Welcome to Experience TV, a LIVE show on social channels about the economic revolution we’re living through, the Experience Economy, where brands compete on the quality of their customer experiences.
Episode 8 explored the #1 B2B marketing priority in 2021: account-based marketing (ABM), featuring a chat with Latané Conant, Chief Market Officer of 6sense.
Watch below, and read on for a full recap.
Nominate excellence in CX!
Submissions for the 15th annual Markie Awards are now open!
The Markie Awards program recognizes excellence in marketing, sales, service, and commerce. Nominations are due March 26 – don’t miss your chance to be recognized for your great customer experience efforts during 2020.
New research on corporate gifting
Gifting is a standard part of the arsenal of tools B2B firms have to engage decision makers at target accounts.
The team at Alyce analyzed the nearly 200,000 corporate gifts sent in the first three quarters of 2020 and published their findings in the 2020 State of Gifting Report. It found:
- Not all gifts are created equal. The most popular gift sent was an Amazon gift card, but what drove the most action (such as taking a meeting with a salesperson) were speakers, Amazon Echo Dots, and Fire tablets.“Personal gifting isn’t about driving attention; it’s about creating relationships that drive action.” – Alyce, 2020 State of Gifting Report
- Charitable giving is on the rise. Allowing a prospect or customer to choose a donation to a cause meaningful to them spiked last year by as much as 380%, especially at the start of the pandemic. The average donation size ranged between $50 and $100.
Thank you, Alyce, for making it easy to direct corporate gifts to causes in need and for keeping your finger on the pulse of B2B gifting.
ABM takes the top spot for B2B marketing in 2021
In an annual survey of marketers at B2B technology and business services companies, the ITSMA and ABM Leadership Alliance reveal in a new report that ABM is the #1 priority for B2B marketers in 2021.
ABM ranked in the top five through the past eight years, but it has moved into the top spot as more firms prioritized it in 2020 along with lead and demand generation, busting silos through integrated marketing, and strengthening the brand.
Still, according to the report, 2020 disrupted ABM plans in notable ways:
- Even as average spending fell slightly, overall ABM budgets have held steady or grown amid the pandemic.
- Most firms modified their ABM business objectives during 2020 to focus more on growing existing accounts or supporting specific big opportunities and deals.
- With target executives working from home, tactics shifted to include small virtual meetings and events, direct mail and gifting, tailored content development, and paid social media.
Why has ABM become the top priority for B2B firms during this time? Senior Advisor at the ITSMA, Bev Burgess, explains in a recent LinkedIn article:
- ABM keeps firms close to existing customers during the pandemic, presenting an opportunity to foster relationships and build loyalty when businesses emerge from the impacts of COVID19.
- Businesses reallocated event budgets to ABM programs to build close personal relationships with key client contacts. Bev shared, “ABM can deliver results you might expect from a conference or a party but with a lot less reliance on canapés.”
- ABM works. The 2020 survey found that the highest return on investment for brands studied came from ABM. As Bev says in her post about the report,”When the going gets tough, smart marketers turn to the techniques that work best.”
Celebrating the Business Development Representative (BDR)
ABM requires tight partnership and integration with sales, especially in this age of the Experience Economy, where the priority is to get the account what they need at every point in their journey.
With our industry’s move to unified revenue teams, the BDR’s role has never been more important.
But, it’s not an easy job! Watch this video from Sara Baptist, Sales Development Rep (SDR) at Formstack, about what SDRs put up with.
Great BDRs are essential to a great B2B prospect and account experience. Have you told a BDR in your life how much they’re appreciated today?
Lessons from Latané Conant, Chief Market Officer of 6sense
Latané is the author of the bestselling book, No Forms. No Spam. No Cold Calls. You can access a free copy here, courtesy of 6sense (limited to the first 50).
- It’s time to appreciate the BDR. 6sense began an annual tradition of #BDRAppreciationWeek on social channels, encouraging leaders to recognize the BDRs on their teams publicly.
- Executive cameos show appreciation. Latané shared a practice on her team where executives record personal videos for BDRs offering praise and appreciation.”It’s powerful to say I see you, I see the work you’re doing, and I appreciate you,” said Latané.
- Removing forms was a powerful experiment. As part of an internal experiment, Latané dubbed “Project Bold Moves,” where her team eliminated forms for educational and product-related content. Everything published was made available ungated except for event registrations, online assessment tools, and demo requests.
- If you know nothing, do nothing. Another aspect of this experiment was the concept of “no spam.” Latané said the team reassessed their email use, pledging to align email marketing with the account’s buying stage.”I think relevance always wins over parlor tricks,” said Latané.The team creates value cards for their BDRs based on what keywords an account is researching and buyer personas, so there are talking points for adding value to that specific stage and role.
- What makes B2B unique. Latané reminded us that ABM is about engaging an entire account, the way sales executives have historically approached deals.”If your deal is single-threaded, your sales manager is going to laugh you out of the forecast,” said Latané, comparing lead-based marketing to what ABM calls for. She continued, “We set sales up for failure by just focusing on one leader contact versus the entire buying team, multiple leads, or multiple contacts.“
- Rise of the Chief Market Officer. Latané’s title is CMO, Chief Market Officer. She advocates that marketing leaders adopt this mindset of becoming “the voice at the table that represents the market.”This means identifying the best commercial opportunities for the business: the in-market ideal customer profile (ICP).Latané said, “It’s critical not to have your value focus on all of the doings, the leads you created, the blogs you created, and the ads you served. Instead, have your role and your function be the voice of the market, making sure that all resources are focused on the right places.”