The nature of business is changing. In today’s rapidly-evolving technology-driven landscape businesses are facing more competition than ever before. Buyers now expect marketing to be more targeted and personalized, and to engage them on their terms.
Savvy marketers have already started realizing that relying on marketing tactics such as content and SEO are becoming increasingly less effective. Marketing teams must narrow their focus and target specific accounts to cut through the noise.
So how can marketing teams differentiate themselves and maintain long-term success in an increasingly competitive and fast-paced environment?
The answer: Agile Account-Based Marketing.
Account-Based Marketing, or ABM, is a business-to-business (B2B) strategy designed to drive collaboration between corporate marketing and sales teams to target specific client accounts as a way to drive revenue and achieve business goals.
What is Agile Marketing?
The same processes and tools that revolutionized the software industry over the past decade are being applied to help marketing teams adapt and better engage with modern customers. Agile marketing is a tactical marketing approach in which marketing teams collectively identify and work on high-value projects and deliver them on time with the minimal amount of effort.
The reason why Agile and ABM work so well together, is because their values are closely aligned. According to Workfront’s Agile Marketing Manifesto, the values of Agile Marketing are as follows:
- Responding to change over following a plan.
- Rapid iterations over big bang campaigns.
- Testing and data over opinion and conventions.
- Numerous small experiments over a few big bets.
- Individuals and interactions over large markets.
- Collaboration over silos and hierarchy.
*Remember that while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.
How does agile support ABM?
AGILE EMBRACES CHANGE
ABM success comes from the combination of an organizational structure that emphasizes customer data, fosters sales and marketing alignment, and embraces constant change. Oftentimes, organizations aren’t able to respond and adapt to changes in business because the way the company is structured. Agile ditches the bureaucracies and hierarchies of traditional organizational structures and re-centers the business around the consumer, fundamentally transforming into the ideal environment for ABM.
AGILE IS CUSTOMER-CENTRIC
According to the Agile Manifesto, the “highest priority is to satisfy the customer.” Centering the business around the customer is the key to identifying and understanding how to market and sell to them. Through iterative reviews and data analysis, agile teams are able to identify new opportunities and quickly adapt and optimize their strategies to go after the most profitable accounts.
AGILE IS DATA-DRIVEN
Marketing to a wide audience then finding which ones are qualified to pass to sales is time-consuming and inefficient. ABM uses ideal customer profiles to target qualified leads from the beginning, so sales and marketing have more time to focus on the right leads. Successfully executing this aspect of ABM requires a data-driven approach to customer acquisition. That’s where agile marketing comes in.
With agile marketing, data is constantly being used to measure and improve campaign results every 2 – 4 week. With shorter planning and review cycles, oftentimes referred to as Sprints, marketers can quickly optimize strategies to deliver more relevant and highly-targeted ABM campaigns.
AGILE ALIGNS MARKETING AND SALES
Customer data is critical to the success of any ABM program, as well as making sure sales and marketing are aligned. In order for ABM to be successful, it’s essential that sales and marketing work together. Without alignment, it is much harder to properly target the right accounts.
Agile marketing prioritizes customer focused collaboration over silos and hierarchy. Ceremonies such as daily standup and sprint planning encourage communication and collaboration between teams help to remove any barriers between sales and marketing. Only when these two teams are fully aligned, will you be able to successfully deliver an end-to-end account-based experience – engaging with customers in the right way and at the right time throughout every stage of the funnel.
“In a world of rapidly changing customer and market demands accelerated by digital, agile helps teams keep pace.” – Marketing at the speed of agile
AGILE MARKETING IS EFFICIENT
The rise of SaaS technology and the cloud is forcing marketing teams to quickly adapt, change strategies, implement new technologies, and actively engage their customers to keep up. Marketers who are slow to identify and implement the latest trends and technologies are at risk of falling behind. Fortunately, agile marketing is built for speed and rapid growth. Unlike traditional 6-12 month marketing planning and execution cycles, agile teams make small, strategic plans rather than huge plans. With agile marketing, businesses can quickly adapt and stay in sync with evolving business opportunities and meet the demands of customers.
The biggest differentiator for successful business will be their ability, not to sell products and services, but to deliver engaging, dynamic customer experiences through data-driven ABM campaigns. To improve customer acquisition and retention, businesses need to focus on the customer experience and fostering relationships with those customers before, during, and after the sale. By becoming more customer-focused, iterative, and data-driven with an agile approach to marketing, today’s businesses can keep pace with the constantly changing needs of customers.
Agile helps marketing teams reach their goals, by enabling marketers to…
- Respond quickly to changes in the market.
- Produce rapid campaigns that can be tested and optimized over time.
- Try lots of things and repeat the ones that succeed.
- Use input from other departments to augment marketing efforts.
- Justify choices in campaigns and projects with hard data.
- Collaborate with team members to prevent a tunnel-vision approach to marketing.
It’s time to work smarter, not harder— and continuously test, learn and optimize your way to better marketing ROI with ABM and Agile Marketing!
To learn more, check out my blog: Agile Marketing for B2B