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The ABM tech stack: How to start small and scale.

Read Time: 7 Mins

The ABM tech stack: How to start small and scale. 

As B2B businesses seek ways to stand out in a crowded marketplace and maximize marketing efficiency in an unpredictable economy, ABM has emerged as a leading strategy for customer acquisition. This focus on marketing impact and efficiency has placed the ABM tech stack at center stage for targeting high-value accounts, personalizing outreach, and fostering deeper relationships with key decision-makers.

Salesforce reports that 89% of B2B marketers have an ABM strategy in place today. But when it comes to ABM technology, many of them face challenges in selecting the right tools and effectively leveraging their full capabilities for comprehensive account engagement, data analysis, and actionable insights.

The truth is, it’s less about the tech you have and more about how you use it. In other words, the effectiveness of ABM isn’t solely determined by the sophistication of the technology you employ, but rather by how well you integrate, implement, and utilize your tech stack to optimize your overall marketing and sales processes.

Sure, it’s fun to nerd out on all the marketing software and platforms out there, but read on before you hit that buy button because your current tech stack may already have what you need to drive a successful ABM program—figure that out first, then you can think about buying fancy tech tools to scale up. 

Taking inventory of your ABM tech stack capabilities. 

There’s a common misconception that achieving a well-rounded tech stack demands a complete overhaul—replacing outdated systems with shiny new ones. However, this notion oversimplifies the process—and makes it more expensive. The key lies in conducting a strategic assessment of your tech stack to uncover gaps, streamline redundancies, and explore the potential of your current systems. 

Optimizing existing technology.

Obviously, retaining existing technology not only conserves financial resources but also minimizes disruptions and the requirement for extensive retraining. Surprisingly, however, many businesses possess tools within their current tech stack that boast the essential features for orchestrating successful ABM, yet they remain oblivious to their potential. If you’re not sure about what your current tech stack can do, start by engaging the account manager for your platforms. Ask about the features and functionality that may align with your ABM objectives. By sharing your goals and challenges, you open the door for them to propose tailored solutions or workarounds that could propel you toward your ABM goals more efficiently. 

Approaching new technology.

When considering new technology, think about it as a supplementary enhancement rather than a replacement. This approach preserves the stability of your operations while you explore new use cases and seek out vendors that cater to your evolving needs. Also, keep in mind that any new additions must seamlessly integrate with your existing stack. Relying on manual processes introduces the risk of data discrepancies, misinterpretations, and overlooked account information. Ultimately, this hampers scalability and undermines your organization’s capacity for growth in the long term.

Must-have components of the ABM tech stack. 

While the exact makeup of an ABM tech stack can vary depending on your unique requirements and preferences, there are several key components that form the foundation necessary to execute a successful ABM program. 

Intent platform.

An intent platform helps pinpoint accounts from your target list that are actively seeking solutions like yours, allowing you to strategically engage them with relevant content. Well-known intent platforms such as Demandbase, 6Sense, and Intentsify offer capabilities to track online activities and detect signals indicating buying intent within your desired industries and topics. When selecting a platform, it’s essential to prioritize comprehensive coverage across these two areas to maximize your chances of capturing signals from potential customers. 

Discover 7 use cases for intent data across the customer lifecycle.

CRM system.

Your CRM serves as a vital tool for organizing customer data, fostering collaboration between marketing and sales teams, and tracking interactions with target accounts; it acts as the central hub for informed engagement strategies. Keep in mind, however, that focusing on contacts and accounts instead of leads is a much more efficient way of managing your sales and marketing efforts. Leads lack the depth and accuracy of information crucial for effective segmentation, personalization, and reporting. 

Marketing automation platform (MA).

MA platforms play a crucial role in streamlining marketing operations, automating workflows, and facilitating the creation of personalized content tailored to specific accounts, thereby enhancing the efficiency of your ABM campaigns. But integrating your MA platform with your intent and CRM platforms is essential for successful ABM. This integration ensures that your marketing efforts are aligned with buyer intent signals, allowing for more targeted and relevant engagement with high-value accounts. Additionally, connecting your MA and CRM platforms enables seamless data exchange, providing a unified view of customer interactions and enabling better tracking of account engagement and ROI. 

Account-based advertising tools.

Specialized tools for account-based advertising play a vital role in delivering tailored messages to specific accounts. Key vendors in this space, like Demandbase and 6sense, offer precise targeting capabilities essential for reaching target accounts with personalized content across multiple channels. When selecting an account-based advertising vendor, prioritize tools that seamlessly integrate with your broader ABM tech stack, including CRM and MA platforms. Inquire about their account identification methods to ensure accurate targeting, and how they might align with your ABM objectives.

Personalization tools.

Personalization tools like Intellimize empower you to tailor messaging, content, and experiences on your website to individual visitors, including those from target accounts. By leveraging data like engagement history, as well as off- and on-property intent signals, these tools enable you to deliver highly relevant and customized interactions, enhancing the overall user experience and increasing the likelihood of conversion. By optimizing landing page experiences from paid media, you can capture the attention of potential customers more effectively. Additionally, leveraging 1st party and 3rd party data to optimize organic user experiences can generate more inbound leads. For repeat visitors, personalized engagement fosters deeper connections and encourages continued interaction with your company. Moreover, creating ABM landing pages for key accounts provides your sales team with personalized follow-up opportunities to drive further engagement and conversion.

ABM tech stack components to help you scale up. 

While the components above form a strong foundation, other tools become important as you start to scale up. Data management, predictive analytics, and sales enablement platforms play critical roles in helping you scale your ABM programs by providing you with advanced capabilities to enhance targeting, optimize decision-making, and empower your sales teams to drive meaningful interactions with target accounts.

Data management platforms (DMPs).

DMPs aggregate, analyze, and segment vast amounts of data from various sources, allowing you to gain deep insights into your target audience’s behaviors, preferences, and interactions. By leveraging a DMP from popular vendors like Salesforce and Oracle, you can enhance your understanding of target accounts for more precise targeting and personalized messaging. Additionally, DMPs facilitate audience segmentation, which can help you tailor your marketing efforts to specific segments within your target accounts for increased relevance and engagement.

Predictive analytics platforms.  

Predictive analytics platforms use advanced algorithms and machine learning techniques to analyze historical data and identify patterns, trends, and potential future outcomes. Google and Microsoft offer a range of solutions for predictive modeling, machine learning, and advanced analytics. These platforms can enable your business to forecast the likelihood of certain actions or behaviors of your target accounts, such as purchasing decisions or engagement with specific content. By leveraging predictive analytics, you can prioritize resources more effectively to focus your efforts on accounts with the highest propensity to convert. 

Sales enablement platforms.

Sales enablement platforms such as Salesforce and Hubspot provide tools for content management, sales training, and analytics to help sales teams effectively engage with target accounts and drive conversions. Through this centralized system, both sales and marketing teams can access and utilize the latest messaging, ensuring consistency across all touchpoints. This access to up-to-date content eliminates the risk of outdated or conflicting information being shared with prospects. Additionally, these platforms feature collaboration tools that enable sales and marketing teams to work together seamlessly on content creation, refinement, and distribution, maximizing the likelihood that your messaging will resonate with your target audiences.

Integrating your ABM tech stack to connect all the dots. 

Whether you’re maximizing existing technology or considering new investments, all your technology solutions must be integrated to allow for the seamless flow of information across platforms. For instance, leads need to flow in from your content syndication and other lead gen efforts, be scored appropriately, and then sent to sales with enough context for them to pick up the conversation where the buyer is at. Marketing requires this data to flow into their MA system so they can avoid showing leads content and ads they’ve already seen, and instead serve up the next relevant asset. This integration ensures that your marketing and sales teams are on the same page and that your efforts are coordinated and optimized for maximum effectiveness.

Other key benefits of integration include: 

Data organization. Uniform structuring and formatting of data are key to ensuring consistency and accuracy across reports and empowering your teams with access to the same comprehensive information, regardless of their reporting source. This approach fosters collaboration, enhances decision-making, and maximizes the efficiency of your operations.

Unified view. Integration eliminates data silos, streamlines processes, and enables a more holistic view of your target accounts. This interconnectedness allows for more accurate and timely insights, allowing your teams to execute personalized strategies with greater efficiency. 

Scalability. As your organization grows and evolves, integrated systems can adapt to accommodate changing needs and new technologies seamlessly. This flexibility is essential for maintaining momentum and driving continuous improvement in your ABM initiatives over time.

In essence, integration is not just about connecting different tools—it’s about creating a cohesive ecosystem that maximizes the value of each component and empowers your organization to achieve its ABM goals more effectively.

The Iron Horse insight.

Whether you’re launching an ABM pilot or scaling your current ABM program, remember that starting small doesn’t mean thinking small. Focus on laying a solid foundation with essential components, optimizing your existing resources, and integrating your current stack to set yourself up for sustainable growth. Start by identifying your immediate needs and objectives, then begin to iterate and evolve as you scale, gradually expanding your tech stack and capabilities as you gain momentum and insights. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a successful ABM program.

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