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Leverage Data for Stronger Buying Stage Engagement in ABM

Melody Selby
July 10, 2024 8 MIN Blog

A 2021 McKinsey study notes that 71% of buyers expect personalized interactions from brands through the buying process, and 76% of these buyers get frustrated with non-personalized experiences—and that statistic hasn’t changed much.

Today’s B2B personalization efforts require both a wider net and specification as buying committees grow and contain a more diverse group of decision-makers. Providing personalized experiences during each stage of the customer journey to each buying committee member is essential to not only accelerating the sales funnel but also developing long-term relationships and customer loyalty. While these personalized experiences require bespoke ABM content and messaging that speaks directly to specific target audience pain points, when that content and messaging is delivered is equally important. Timing is everything; use intent data and signals from the buying committee to not only understand what content and messaging they need to decide, but also know when they need it to move the buying committee to act.  

Why You Need to Map Content to the Buyer’s Journey

A strong content strategy begins with identifying the content and messaging needed to reach your audience according to their progression through the buyer’s journey. B2B purchase decisions are long and complex. The journey from awareness to a decision often involves multiple touch points, and it’s not always linear—a buying committee might jump from consideration to decision and back to consideration. At the same time, not all committee member personas progress through the journey at the same rate. One person can be in the consideration stage while everyone else is in the awareness stage. 

Using data to understand where potential customers are in the decision-making process and mapping content and messaging to their concerns at each stage provides a stronger foundation to generate brand awareness and demand among multiple committee members. With data suggesting that 90% of the B2B buyer’s journey is completed before the committee contacts a sales team, surrounding members with relevant content based on where they are in the decision-making process is the only way to effectively engage them.  

Begin with determining what content and messaging will resonate the most at each phase of the buyer’s journey. It’s important to look at your content for their goals and their calls to action, as you don’t want to offer a deep-dive tutorial of your product to a buyer who has only just begun to visit your website or interact with your ads. Use intent and historical data to match your content to your marketing channels by seeing what content creates a sense of urgency among multiple personas or helps progress the account through the buyer’s journey. This allows you to tailor each piece of content to your buyer’s needs, which will make them feel like you know exactly what answers they’re looking for in terms of an ideal partner and solution.  

Use Data to Define Entry Criteria and KPIs for Each Funnel Stage

Using engagement and intent data to identify where each buyer is and to signal when they have moved to a new stage is the most effective way to present them with the content and messaging needed to get them to that decision faster. Just as you evaluate each asset for where it may fit in your sales funnel, you need to consistently evaluate how buyers enter your funnel and establish KPIs for each phase of the buyer’s journey. Measurement and optimization based on buying stage allow for improved personalization and ultimately speed deals through the journey. 

By clearly defining entry criteria and KPIs for each funnel stage, you can better understand where buyers are in their journey. This not only ensures that your marketing efforts are both targeted and effective by meeting the specific needs and concerns of buyers at every stage, but also enhances the buyer’s experience to accelerate their progression through the funnel, leading to faster decision-making and more successful outcomes. 

The benefits of tighter buyer’s journey mapping extend into other teams as well. Sharing this account engagement and intent data reveals how buyers move through stages and what motivates them. While marketing has first dibs on this account data, the buying journey doesn’t end after the sale. Together with marketing, salespeople and customer success teams can use that knowledge to build better interactions with your customers and foster that loyalty across your entire organization when opportunities for customer expansion and retention arise.  

You can use our example criteria and KPIs below or create your own based on your organization’s objectives and goals. 

Awareness 

In the awareness stage, buyers are typically looking for information to help them more clearly understand their problem. At this point, it’s typically too early for them to be thinking about solutions or providers—they need time to consider and investigate their needs first. Your focus should be on reaching accounts with no prior engagement or low engagement levels with your brand to get them into this first stage. Search engine optimized (SEO) content and messaging should create a need recognition in buyers and educate them on the potential solutions available. The KPIs for this stage mainly measure the reach and engagement of your content. 

Entry Criteria: 

  • Engagement across social media platforms, including LinkedIn 
  • Video and long-form content interactions 
  • Email engagement metrics (open rates, click-through rates) 
  • Initial surge in topic-related content consumption via ML Insights

Example KPIs: 

  • Volume of target accounts showing initial content engagement 
  • Website engagement 
  • Social media interaction rate 
  • Volume of target accounts with heightened research and engagement on core topics 

Consideration 

During the consideration stage, accounts have engaged with awareness-based content and demonstrated interest through high-intent activities. Buyers will have a clearer understanding of their problem and will be committed to finding a solution or service to help them solve it. Your content and messaging should provide them with more detailed information about your product, focusing on educating and persuading buyers to consider you as a viable option. Because of the emphasis on driving sales conversations and demos, KPIs in the consideration stage are related to lead generation and qualification.  

Entry Criteria: 

  • Interactions with lead forms and key product pages 
  • Meeting lead scoring threshold 
  • Repeated interactions with specific content themes via intent data 
  • Campaign engagement with case studies or other key assets 

Example KPIs: 

  • Engagement rates with high-intent content like case studies and testimonials 
  • MQL to SQL conversion rate 
  • Engagement depth score per account 
  • Weighted lead scoring metrics 

Decision 

At the decision stage, buyers have decided how to fix their problem and are making a short list of solution providers to help them do it. They are actively engaging with your product and sales team, showing intent through their interest in specific product features. Your focus should be on convincing them to act, whether by registering for a trial of your product, making a purchase, or subscribing to a service. Content and messaging should answer any questions they have and give them all the information needed to make a confident decision. Because the buying decision stage involves the purchase process as the final stage, these KPIs tie back to sales and revenue. 

Entry Criteria: 

  • High engagement with comparison content, pricing pages, and demos 
  • Multiple stakeholders from the same account engaging in sales-ready activities 
  • Request for information (RFI) or request for proposal (RFP)-based activities 
  • Opportunity creation 

Example KPIs: 

  • SQL to opportunity rate 
  • Sales stage duration 
  • Average deal size and velocity 
  • Win/loss rate 

Retention 

During the retention stage, accounts are fully integrated as customers and need to be engaged to build brand loyalty and advocacy, engage in cross-sell and upsell opportunities, and reduce the chances of churn post-purchase. You want to continue to engage with them by providing the necessary support to be successful with your product or service so there are no regrets in their post-purchase evaluation. Because of the emphasis on retention and customer expansion opportunities, the KPIs for this stage are mainly related to retention and loyalty. 

Entry Criteria: 

  • Completed purchase or service subscription 
  • Concluded onboarding 
  • Demonstrating signs of reduced engagement or usage 
  • Offered feedback submission 
  • Up for contract renewal 

Example KPIs: 

  • Net promoter score (NPS) 
  • Renewal targets 
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV) 
  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC) 

Looking for more insights into measuring and interpreting customer expansion and retention ABM strategies? Download our latest cross-sell and upsell measurement worksheets!  Download our Cross-Sell and Upsell Measurement Worksheets

Be Wise—Use Data to Optimize Buying Stages with Madison Logic 

Without data, you can’t personalize the customer experience throughout the buyer’s journey, assure your audience that you are the solution of choice, or optimize engagement. You also can’t measure campaign performance by how often an account reaches out to your sales team. It’s crucial to monitor an account for all the buying process signals that indicate where accounts are in their journey. This allows you to meet them where they are, providing the information and support they need to progress to the next stage. Being proactive and reactive helps you increase customer satisfaction and brand loyalty for both current and potential buyers. 

With the ML Platform, ML Measurement helps you demonstrate account engagement and pipeline impact across three dominant channels. Proprietary reporting enables you to make informed decisions that accelerate the sales cycle for your best accounts. Make more data-driven decisions in your marketing through: 

  • Real-time visibility into the performance of your ABM programs 
  • The complete picture of a decision-maker and an accounts’ journey through the funnel 
  • Measurement into how each program or strategy impacts pipeline and revenue 

Customers leveraging the full extent of ML Measurement with the ML Platform see 32% lift in engagement with their target accounts, 28% faster sales cycles, and at least 17% increase in sales pipeline. Ready to see how you can find similar growth in your campaigns? Request a demo today. 

Hungry for more guidance on your marketing strategies? Don’t forget to download the 2024 Full-Funnel ABM Playbook that will take you from the first step in identifying your target accounts to measuring and optimizing your campaigns. Accelerate every stage of the buying journey with our proactive ABM approach to power your growth!