Demandbase’s acquired Engagio, so we turned to TPG’s Senior Marketing Executive, Lorena Harris, for her thoughts on what it means for the Account-Based Marketing landscape and B2B marketers.
ABM’s Silver Bullet Software
Account-Based Marketing vendors tell you their software is the silver bullet for success. But unless your organization has a mature program, it may be smarter to start with the tools you already have. Then, as your program pushes those software limits, go full-funnel. The acquisition of Engagio by Demandbase might give you something to aspire to!
Try this experiment at home (since that’s likely where you are these days).
- Type “Account-based marketing” into Google’s search field.
- Count all the ads. How many are from ABM software vendors?
- How many Complete, Ultimate and Definitive guides are offered? Also produced by the tech vendors?
- How many blogs? Were they written by SMEs working for the tech vendors?
- Look at the second and third search pages (novel idea, right?). More ads?
All this might give you the idea that ABM is all about the software. Even the industry associations, ISTMA and TOPO, are featuring proprietary pay-to-play research, much of which describes how technology can improve your ABM program.
If your organization has a mature ABM program, a silver bullet may indeed have arrived with this acquisition. The combination of these top full-funnel ABM providers should create “software to strive for”. Since DemandBase’s strength has always been data management and enrichment, and Engagio’s has always been measurement and analytics – providing a combination will be hard to beat.
Each platform captures and attributes data differently, presenting combinations with great potential:
Demandbase claims to use a proprietary IP data algorithm PLUS cookie targeting, allowing intent-driven insights driven by AI with machine learning.
Engagio claims to be best at lead matching, analytics and attribution using both IPs and cookies.
The blend of the two platforms potentially equates to an unbeatable account tracking capability!
There are literally hundreds of SaaS solutions that can help your company improve its account data, identify unknown prospects, predict intent to buy, automate targeted advertising, visualize attribution reports and even personalize content delivery. Depending on which site you reference, there are >200 vendors who would love to tell you about their ABM solutions. Few of these are “full funnel” providers (one-stop shops), though they may claim to be.
So the question becomes: How does a company choose an ABM platform?
Or maybe the question is: When do you need to pick?
The answer is, of course, that It depends. Consider starting with the tools you’ve got, pick some spot solutions as your program matures, and go full-funnel when your MarTech can’t keep up.
You should start low-tech if you have not yet met ABM readiness requirements:
Even if your company nails these requirements, you may be able to ramp up an ABM program using just your core MarTech stack. The major Marketing Automation Platforms, combined with Salesforce, provide 80% or more of the functionality you’ll need.
You should pick additional software if the other 20% is conspicuously absent. For example:
- Your customer data is so fragmented or incomplete that you can’t identify a robust Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) or accounts like it.
- Automated advertising and content syndication have proved to be a strong source of prospects from your target companies.
- Many of your potential targets are unknown or coming through social media channels – and you need to identify them and understand their intent.
You may be ready for a full-funnel ABM solution if…
…your existing MarTech is stretched to the limit in these key areas:
- Account and Contact Selection
- Account Insights / Intent Tracking
- Content Management / Personalization
- Programmatic Advertising
- Sales/Marketing Engagement Orchestration
- Performance / Attribution Assessment
Be deliberate in selecting a full-funnel solution. With the combination of Demandbase and Engagio, it may make sense to start due diligence there.
But there are other choices, each of which will claim to have the exact functionality your company needs. That’s up to you to determine – and make sure your purchase criteria are specific!
Also, be sure to involve stakeholders from Marketing, Sales Development, and Field Sales so that everyone will buy into the decision. Otherwise, you’ll have an expensive subscription without broad adoption.
As we discussed at the beginning of this blog, ABM is not just about software. In fact, there are several steps your company should take before deciding to purchase technology. Don’t miss TPG’s last blog on 3 Powerful (Yet Simple) Secrets Enterprises Can Unlock for Their Account-Based Marketing Strategy.
Consider a phased approach
If you didn’t check all the prerequisites – or want to start without investment – consider a phased approach to ABM:
A good phase one is to build your ICPs, BCPs, and CXPs (read our blog for help with marketing acronyms). In other words, identify your ideal customer profile and accounts like it, understand the buying center personas within those ICPs, and create orchestrated journeys for each.
This will maximize the customer experience for key clients while you work on more advanced ABM tactics and techniques.
To optimize your approach and returns, consider working with a strategic consulting team like The Pedowitz Group to design and implement a phased roadmap.
Like most things in life, ABM isn’t an “all or nothing” proposition. Your path to increased key-account revenue will be different than the next enterprise. Just remember: there is no ABM software silver bullet (yet). Success comes from a strategic roadmap and disciplined rollout.