ABM is simple, right? Marketers just have to understand their audience, coordinate a set of programs, initiate sales team follow up, measure it across the funnel and utilize technology to scale their efforts. Oh, yes, and ensure the content they’re providing target accounts engages them and encourages further brand interaction. However, that’s where the issue lies — content curation seems to be the weak link in the ABM success chain.
New research from content marketing platform Uberflip and Forrester Consulting, titled “Accelerate Your Buyer’s Journey By Dynamically Curating Relevant Content,” discovered that while 74% of marketers can identify the right accounts and 63% can attract them, only 11% feel confident they can engage their buyers.
That’s a steep drop.
“Everyone talks ABM all day long, so it surprised us that only 11% feel they can engage their buyers,” said Randy Frisch, CMO and Co-founder of Uberflip. “Forrester brought us this term of ‘content curators,’ which focused on bringing the ‘right content, right time’ mindset into ABM. We didn’t anticipate how important it is to tie the right content to an ABM approach.”
Engaging target accounts online is becoming more critical in the face of changing preferences, as 81% of buyers prefer digital interaction over face-to-face. To meet customers’ desires for self-service buying journeys, content curation comes to the forefront to centralize all relevant account assets.
Throughout this report, we’ll analyze the survey’s findings with first-hand insights from Frisch to discuss the best practices of curating ABM-related content. Specific topics of discussion include:
- The role content curation plays in scaling ABM programs;
- Strategies for increasing account engagement;
- The importance of housing all content in an easily accessible, organized resource center; and
- Tips and tricks for curating the content that will exist on dedicated landing pages.
Personalizing Content To Increase Account Engagement
Marketers and “struggling to scale ABM campaigns” go together like peanut butter and jelly — time and time again, ABM surveys reveal that this is an area of difficulty for marketers. Predictably, “Accelerate Your Buyer’s Journey By Dynamically Curating Relevant Content” was no exception, as respondents ranked “scaling ABM” as the top challenge out of the 14 challenges presented.
That’s not surprising, as 72% of companies surveyed believed their buyers have more choices for where to buy products/services and 68% say buyers are increasingly influenced by online content that doesn’t come from vendors. Given the increased commoditization in the B2B industry and the often-over-lapping product solutions, it makes sense that compelling content will emerge as the key differentiator.
Specifically, the survey found that 63% of buyers will disregard content if it’s irrelevant to their needs, industry or role, and to combat that, 40% of marketers plan to personalize content experiences to engage buyers who live in digital channels.
This demonstrates that relevant content is key to increase account engagement, and therefore the best way to scale campaigns is to have more control over the buyer’s journey. Greater control enables marketers to guide accounts through the sales process with relevant content that delivers them to the next stage of their journey. To that end, Frisch recommended organizations work to create dedicated landing pages for accounts that house various relevant assets.
“Providing each account with a dedicated page would allow the account to navigate around 10 pieces of relevant content rather than dig through 10,000 assets to find what they need,” Frisch explained. “Think of it through the lens of how much content lives on Netflix — if it was just listed alphabetically and not tailored to each user, we’d log in and never find what we need.”
To centralize content for accounts, it’s not about creating more — most marketers know they’re competing in an oversaturated field. Instead, Frisch explained that centralizing existing content will help marketers have greater control over the account if they know exactly what they’re interacting with.
“We can’t control where our accounts go if we curate content that’s living all over the place,” he explained. “For example, if we don’t own an asset — and by ‘own,’ I mean that it’s a hosted experience and we can dictate what comes up next — then we’re at the account’s mercy. They can easily click the asset and go off down a rabbit hole on another page.”
Organizing Content Into A Central Hub
Guess who has the honor of combing through thousands of assets to determine what’s relevant to an account? You guessed it — “marketers really need to take the time to understand the content that exists in their company to centralize and organize it,” Frisch explained.
Understandably, requiring each marketer or sales team member to dig through various assets is a huge time waste. However, if organizations are strategic about it, the content database overhaul can be a “one-and-done” type tasks if a structured classifying system is implemented.
“Organization is the most important aspect, but you also have to ensure that you tag the content in multiple ways — not just by keywords — so the people who are searching can find it easier,” said Frisch. “Just look at how much team turnover there has been with the ‘great resignation’ — you might have a team member who’s just three months in and already selling to customers, but they don’t know there’s an extremely relevant piece of content from six months ago.”
Frisch suggested companies tag their content assets by internal stakeholder priorities and the account’s:
- Salesforce opportunity stage;
- Industry; and
Don’t just take Frisch’s word for it:Just under half of respondents (49%) said that better content curation and giving buyers more ways to engage with assets can increase satisfaction among current accounts. Additionally, 45% believed it would increase account retention and 40% indicated it would help better qualify upsell and/or cross-sell opportunities.
When it comes to ABM, content experiences seek to improve prospects’ brand perception and buyer experience. Through content curation, organizations can centralize all their content assets to provide each team member with easy access. In fact, the 43% of respondents said that helping customer-facing teams curate content is a top business benefit because these new content experiences improve brand perception and recognition.
A “less is more” approach is highly applicable to ABM content curation, as it streamlines account outreach and helps provide sales and marketing teams with better targeting capabilities. In the era of demand for self-service buying journeys and desires for interactions post-deal, easily accessible content — with the help of content hubs — provide marketers with the tools they need for more success.
“The reality is more accounts are self-educating, and they need tips, case studies and best practices pre- and post-deal,” explained Frisch. “When we can serve that content to the buyer, we’ll increase customer satisfaction and retention. A lot of marketers are obsessed with putting human capital resources on content, but sometimes it’s just about helping our people put out the right content — and that’s going to scale a lot better.”
For further insights into the report and a deeper analysis of the research, join Frisch for “Analyst Insights: Marketers, You Have A Buyer Engagement Gap,” a webinar airing on Nov. 9.