from me. The first one is we're offering a 14 day trial of Lead Forensics. It's free, during the trial you get full access to your previously anonymous website visitors. We’ve got a quick poll going up, so if you'd like to answer the poll, that would be really good. Here it is. So if you're not identifying your anonymous website visitors, you're potentially leaving quite a lot of business on the table for a lot of the reasons that we've spoken about today. Just going to keep the poll up for a little bit longer. So the options are; ‘yes’, ‘not sure’, 'no thanks’. So those are the options, I'll just leave it up for a second longer. OK, thanks, everyone, for participating in that and we're also going to put a quick poll up to find out if our audience would like to hear about our upcoming webinars. So there we go; ‘Yes, sign me up’, ‘no thanks, I'm already an expert.’ If you are an expert, please, by all means, get in touch we’re always looking out for expert speakers to come on. So next up, if anyone would like to connect on LinkedIn, we have some QR codes coming up on the screen now (at 32.05 of video). Most phones now you can just take a picture of the code and it will take you to the link. If you're listening to this on the podcast on catch up, you might have to do this the old-fashioned way, I'm afraid. Yeah so anyway, let's go over the final tips then. So if we could go over to Nadja......If our audience members can take one thing from this webinar, that's really the key thing, what would it be?
Nadja: I think the key thing and I'm going to just lead with a stat again here because I love getting some good stats, but by 2025, 80% of all B2B interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels. So whether or not it's account-based marketing, whether or not it's account-based selling or whether or not it's regular marketing, I think technology and digital is the absolute, absolute must. It's not a matter of if it's going to happen, it's a matter of when and what you do. So I would say, if you haven't already, take a look at what you've got.....to Josh's point. Evaluate what you have, evaluate what you want and what you would like to see and I guarantee you there's a solution out there for you. It's just about identifying your need and there will be plenty of people who can help you solve that, I'm sure.
Martin: Great. And, Josh, final top tip.
Josh: Ah, a top tip. So I think for me, I might be a little biased because obviously I'm focused on (inaudible) data. But ultimately, right now, I think access to an understanding of your data is the differentiator for businesses of all levels and we're seeing that right now. The bias comes in because if our creative department were on here, they'd say their creative was the differentiator — and it might well be. But understanding what your accounts are doing, what they're interested in and their relationship with you. Just getting access to that, it might be in your CRM, in your automation system or there might be other tools that you can access to find that information out, but it will fuel everything and that's my ultimate tip.
Martin: OK, thank you very much and to our experts, thank you so much for your time. Really appreciate it, great points, really informative. To our audience. If you have any further questions, please do let us know. You can reach us on LinkedIn. Just let you know the webinar will be available on-demand on our website ‘www.leadforensics.com’. Thanks, everyone. Have a great afternoon!
Nadja: Thank you. Thanks.
Social & Digital Director
VP of Marketing
Director of Brand and Communications