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The ABCs of Engaging ABM Experiences

November 19th, 2019 Jane Menyo

Admittedly, this isn’t our first go at ABM. We actually tried it four years ago and it didn’t catch on because the technology wasn’t there and the plays we ran weren’t targeted enough to gain any real traction. But now we’re back with a (polite) vengeance and achieving everything we hoped the first time because a lot of important things have fallen into place. We’ve got some serious top-down executive support. We’ve got a full-funnel strategy. And we’ve got the tools to expand within a diversity of accounts that wouldn’t have been possible before.

This article was originally published on abmleadershipalliance.com. Shared with author’s permission.

In this article, I’ll explain why our ABM program is working and some tips for making the most of it—particularly with webinars.

What’s different now

The ON24 ABM program is the brainchild of our CMO Joe Hyland. He saw a way to appeal more deeply to our broad-ranging customer base in every vertical from manufacturing to life sciences. Our CEO is also a big proponent because ABM helps us gather feedback and design products that appeal more specifically to customers in each of those verticals, like compliance-heavy financial services. And our Director of Demand Generation has led the charge on expanding within the existing customer base, which has completely changed how we partner with sales—in a very positive way.

Everyone is united around the same set of questions: How do we get into new units of demand and speak their language? How do we get our foot in the door with a customer and provide such a great experience they not only stay but grow? Asking these questions has both helped us drive more demand and made our customer journey more cohesive. It forces us to widen our scope and treat each vertical differently, rather than applying the common denominator of outreach to everyone.

It should come as no surprise that our ABM approach uses webinars and digital content experiences. If you provide high-value content to target accounts, you produce actionable data. And the best part about webinars and their landing pages (what we call target pages) is that they have a long shelf life, enabling you to repurpose and scale. But even more important than having engaging channels that you excel at is having a strategy that surrounds it. You have to personalize your campaign before, during, and after—especially when they include webinars.

Personalizing before

First impressions are critical. And oftentimes, the effectiveness of early engagement comes down to the relevance of the content. So when we strategize on creating digital engagements with ABM accounts, we take the time to stop and really think of each customer individually. What do we already know about them? If they come from our core vertical ICP’s, can we specialize the topics to their industry needs? What topics have customers like them responded to in the past? How can we surround core campaign experiences (like workshops, webinars, and events) with other meaningful content?

High-touch personalization might sound daunting at first but it isn’t if you stay organized. Map out the new campaigns and their associated content, and you’ll start to see very interesting trends arise in what’s needed, and this will help you repurpose elements to scale things.

Personalizing webinars

What about personalizing a webinar? The most impactful webinars I see are held for the pure intention of helping the audience do their job better. It’s an “I want to serve” mindset, not “I want leads,” that draws a crowd.

The thing about webinars is that people don’t attend them by accident. Nobody sits through a 30 or 90-minute program just for fun. They do it because they think you’re going to help them do their job, get promoted, or seriously shorten their evaluation. The challenge is delivering on your promise to provide value while ensuring the session is engaging and leaves a strong brand presence.

You also have to engage them during the webinar in lots of ways beyond sharing slides. Incorporate case studies, data sheets, or other content into your online events. You’ll help the attendee, but also collect additional data insights on their interests. It’s the same for interactive elements like polls or surveys. Polls are fun for your audience—people are often intensely curious what others think—and they produce immensely valuable data. If you survey viewers about where they are in their evaluation, they’ll tell you right then—no more guessing. Plus, you can feed that information right along to sales.

One of our most successful land-and-expand webinar strategies is personalizing a webinar to just one existing customer. We’ll invite a customer advocate within that account to co-host the session with us and explain to their colleagues how they use ON24. It’s relevant, credible, and as personal as it gets. Plus, it’s a cool way for our advocates to show off their work.

Making your content experiences continuous

With ABM, quality content and scale mean everything to your success. Make sure those nuggets of successful content get the visibility they deserve. For example, 66% of people tend to view webinars on-demand. If you aren’t hosting your webinars for all to see or driving additional promotions, you’re missing over half of your engagement opportunities. Plus, depending on your platform, you can repeat the live event, maintaining interactive elements like pop-ups and polls and achieve the same effect.

As you build a library of quality content, gate it, combine it with other content, and distribute in an externally available digital experience. Zendesk, for instance, pairs its Gartner Magic Quadrant reports with existing webinars to target specific key accounts, and Infor packages product videos, webinars, and customer stories together for target industries. There are endless uses for high-value, interactive, personalized content.

My actionable takeaway: Challenge yourself to deliver so much value with your marketing that buyers want to sign up and watch an entire webinar on it.