By working with one or more of the many ABM tool vendors, marketers can better navigate the rapidly evolving B2B landscape.
Account-based marketing is having its moment as B2B marketers are jumping on the idea of orchestrating outreach to their most valued accounts. ABM enables marketers to focus their efforts on accounts with the greatest ROI potential through insightful and personalized marketing programs.
But how do you make sure you are choosing the right platform for your organization?
For starters, once you have determined that ABM software makes sense for your business, spend time researching individual vendors and their capabilities by doing the following:
- Make a list of all the ABM capabilities you currently have, those that you would like to have and those that you can’t live without. This last category is critical, and will help you avoid making a costly mistake. For example, if enriching your ICPs with deeper technographic data is important, be sure to ask about it during vendor interviews and demos. If you find that one vendor doesn’t offer this “must-have” capability, it’s obviously not a fit.
- Take your list of capabilities and then do some research. Speak to your marketing peers to find out who is using which ABM tool and why.
- Narrow your list down to those vendors that meet your criteria. Submit your list of the ABM capabilities you’ve identified, and set a timeframe for them to reply.
- Decide whether or not you need to engage in a formal RFI/RFP process. This is an individual preference, however be sure to give the same list of capabilities to each vendor to facilitate comparison.
Once you have moved beyond those steps, begin reaching out for demonstrations. You want to set up demos within a relatively short timeframe of each other to help make relevant comparisons. Make sure that all potential internal users are on the demo call and pay attention to how easy the platform is to use, whether the vendor seems to understand our business and marketing needs, and whether they are showing your “must-have” features?
To further help you out, here is a list of 24 questions you can ask.
- How easy is the tool to use?
- Does the vendor seem to understand our business and our marketing needs?
- Are they showing us our “must-have” features?
Account targeting and interaction management/orchestration:
- Does the tool help identify target accounts?
- What type of machine learning and/or artificial intelligence does the tool use?
- Can we segment and view accounts by multiple criteria?
- Can the tool match existing and new leads to their correct accounts?
- Can the tool identify anonymous leads and match them to their correct accounts?
- Does the tool show where visitors came from (channel or campaign)?
- Does the tool track website visitor actions (i.e., clicks and content views)?
- Can the tool track visitor actions across all visits?
- Can we manage cross-channel campaigns (in all of our relevant channels) through the tool?
- Does the tool help us comply with relevant privacy regulations?
Reporting and integration:
- Does the tool provide real-time analytics?
- Does the tool provide summary and/or detailed views of account data and insights?
- Does the tool measure account engagement? How?
- Are native integrations with our CRM and/or marketing automation platform available, so we can utilize historical data?
- If not, is an API available for custom system integrations?
Training and customer support:
- How much training will we need to use the software, and what kind of training is available?
- What level of customer support is offered, and when is it available (i.e., 24/7 vs. 8/5)?
- What is the turnaround time for support queries/tickets?
- Are professional services or support available for our transition to ABM?
- What new features are under consideration?
- What’s the long-term product roadmap and launch dates?
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