Why Data Science is a Must For Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

A study carried out by SiriusDecisions reports that 92 percent of participating B2B companies said ABM is “extremely important” or “very important” to their overall marketing efforts. But this is absolutely an uphill task without integrating data science.

Data has been likened to the world’s new oil, though with some reservations here and there. A few years back, marketers did not see the need and did not have the necessary resources to embark on specialized means of reaching out to potential customers and businesses broadcast the same message to every single customer.

With the world becoming a “global village” marketers have, however, being able to gain access to a wealth of individual consumer data and insights, making it easier to personalize their efforts for maximum effectiveness.

According to the Economist, these titans—Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft—look unstoppable. They are the five most valuable listed firms in the world.

Their profits are surging: they collectively racked up over $25bn in net profit in the first quarter of 2017. Amazon captures half of all dollars spent online in America.

Google and Facebook accounted for almost all the revenue growth in digital advertising in America last year. These “titans” have one thing going for them and that is data. Data science is responsible for mapping social networks and illustrating customer personas. It also identifies demographics and locations, in addition to tracking target audience responses and moods.

Forbes reports that 91 percent of senior marketers indicated that information gathered on the customer was essential to making decisions.

The interesting thing is that you have all along had all these data for the asking but failed to utilize the begging opportunity. Data is growing faster than ever before and by the year 2020, about 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet. But according to a report, less than 0.5 percent of all data is analyzed and used.

For ABM to flourish, data should be everything. Incidentally, for some B2B setups, they have found their efforts rather frustrating. SiriusDecisions reports that nearly 60 percent of marketers consider the overall health of their data unreliable.

But whether you like it or not, data is the lifeline of every high-performing sales and marketing program and most especially for ABMers. The reason is that ABM is a marketing approach that aims for greater efficiency and higher revenue by targeting high-value accounts; without access to data, this is absolutely a mission impossible.

After all, it makes perfect sense and is a sound business strategy to focus scarce sales resource on accounts that have all the characteristics of your ideal customer – right size, right industry, right position in the market.

What do you gain by integrating data science into ABM ?

1. Insights

ABM is fundamentally all about engaging key stakeholders from target accounts with strategic, personalized marketing and sales messages. The personalized messages you pass across to these target accounts require refined and sound data.

Devoid of this knowledge, your marketing and sales teams can’t understand each target prospect’s needs and challenges. They will ignore or be unable to identify ample, relevant, and timely opportunities to respond with the correct content even when they are glaring.

Your teams will essentially be groping in the dark. Data-driven marketing provides the insights that enable your teams to deliver the right messages to the right targets at the right times in order to get the first clicks and finally, the conversions.

2. Marketing and sales teams alignment

The worst thing that can happen to your organization is when marketing and sales have to operate at variance. A well-articulated data will have their working synchronized.

SiriusDecisions’ survey data shows all organizations engaging in an ABM strategy are at least somewhat aligned with sales, with 34 percent citing tight alignment. This is only possible with accurate data in your possession.

Marketers will work with the mindset of sales, identifying and targeting accounts in order to generate the necessary returns on investments from them. You overwhelmingly need to use data to score, segment and homogenize accounts that have a high probability to buy or fit the right parameters for your target market.

For ABMers, marketing and sales alignment is of a very high priority.

3. Harmonization of accounts

Accounts are usually scattered and varied, but for ABM, you need to collate your target accounts based on data such as industry type, company size, revenue, number of employees, and annual budget to identify the best targets. You sort and segment then harmonize based on characteristics and pointers that signal a prospect’s readiness to buy or your team can seek out prospects’ indicators and telltale signs exhibited by your best customers.

The data at your disposal enables your teams to have an indepth analysis of each account and create targeted campaigns that engage your target accounts.

For a successful ABM, it’s all about the data – know what you are buying and the strengths and limitations of the data. Clean and accurate data is the bottom line It’s the foundation on which you build your marketing campaigns and actual sales.

Without data, you attempt at ABM will end up in a total, compounding, and abysmal failure.

Photo Credit: kate.gardiner Flickr via Compfight cc

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About John Ejiofor

John Ejiofor is a curious life-researcher, whose quest to finding answers to life's pertinent questions has led to founding Nature Torch. This blog aims to debate and explore many questions about our earth -- including those a lot of people are uncomfortable with asking. He has been published on some of the internet's most respected websites, which you can find online.
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