A decade ago, most B2B marketing teams were focused on casting their nets as wide as possible in order to generate as many leads as possible. They accomplished this by blasting out the same generic ads, emails, and content to everyone (and anyone) from whom they could secure an email address or an eyeball. It was a numbers game: Fill the funnel with enough leads, and you were bound to squeeze out a few customers.
When ABM first began to take off in the mid- and late 2000s, it turned the traditional approach to B2B marketing on its head… literally. It became a quality vs. a quantity game—focusing on and targeting specifically the accounts that would help your company hit its revenue goals for the year.
Instead of casting as wide a net as possible in order to fill your funnel, with ABM you identify those companies that you know would be a good fit to buy your product or service. Then, you target those companies with personalized campaigns, with the ultimate goal being to convert those “target accounts” into opportunities for the sales team.
One of the biggest benefits of ABM, apart from delivering a more personalized and relevant experience to prospects and customers, is that it helps bring marketing and sales teams closer together. Instead of fretting over lead generation goals, with ABM, both teams can align around the same objective: delivering the best experience possible to the target accounts they’ve jointly identified.
The tricky part, however, is making sure the experience stays consistent when marketing hands off a target account to the sales team. Ideally, that handoff should be so seamless that potential buyers don’t even notice when it happens. But in order for that to happen, there needs to be continuity. Your sales team needs to have as much information and as much context as possible in order to pick up right where the marketing team leaves off.
The rise of messaging and live chat has led to a fundamental shift in the way people prefer to communicate with businesses. For years, phone and email were the most dominant customer communication channels, but in today’s real-time, on-demand world, 90% of people now want to be able to use messaging to communicate with businesses—which really isn’t all that surprising when you consider that for billions of people, messaging is now their go-to option for chatting with friends, family, and coworkers.
Today’s buyers now expect to get their questions answered in real-time. And they want to be able to start the sales conversation when it’s convenient for them (not you). Unfortunately, a lot of companies are still relying on generic, static landing pages, lead capture forms, and follow-up emails to get those conversations started—even when those conversations are with people from their target accounts.
With conversational marketing, you replace static lead capture forms with one-on-one conversations. Instead of forcing people from your target accounts (a.k.a. your best leads) to wait for a response, you roll out the red carpet for them and use messaging to engage with them in real-time. And by connecting your email to messaging, guess what? You can keep track of all of the conversations you have with your target accounts and avoid any potential hiccups during the marketing/sales handoff.
The bottom line: With conversational marketing, you can ensure your buyers always have a seamless, consistent, personalized experience as they move through your funnel… which is why conversational marketing is the perfect complement to ABM.
With the traditional approach to B2B marketing, you blast your message out to as many people as possible and then hope that a few of the right people actually end up on your website and start a conversation. But here’s the thing: when it comes to potential customers, why would you want to leave so much up to chance?
Conversational ABM, on the other hand, is a proactive approach. After you’ve done the hard work of identifying your target accounts, you don’t sit back and wait for conversations to happen. Instead, you create targeted messaging (e.g. with account-based ads) in order to get in front of those accounts. And once stakeholders from those accounts arrive on your site, you are at-the-ready to recognize them and welcome them. It’s your job to answer their questions and exceed their expectations with content and information that is most likely to guide them down the funnel.
Using a conversational marketing platform, you can also opt to receive notifications when people from your target accounts are reading your emails or visiting your site. That way, you’re always ready to jump in and start conversations at the best time possible (i.e. when people are already engaging with your marketing and showing interest in your product). And because you can see exactly which email or webpage a person is engaging with, you can enter that conversation with a ton of context and tailor your message accordingly.
If what you’ve just read sounds good to you in theory, keep reading for a step-by-step breakdown you can put into practice.