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5
minute read
August 17, 2020

Account-Based Engagement: What Is It and How Can You Use It?

Written by
David Scott

Account-based marketing is a tried and true marketing strategy.

It's an effective way to get your brand noticed by ideal customers as you engage with decision-makers across multiple touchpoints.

However, ABM isn't necessarily the end game. There's always room for more personalisation, and more optimization in your campaigns.

Enter Account-Based Engagement.

In this article, I'll walk you through what Account-Based Engagement (ABE) is, how it differs from ABM, and show you how to implement an ABE strategy in your organisation.

Let's get into it.

What is Account-Based Engagement?

Account-Based engagement is an evolution of ABM that encourages firms to double down on creating a cohesive and holistic customer experience.

You're targeting accounts, rather than a broad audience, and aiming to generate engagement at multiple touchpoints.

With ABE, the goal is to get an even close relationship with leads to personalise the experience even further.

ABM vs. ABE: What's the Difference?

In traditional ABM, the main goal is to generate new demand and close new business.

In ABE, those goals remain there, but the focus shifts to account engagement as the North Star metric.

As well as this, the focus shifts from the entire account to the individuals within the account. Your team will need to focus on engaging with multiple individuals within an account and keeping them engaged throughout the buying process and beyond.

In the next section, I'll show you how to approach ABE to ensure your strategy is going to deliver the results you hope it will.

How to Create an Account-Based Engagement Strategy

It's important to note that an Account-Based Engagement strategy isn't a complete re-invention of ABM.

Instead, it's an evolution.

You don't need to scrap your existing campaigns and start from scratch.

However, you'll need to adapt to new ways of looking at your campaigns and consider new tactics when making decisions.

Let's take a look.

1. In-Depth Account Identification and Segmentation

Like with ABM, you'll need to start your ABE by identifying target accounts.

Don't only look at typical account-selection criteria like demographics or firmographics.

Instead, you want to approach account selection from the viewpoint of: "who is going to be most engaged?"

This means that you need to combine your traditional prospecting methods with intent data to identify companies that are actively in-market.

Identifying opportunities early is key to identifying qualified accounts in ABM and ABE

Those are the accounts most likely to be engaged, and you'll be able to get ahead of the competition through that.

Also, consider how you select the people you engage with inside each account.

Rather than just choosing the usual heads of departments, consider who is most engaged on social media, at events, or acts as a personal face of the company.

Those people may be easier to engage with than someone less visible.

Once you have interacted with someone in the company, you can expand to contact other decision-makers organically.

2. Get On The Same Page as Your Sales Leads

If you want your Account-Based engagement strategy to work, you'll need to be on the same page as your leads.

This means your sales and marketing teams need to collaborate and share information that's going to provide insight into the account.

This needs to be a proactive process, not reactive.

As well as this, your communication with leads needs to be as personalized as possible.

That means you should stop relying on canned templates and messages, and focus your energy on having the conversation that your sales leads want to have.

In theory, communication shouldn't be a significant problem, as you will have selected target accounts that you know are an excellent fit for your business, and are actively engaged in their buying process.

3. Encourage Feedback Loops (Internally and Externally)

ABE success relies on rapid learning and great communication.

It's an iterative, ever-evolving process. Your internal teams need to work together closely to ensure that updates on account statuses are shared, and lead preferences are updated.

To learn from your leads, consider using tactics like surveys or quizzes in your ABE strategy.

For example, add a survey to your sales email to identify pain points, or implement a quiz as a lead generation tool on your blog posts to identify early pain points or problems your leads are having.

If decision-makers in your target accounts, leave comments on your LinkedIn post, relay those engagements to your team.

ABE is all about rapid learning to ensure you personalise every touchpoint with decision-makers as much as you can.

4. Use Technology to Provide Insights

In your ABE strategy, you'll need to incorporate technology to provide you with insights.

Services like Internal Results that provide intent-based marketing services through merging B2B data with intent data to identify highly-qualified leads are key.

You need to ensure you're tracking and identifying opportunities whenever they arrive.

Track email and phone engagements with all decision-makers you're talking to, and ensure those conversations can be unified at some point as you move towards them making a purchase decision.

With over 6,500 martech tools out there, there's no need to have gaps in your customer insights anymore.

5. Measure Full Funnel Engagement, Not Just Sales Numbers

It's easy to only focus on the end goal, which is your leads, converting into customers.

With Account-Based Engagement, you need to trust the process and measure engagement throughout the whole process to ensure it's working.

For example, if you're using content like gated webinars or whitepapers, measure how your leads engage with them.

Engagement metrics may not translate into sales initially, but they'll help your team prioritise target accounts by how well engaged they are with your brand throughout their buying process.

Working with Internal Results to Engage with More B2B Decision-Makers

If you want to engage with more B2B decision-makers, Internal Results can help.

We combine B2B data and intent data to syndicate your content to key decision-makers in your target accounts.

Engagement with your content can be measured to ensure you're interacting with the right accounts, and can consistently generate ROI in your ABM or ABE campaigns. You'll see data on metrics such as time spent reading content, time spent on a specific page/section, downloads, and more.

From there, you can optimise your campaigns and discover what your prospects are most likely to engage with before becoming a customer.

Our team is 100% in-house, and we'd love to chat about how we can help your brand grow. Get in touch with us here.

Wrapping Up

Account-Based Engagement is not a fundamental change from Account-Based Marketing

Instead, it's an approach that prioritises engagement and sustainable long-term growth over quick wins.

Your team will need to be wholly customer-focused and work on ensuring every touchpoint is personalised and highly relevant.

The steps in this article will help you get started on your ABE journey and engage your leads more effectively than ever.

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