Account based marketing (ABM, for short) has spread through the B2B marketing world like buzzword wildfire. Yet this is way more than a passing fad. A whopping 92 percent of marketers worldwide now believe it’s important to their marketing efforts and 85 percent of adherents report a positive ROI.
ABM is changing how we target leads (by the account), define funnels (flipped), and go to market as marketing and sales teams (well aligned). With these structural changes, B2B companies are finding that ABM helps them better identify, engage, and convert key accounts. They’re seeing higher response rates, shorter deal cycles, and greater average contract values.
Yet, as many who have adopted it can attest, there’s a lot more to ABM than sunshine and revenue rainbows. ABM presents a few serious technological and organizational hurdles—ones that we have found video is uniquely positioned to solve.
Let’s explore what those are.
The 3 biggest hurdles to effective ABM
ABM is largely an outbound methodology that renounces most of the classical outbound tactics. Rather than target leads, it’s about accounts. Rather than work lists, it targets individuals. And rather than handing accounts off at each clearly defined buying cycle stage, all teams are on the hook throughout the whole sales process.
This creates three big challenges:
1. Coordinating internal teams is tricky
If salespeople ever thought scheduling their VP to talk with a client was a hassle, imagine getting folks from marketing, product, and customers success to all reach out on cue. ABM requires mobilizing the whole organization in all-hands sales cycles … without tripping over each other.
2. Bespoke outreach needs to be more effective
The days of ‘spray and pray’ are long behind us and ABM calls for more of a dart gun approach. That’s because funnels are flipped upside down and marketers and salespeople must identify the right people before reaching out. They need more evocative methods for eliciting warm responses from cold buyers in the right accounts.
3. It’s hard to make connections feel personal at scale
ABM is about personal connections and bespoke outreach and yet, the first thing any company wants to do with it is scale it up. And who can blame them? The problem with scale, however, is that the more people you address, the fewer you address personably. To practice ABM and grow, companies must strike the right balance.
There is, of course, good news. Video content and video analytics can help you tackle each of these challenges head-on to supercharge your ABM initiative.
Why video is perfect for ABM
Video marketing platforms now make videos impossibly easy to create, personalize, spread, and track, and they can alleviate your ABM growing pains in the following three ways:
1. Video provides better insights and account coordination
The data that videos generate is unlike any other. Whereas you’ll never know how much of a blog post or PDF a prospect actually reads, video is linear—people watch it from end to end—and that lets companies track what their prospects watched, skipped, or repeated. (Or repeated, like, ten times, in which case, put down this guide. Go call that account now.)
This makes for far more accurate lead scoring. And it doesn’t end there.
Video viewing data also rolls up to an account level so you can see how each ACME corporation engaged with your video content. You can see all the different stakeholders and what parts of the video they found most relevant. If many of them re-watched a section about a particular feature or value proposition, you know precisely what to talk about next.
This data feeds into marketing and CRM systems for segmentation, scoring, and cross-functional coordination. All teams can keep tabs on the who, what, where, and when of their prospects’ video viewing habits and can avoid making contact out of turn.
2. Video is attention-grabbing
Imagine this is you, and you receive this video thumbnail in your inbox:
Are you more likely to click this than a traditional text-based email? Extensive testing reveals that yes, you are, and that likelihood only increases as it becomes more personalized. For example, what if the thumbnail cake included your company’s logo? Your name? An eerily relevant question based on a talk you gave last week?
Research shows that prospects are 5 times more likely to engage in a personalized video message than they are in traditional text-based email. And not only that, they’re more likely to share it around the office with peers and colleagues.
When it comes to cold, account-based marketing outreach, this can be the difference between standing out in their inbox and being swept aside and lost in the clutter.
3. Video offers a human touch at scale
Video forges personal connections and makes veritable besties out of companies and their prospect accounts. The key to personal connections is, of course, personality, and video projects that in spades. Video conveys the body posture, bright smiles, and trust-building nonverbal behavior that usually get lost in your voicemails and emails.
Here is a personal video message sent from Vidyard’s quick recording tool ViewedIt from a sales rep to an individual at a target account.
You can see they’ve written their prospect’s name on the whiteboard so that right from the thumbnail image, they can tell it’s personalized just for them. Prospects who receive personalized videos are more likely to open them and according to SalesLoft, late stage prospects that receive personalized videos are 75 percent more likely to become closed won deals.
Once you’ve captured their attention with one-to-one personal messages, marketers, and salespeople can record custom demos, screen captures, and videos from product or executive teams to tie the ABM experience together and make it personal again.
Video coordinates your ABM outreach, breaks through busy inboxes, and offers a human touch that scales. Now, let’s apply what you’ve learned with some AMB video tactics.
5 tactics for applying video in your ABM
Here are 5 different ways you can use video to achieve your ABM goals:
1. Use video in your email nurture campaigns
Why it works: Video in nurture can lift click-through rates 200 to 300 percent.
Video can amplify the effectiveness of your existing ABM email nurture campaigns. You can repurpose the video content you’ve already created like explainers, testimonials, product demos, and promos by simply giving them an account-based spin.
Create multiple versions of each video, personalize the intros and outros, and organize them by use-case or business unit. For your top-tier accounts, have sales reps or even executives record short, entirely personalized introductions as to why the viewers will find the video instructive.
These tailored video approaches get more opens and clicks and let your accounts know that this ain’t no old-school outbound email blast.
2. Use dynamic personalized video in email campaigns
Why it works: Personalized videos with dynamic content increase viewer retention by 35 percent.
In ABM, no two prospects should see the exact same video. That’s because a video platform will allow you to dynamically personalize your videos with content specific to the viewer, like their name, their company name, or even their company logo. Personalized videos are still a pretty novel approach—it’s unlikely your competitors have seen anything like it—and you’ll attract and hold your audience’s attention like never-before.
Not only that, but audiences will watch for longer because you’ve woven them directly into the story you’re telling. Want to see for yourself? Check out this video which was personalized for Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing:
3. Send a direct mail video in a box
Why it works: “79 percent of people act on direct mail versus 45 percent on email.” – CMO Council
Believe it or not, direct mail marketing is back! (Okay, it never really went away.) And yes, video can—and should—be a part of your direct mail approach. With Vidyard’s Video-in-a-Box, you can create custom video cards that can be shipped through direct mail. It’s a lot cheaper than shipping iPads (sorry Apple) and it has the same arresting effect.
Direct mail videos are perfect for top tier ABM accounts who you want to impress and it’s something of a land-and-expand strategy because the video box will get passed around. The office usually gathers around the box to see what it is, and it often migrates from desk to desk for weeks to follow.
4. Send personal sales videos
Why it works: Outbound sales videos with personalized thumbnails see a 5 to 8x increase in response rates.
Videos don’t have to be fancy or over-produced. In fact, they’re great coming off-the-cuff from salespeople. With a quick-record tool like ViewedIt, all you need is a webcam. Once salespeople slick ‘send,’ they’re able to track prospect’s viewing behavior and adjust their subsequent outreach.
Personalized thumbnails, again, work wonders in the inbox, and garner higher response rates. Just be sure to include some element that’d be too hard to fake, like a whiteboard with the prospect’s name in the salesperson’s handwriting. For example:
So much more engaging than a text email, right? And it cost nothing to create! Plus, these videos can come from more than salespeople. If a prospect has a concern about the technology, get the product team to record a video! If they’re worried about support, get the head of customer success on camera. This tactic is great for targeting key accounts because it shows that you’re going above and beyond and creating something personal just for them.
5. Use video data in ABM strategy sessions
Why it works: “To execute a successful ABM program, marketers need on-demand access to data.” – Engagio
Engagement data is key to a strong ABM program. You need to know how each person is responding to your efforts, and what they are responding to. That’s exactly what video engagement data gives you: who watched, what they’ve watched, and how long they watched each video.
On an account level, use this data to prioritize sales efforts. Salespeople, their managers, and the marketing team can use video engagement data as one of many barometers for how deeply they’ve penetrated accounts. It helps them identify hitherto unknown internal champions, prioritize accounts, and refine the story around which features excite that account the most. More specific lead insights point to an even better ROI for ABM.
And, those tactics don’t end there. Care to see what ABM looks like executed by one of the biggest names in digital marketing? That’s up next.
Spotlight on success: How Marketo uses ABM and video
Amazing tactics for your entire ABM funnel
You didn’t think we’d leave you hanging without some real-world applications, did you? For shame. Charm Bianchini, Senior Director of Marketing at Marketo, spoke recently at Viewtopia® about how Marketo began using ABM to drive prospects through every stage of the pipeline. Here, we’ll share her story, why she thinks personalization is key, and how you can apply this strategy to your own ABM efforts.
Start with the Destination
Bianchini says that there’s only one way to begin ABM: “Start with a goal.” Goals are important, they serve as a guiding light and help focus your team. When Marketo launched ABM, the goal was to drive more revenue with less effort.
The transition to ABM, however, was not so easy. Switching to an account based model for marketing and lead generation after so many years and so much momentum was arduous. It doesn’t just require a change in how your team executes on campaigns—it requires you flip your entire strategy on its head. Literally.
For guidance, Bianchini turned to the wisdom of Sangram Vajre and his team at Terminus who founded the #FlipMyFunnel movement. The flipped funnel concept is about highly targeted outreach. Rather than filling the top of your funnel with thousands of poorly qualified prospects, you’re handpicking just a few.
“It’s about quality over quantity … but those quality leads are going to go through that model and become customers, hopefully, become advocates, and buy more,” said Bianchini.
To turn all the talk into ABM action, Bianchini and her team took these five steps and implemented a flipped funnel for Marketo’s target accounts:
Step 1: Choose your accounts
The first thing Bianchini and her team did was determine which accounts they’d apply ABM to. “If you don’t have the right accounts from the beginning, it’s not going to be successful. We spent a lot of time figuring out which accounts are appropriate for this program,” she said.
Bianchini sat down with her sales team and developed three distinct tiers of accounts to target: the Top 20, Tier 1 and Tier 2. Each account would receive a different level of personalization.
“For Top 20 accounts, they’re going to see Marketo.com customized with our personalization technology. And we’re going to create 20 distinct journeys for those accounts,” said Bianchini. For the Tier 1 and Tier 2 accounts, they looked at their shared attributes like industry, CRM, or competitive technology and created journeys based on those. And to create journeys, they turned to data.
Step 2: Gather Your Data
Personalization is one of the cornerstones of account based marketing but without the right (read: clean) data, you run the risk of alienating prospects. For example, how many times have you received a ‘personalized’ email that had your name spelled incorrectly? Or had your company name listed in ALL CAPS?
According to Bianchini, to get names and titles right is to only scratch the surface of personalization. “Once you have selected your accounts, you can’t just start marketing if you don’t understand them. For example, if I picked GE, they have 80 different divisions. Some of them may be customers already, some of them may not. You really need to understand how that company is structured.”
With their accounts in place, they moved on to coming up with something to say.
Step 3: Create Your Content
You can have all the data in the world on a prospect but if your content isn’t compelling, they still won’t care. That’s why Marketo has a dedicated segmentation team to build buyer personas that infuse its content with voice-of-customer life.
“We create content for every stage,” said Bianchini. And in this respect, the content creation process starts to resemble good old fashioned outbound. Highly targeted thought leadership papers cascade down into eBooks, case studies, and then conversations. The content is tailored to channels, and Bianchini wanted to be sure her teams were choosing channels for the right reasons.
Step 4: Work Your Channels
Just as fishermen must fish where the fish are, marketers must market where the prospects are. Yet marketers are creatures of habit and they spend time on the channels that excite them most—like social media, or events. Bianchini believes that to make ABM really work, marketers must overcome their inclinations.
“It’s important to use as many channels as possible. But don’t use them all at once. We’ll take three channels at a time and use them for a month. And the next month, we will pick three new ones. And the next one, three new ones again,” she says.
This strategy can pay off in multiple ways. First, if your customers only play in one or two channels, you’re guaranteed to hit them over the course of the year. Second, people don’t tend to only consume one type of media, so playing multiple channels means you may hit a person with your messaging two, three, or even four times over the span of six months. And that kind of repeat exposure is the key to building engagement.”
But, Bianchini cautions against just trying the same tactics everywhere. “Switch it up! Try new things like videos, try infographics, try white papers, see what works for you. But personalize anywhere that you can.”
Which is an excellent segue to the last step.
Step 5: Personalize, Personalize, Personalize
The buying journey has changed. Prospects are jaded, overwhelmed, and guide their own journeys. To reach them—especially in ABM where you’ve only got one shot with the right person—marketers need to personalize proactively and do it at each stage in the journey.
One of the biggest assets Bianchini has found across every funnel stage is video. It allows sales teams to break through inboxes early on, for marketing teams to cement emotional connection at scale, and for Marketo to convey its unique value proposition across the prospect’s business units.
Marketo finds video personalization so valuable that it no longer produces anything that’s one-size-fits-all. Every piece of video knows its place. This has led to breakout success in places like driving event attendance. As Bianchini explains:
Big results from a small video!
If you follow these five steps, you’ll have a pretty good platform to start building success on. And after doing this style of marketing for over a year, Marketo has seen some extraordinary results. Do the same and so can you.
Conclusion: make video the backbone of your ABM programs
Today, ABM is one of the hottest tools for marketing success but it’s not without its challenges. By incorporating video, you can get your account based efforts in lockstep, break into cold accounts for warm intros, and achieve personalized humanity at scale. You’ll increase response rates, shorten deal cycles, and drive up average contract values.
All it takes is a great video platform. Will you be the one on your ABM team to press play?
Want to learn more about video for ABM? Request a demo of Vidyard and see what it’s all about.