Today’s marketers have a very specific goal: maximize revenue by delivering rich, meaningful experiences that turn prospects into customers and customers into lifelong advocates.
Shifting from lead-based marketing–only strategies to combined lead and account-based marketing (ABM) strategies has helped many marketers achieve this. It’s enabled them to collaborate with sales and incorporate an account strategy into all their existing marketing efforts.
Additionally, it’s enabled both teams to gather accurate account insights and find their ideal customers to create the right target account list. It’s also empowered them to identify new key contacts within their target accounts—a topic we covered at length in our last ABM blog post.
One other important thing it’s helped them do? Engage prospects and customers across channels and provide them with unforgettable experiences.
Below, we highlight how you can master cross-channel marketing by putting ABM at the heart of your strategy.
Understanding the basics of cross-channel engagement
There are a couple key tenets about cross-channel marketing to keep in mind. The first is simple: Particular channels don’t matter.
Sound backward? It’s not.
That’s because all channels matter. You need to reach your prospects and customers wherever they are, regardless of channel—using direct mail, email, social, and more.
To be clear, the focus of your ABM strategy and cross-channel engagement should actually be on your customer, not the channels they engage on. That’s because you can’t predict your customer’s journey. It’s impossible with all the options they have out there now.
The data and insights you have about your accounts is far more important than the specific engagement channel you use to contact them.
Once you have access to information about who your accounts and contacts are, how they’ve engaged in the past, and what they’re looking for now, you’re in a better position to send them timely, relevant messages that resonate, regardless of what channel they engage on next.
Which brings us to the second key tenet of cross-channel engagement: personalization.
Lead-level data includes your prospect’s job title, persona, company name, and industry. But you need to combine that information with account-level data and context to really elevate your personalization game. That means having a strong understanding of:
- Who your prospect is in relation to the buying group (decision maker, influencer, etc.)
- Where the account is in the buyer’s journey
- What type of content/messaging you should send the account
- How much the account as a whole is expressing intent on certain topics (intent data insights)
- What channels the account has engaged with in the past (phone, direct mail, email, etc.)
Enabling cross-channel engagement with ABM
With ABM, you should use the same marketing channels you use for your existing lead-based programs. Why? Because it allows you to interact with your leads in a more thoughtful way on the same channels—acting as an account filter between lead generation and prospect follow-up.
Rather than using a lead-based program to gather limited information and engage prospects through a typical email nurture campaign, you can take a more sophisticated and strategic approach.
With ABM, you can continue to develop compelling messaging based on your prospect’s personal characteristics—as well as the account they belong to—and provide them with superior experiences throughout the lifetime of their relationship.
A crucial step in scaling cross-channel engagement for your ABM efforts involves automating channel outreach. This requires deploying an innovative cross-channel marketing platform that contains both lead and account-based marketing automation capabilities that coexist with each other.
Automation makes it easy for you to continue the customer experience at scale, increase the velocity of your marketing and sales qualification processes, send better post-engagement autoresponder communications, and more.
Taking cross-channel engagement for ABM to the next level
Adding artificial intelligence (AI) to your ABM mix can do wonders for your cross-channel marketing efforts. It’s especially effective when it comes to personalizing your communications.
With AI capabilities built into your cross-channel marketing solution, you can continually adapt to ensure the messages you deliver always hit their mark for each specific persona and account.
Say you’re targeting a healthcare account. Obviously, you know to send your prospect a healthcare-related asset that’s specifically tailored to their role and point in the buyer’s journey. But AI allows you to go deeper than that.
On top of helping you determine what kind of content to send a prospect, AI can react to your campaign performance in real time and make changes to optimize engagement based on which content is creating the most conversions.
If a particular asset has been drawing conversions left and right from other healthcare CMOs, AI will promote that same asset to the CMO you’re currently targeting.
And while real-life marketers would normally have to wait until a campaign’s run for some time to analyze asset performance and then adjust, AI can evaluate results on the fly and institute changes immediately while the campaign is still running.
Getting marketing and paid media on the same page
There’s one last thing you need to do to hit cross-channel engagement out of the park: make sure your marketing automation and paid media teams work in harmony.
You should view paid media channels as an additional way to extend your brand’s reach. That means the cross-channel engagement messaging in your ads should be part of the same messaging family on the marketing channels that you own and operate.
Delivering superior and consistent prospect and customer experiences across channels depends on your ability to leverage rich, accurate data from your marketing automation solution. Oftentimes, that data exists in silos—marketing’s got access to some data, paid media’s got access to other data.
But by sharing data and working together as a unified team, you can improve your interactions and provide experiences that lead to increased conversions and better brand affinity.
Hungry for more tips? Read The Definitive Guide to ABM.