There are several instances when organizations can leverage synchronous interaction between Pipeline and ABM. Once the leads are analyzed for new customers and the potential target set is narrowed down using the Pipeline approach, the resulting targets can be fed to ABM, which can then nurture and grow them.
The reverse also creates exciting possibilities. AMB is capable of generating powerful, referenceable customers (a result of the careful nurturing). These customers can become advocates and generate fresh client references. These references can be further leveraged into Pipeline marketing to expand the population of new prospects and better conversion.
By leveraging the best of both worlds, the outcomes are easier to predict and can also be controlled more precisely for:
- Better ROI—as marketing gets to focus on the right content, channel & attribution; and sales gets to negotiate and build relationships•
- Waste minimization—by reducing the number of leads that no one is looking at.
- Synergy growth through collaboration — by leveraging scientific approach of pipeline marketing and relationship art of ABM•
- Exceptional end-customer experience—with personalized and contextual customer engagement resulting from marketing and sales synergy
Critical success factors
Fortunately, the approach does not require new learning. The elements of Pipeline marketing and ABM are well-known. But the success in combining the two requires an astute approach where realistic expectations are first set at an organizational level while, simultaneously, marketing and sales teams are brought into closer alignment. The short but important list of success factors would include:
- Sales and marketing alignment
- Setting realistic expectations
- Evolving approach for change and adoption
- KPI- and outcome-driven focus
- Measure and optimize, continuously
The strategy should be to set small targets, learn from them and evolve. The two teams must be able to collaborate with similar goals in mind.
For example, when a customer is browsing a website, the marketing function should be able to quickly send the right content to the customer and alert the sales team with details that make it easy for them to reach out to the customer in real time. In other words, customer focus must be turned into a tight, well-choreographed routine between the two teams.
The intersection between Pipeline and ABM will create new roles, requirements and processes. The organization must be prepared to take an evolving approach to change management, to extract maximum ROI from the mixed marketing strategy, combining it with a KPI focus that measures and optimizes investments, resources and campaign strategy.
Using data and technology to make it easier
However, it all starts with the marketing function that must use a data-driven approach with advanced technology and self-learning models to provide contextual customer experience. The Pipeline + ABM approach also benefits from the use of technology such as the SaaS-oriented Oracle Eloqua, Bluekai Maximizer, Infinity, etc., that enable lead generation, qualification, conversion and use intelligent data-driven processes for campaign management. These technologies are meant for B2B and B2C marketing across channels, networks and devices with coherent attribution. An additional layer of Artificial Intelligence (AI) can also deliver exponential results by refining personalization and creating contextual engagement (for example, by deploying conversational or augmented AI) based on models, machine learning, analytics and algorithms. To sum up, the top key enablerswould be:
- Data-driven approach
- Marketing technology
- AI (for added advantage)
The old-school ways of marketing using intuition, luck and “it-has-worked-before” logic are over. The new marketing tool kit is becoming sophisticated, data-driven, technology-intensive and measurable. The advanced methodologies, resulting from a combination of Pipeline and ABM techniques, are able to generate larger and high-quality customer pools, improve targeting, track campaign performance in real time, improve predictability, measure outcomes and realize better ROI.
Fundamentally, the combination of the two is able to deliver the results that tomorrow’s target-driven marketing teams demand. No business can ignore this as it could mean the difference between additional business and lost opportunities.