Transform Your Revenue Engine: How to Blend ABM and Demand Gen

For the longest time, B2B marketing and sales teams operated in silos. Marketers were tasked with content creation, and engaging programs while sellers made phone calls, booked meetings, and received all the kudos when a deal was won.

Fortunately, that’s not the way it works anymore. (Or, at least that’s not the way it should work if your GTM teams are implementing ABM.) It should be a no-brainer by now that marketing and sales teams need to combine their efforts, goals, and tactics to generate leads and close deals effectively and efficiently.

If you’re hyper-focused on either demand gen tactics or account-based marketing (ABM)—but not both—growing and scaling is going to be impossible. By combining both your demand gen and account-based programs into a hybrid method instead—one that’s fueled by actionable data, well-orchestrated plays, and powerful go-to-market strategies—you’ll be better equipped to use the right demand approach for the right growth goal. 

To help you get started, here are five tips for how to integrate your demand gen and account-based tactics.

  1. Run your hybrid program as a continuum

Matching your different revenue goals—whether that’s market expansion, diversification, or reduced churn—to the right demand approach requires thinking of your demand efforts in a continuum, not a silo. Your blended marketing program should support varying degrees of targeting, personalization, and investment strategies—some demand gen mixed with a bit of ABM—per account.

For this to work with your company’s unique needs, it’s important to:

  • Shift your mindset to think about goals in terms of revenue instead of leads. Understanding your Smart Total Addressable Market (Smart TAM)—which dictates where you have the best shot at remaining competitive— will help you decide where to prioritize your hybrid efforts and funding to win business. (TAM refers to a dollar amount rather than a number of customers.) But don’t pursue a huge TAM if you’re unable to manage it. Consider your budget, services, and bandwidth to find the best-fit TAM.

  • Think about where your organization is in its lifecycle. Since every business goes through phases (e.g., startup, growth, decline), knowing whether you’re building brand awareness or building market share will help you decide next steps in your strategic planning process.

  • Prioritize brand awareness. Instead of focusing so heavily on building brand preference and loyalty, don’t forget the golden egg in marketing: brand recognition. If buyers don’t know your brand exists, how will you ever come to mind when they’re looking for a new vendor?

  1. Play-call like a marketing boss

Using a blended demand gen/account-based approach will not happen overnight, especially for companies that have been solely using one strategy since their inception. But since the best B2B marketers know it takes different demand motions to achieve different growth goals and go-to-market strategies, it’s more than worth the effort.

Luckily, establishing a demand continuum provides flexibility as you change course and work through some growing pains. Day after day and win after win—powered by aligned tactical services and revenue operations—you’ll start to get the hang of implementing multiple, simultaneous strategies per growth goal.

That being said, there are some helpful guidelines you can follow as you decide when to implement demand gen plays versus account-based ones.

Use demand gen to:

  • Prioritize smaller accounts

  • Target “wider net” or key segment prospects within your Smart TAM

  • Focus on educating and engaging your target market about your value proposition

  • Uncover new or emerging market opportunities

Use account-based to:

  • Prioritize top-tier, high-value accounts that you’re most likely to win

  • Provide hyper-personalized experiences for buying teams and key accounts

  • Accelerate your pipeline growth

And use a combination of both demand gen and account-based to: 

  • Get granular about your revenue goals

  • Embrace an outside-in, audience-focused approach

  • Develop your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

  • Commit to real, integrated alignment with your sales team

  1. Leverage these eight key pillars

Each time you deploy an integrated campaign, use these eight pillars as a checklist to ensure optimal success—either amplifying or reducing them based on your demand approach, growth goal, target audience, and available resources.

1. Targeting—Engage the correct segments, geographies, accounts, and buyer personas to find best-fit accounts
2. Integration—Combine campaigns and programs across various channels and revenue stages
3. Alignment—Ensure all cross-functional leaders, teams, and processes share the same terminology, workflow handoffs, and revenue goals
4. Data—Make all crucial decisions using data
5. Personalization—Provide value to your target audience by delivering relevant, customized content throughout the entire buyer journey
6. Multi-channel—Engage personas and accounts across their preferred channels and devices
7. Measurement—Set up the correct measurement, reporting, and performance metrics to enable post-launch optimization
8. Creative—Stand out from the competition with strong, bold creativity to drive higher engagement and sales

  1. Supercharge your hybrid approach

Craft your hybrid marketing strategy to be aerodynamic—one that’s powered by the following supercharged elements to get you to true revenue growth fast.

  • Content. Instead of viewing content as a separate, distinct process that exists outside your strategy development, create each piece of content with your ICP top of mind.

  • Channels. For marketing to be effective, you need a strategic, multi-channel approach that’ll help you identify, engage with, and measure your best-fit accounts throughout the entire buyer journey.

  • Revenue Operations. Without measuring the effectiveness of your hybrid approach—analyzing metrics like intent data and lead scoring—you’ll never know which tactics to continue or cut.

  1. Prioritize the role of media

To best serve your hybrid approach, the role of media needs to simultaneously boost your reach and engagement numbers and influence revenue over time.

But how? By designing and executing a media plan that enables both your demand gen and account-based programs to work cohesively for complementary reach, messaging, and calls to action. One that includes and supports both your 1:Many demand gen tactics (like organic reach) and targeted account-based efforts (like nurture campaigns and customer feedback loops) without putting you in the poorhouse.

For quality growth, you need an exceptional marketing strategy. Because while you can stick to one marketing program (either demand gen or ABM) on the road to revenue, you risk missing out on valuable opportunities, resulting in lost time, money, and resources. But if you combine the two tactics—using these five steps as a starting point—you’ll have all the tools and visibility you need to eclipse your highest revenue goals.

We partnered with Intelligent Demand to provide more tips on how to increase your success with a hybrid approach. Download the guide for exclusive access to a checklist that will put it all into practice.

About the Author

Alysha Parker, Content Marketing Manager

Alysha is a Content Marketer at RollWorks

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