Synchronize and execute your account-based strategy with automation

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By Sarah Nelson

Marketing operations and demand generation professionals: Learn how to integrate your favorite account-based marketing tools (like Demandbase and Engagio) with the rest of your tech stack to automate and synchronize targeted campaigns and outreach.

Account-based strategies combine strategic account identification with highly personalized experiences to deliver resources and support to accounts that closely align with your target addressable market (TAM).

Account-based programs are highly cross-functional and work well with best-of-breed SaaS tools that identify, enrich, target, and coordinate outreach to strategic accounts. The challenge is designing and executing a process that seamlessly aligns resources, effectively engages with a variety of personas at each account in a personal manner, and scales as your efforts expand to target more accounts.

Enter account-based automation. Marketers now use a General Automation Platform (GAP) to easily integrate and automate multiple SaaS apps using a drag-and-drop, low-code interface. With the power and simplicity of a GAP, we can build the framework for an automated account-based process that utilizes SaaS tools to create a cohesive and compelling experience for strategic accounts that are actively seeking solutions in your category.

Walkthrough: Automating your account-based strategy

For this walkthrough, we’ve separated our workflow into three stages:

  1. Syncing account lists with marketing automation systems - First, we designate the triggering event in our workflow (on Demandbase list add). Then, we sync the list with our marketing automation platform (we use Marketo) and, one-by-one, check for intent data for each account using our universal connector, also known as our HTTP client connector. Specifically, Demandbase uses a designation it refers to as “Real-Time Intent” to determine whether an account appears to be in market, based on searches made by someone at one of the known IP addresses across your target account list. (GAPs are flexible enough to let you use other lead scoring methods as well.)
  2. Prioritizing high-intent accounts - Next, we use the intent data gathered from our universal connector to check for new accounts that are surging for specified topics. We’ll create new accounts in both Marketo and Salesforce in order to nurture the appropriate contacts on those accounts via ads, for opted-in contacts, and ADR, or Account Development Rep, follow-up for non-opted in contacts.
  3. Routing accounts for outreach - Finally, we leverage a combination of intent data, marketing engagement data, and product engagement data to identify and update the account score. If the account scores as a “high intent” account and it’s not already assigned to our ADR, we add them to a sequence in our sales engagement tool (we use Outreach), and send them an intro gift using a direct mail service (we use Sendoso). Here, we can segment our account-based outreach to deliver personalized content to key personas.

Stage 1: Syncing account lists with marketing automation systems

While marketing automation tools are great for managing leads after they’ve interacted with one of your offers, account-based marketing (ABM) platforms can identify and target accounts much sooner by tracking visits to your site using their IP address.

Early account identification is valuable when you consider that many buyers complete 60% of the buying process before directly engaging vendors: that’s a significant period where potential customers are likely evaluating your competition.

Once we’ve identified a list of accounts that match our target criteria (such as the number of employees, industry, location, and other details) in our ABM platform, we need to add these accounts to our marketing automation tool, and, depending upon the intent level of the account, route it for additional follow up. To kick that off, we designed the following logic:

DemandBase Workflow 1 Marketing automation syncs on new list creation in Demandbase

Demandbase list creation - Our workflow starts by listening for a triggering event. In this case, we opted to listen for the creation of a new list of target accounts in Demandbase, although you can use the universal connectivity of the Tray Platform to customize your workflow to trigger on many other actions.

Add to target account list - Once we’ve received a fresh list of target accounts, we want to add those accounts to our marketing automation platform to begin taking action on them by queuing up relevant accounts for campaigns.

Loop accounts - Next, we use a loop helper to isolate each account and, one-by-one, check for intent data using various sources (like G2 Crowd). This empowers us to prioritize high-intent accounts that are actively evaluating solutions in our space on impartial, third-party review sites.

Note: For more tips on leveraging buyer intent data, check out our post on how to identify and engage high-intent leads.

Stage 2: Prioritizing high-intent accounts

Now that we’ve pulled our target list and identified high-intent accounts, we now need to route them to initiate related actions throughout our tech stack. To do this, we designed the following logic:

DemandBase Workflow 2 Checking for web intent, then routing high-intent accounts to follow-up

Intent found? - To prioritize our high-intent accounts, we use a Boolean helper (true/false logic) to route our accounts to one of two outcomes:

  • If an account does not qualify as high intent, then add the account to a “cold” list in your CRM. We won’t jump on these accounts quite as quickly, but we’ll keep them on the back burner for future follow-up. For now, we can add them to a campaign our marketing automation platform, Marketo to identify and engage the right contacts in this account list.
  • If an account qualifies as high-intent, then we add the account to a high-intent list in your marketing automation platform to include in targeted campaigns that leverage their recent interest. These could include techniques such as targeting opted-in contacts with ads that encourage them further down the funnel.

Next, we’ll pass these accounts to our CRM to update our records and assign them to an account development representative for follow-up.

Get account - Here, we call on our CRM to check for existing records that match our current account. We’ll use this to inform our next step.

In CRM? - Using the outcome of our ‘get account step’, we again use a Boolean to prevent duplicate records, and route our account to one of two outcomes:

  • If in CRM = false, then add a new contact with ABM context in your CRM.
  • If in CRM = true, then update the existing account with ABM context.

Stage 3: Routing accounts for SDR outreach

In our final stage, we’ll take our high-intent accounts and run them through a variety of outreach methods that complement the targeting already available in our ABM platform.

Note: Again, GAPs are flexible enough to let you swap, expand, or remove whatever logic you choose, depending on your team’s specific needs. You could expand on this process by creating a points-based system for accounts that evaluates firmographics, intent, and behavioral signals. If an account reaches a certain score, our workflow would assign the account to a representative and deliver personalized email outreach.

DemandBase Workflow 3 Engaging high-intent accounts through varying outreach

Assigned to SDR? - Our final Boolean step determines if our account already belongs to an SDR. If not, it assigns a strategic SDR on our team who can begin initial conversations and provide helpful resources.

Outreach connector - Next, we call our sales engagement software to add the account to a prespecified email sequence. This is a great way to deliver outreach at scale, which is essential in a large-scale account-based strategy. To personalize this stage even further, you can segment key personas into mapped sequences using routing logic in the Tray Platform.

Sendoso connector - And finally, we call our direct mail platform to send a ‘cherry on top’ intro gift to the physical address of the account to break the ice and establish a positive relationship. For more personalized gift campaign inspiration, check out our post on automating direct mail.

Seamlessly integrate & automate an account-based strategy in your MarTech stack

Now, you’ve seen a few ways that automation can streamline your existing account-based strategy without requiring considerable resources. If you’re interested in seeing more ways a General Automation Platform can power high-value marketing processes, sign up for a weekly group demo.