Roughly 17M results are returned from Google when searching for account-based marketing (ABM) technologies, which means there’s a wealth of content being generated around this topic.
And it’s always helpful to understand how technology makes it possible to do account-based marketing.
While some marketers are happy with using tried and true tools, others like to compare what’s under the hood between the technologies in their current stack and potential new ones. In this post we provide a deep overview of one of Bizible’s account-based marketing features.
We start with background information on how the Salesforce CRM works to aid in understanding what’s required to do account-based marketing and how Bizible addresses these requirements with lead-to-account mapping.
How Salesforce Handles Lead To Account Mapping
The sales process envisioned by Salesforce follows the flow seen below.
First, leads are created inside Salesforce by list upload or web form. When the lead is ready to be sold to -- for example, after a demo request or a after successful demo -- the sales rep converts the lead into an Account. When this happens three objects get created in Salesforce: the Account, the contact, and optionally an Opportunity.
The Lead object becomes read-only and is essentially invisible from your org. A Contact is created under the Account. And an Opportunity is created under the Account.
This process works well for orderly and simple sales processes. But keeping leads and accounts separate can be problematic when running ABM campaigns, creating accurate reports, and coordinating sales outreach. We’ll explore these problems in the next section.
The Lead Conversion Process In Salesforce Explained
As previously mentioned once a lead gets converted it becomes read-only, so it is common for sales and marketing teams to define when a lead should be converted in order to coordinate and track team effort.
For example, an organization may only convert leads when it is determined that the lead is qualified to buy. Unqualified leads do not get converted and remain a lead. This enables marketing and sales teams to focus their efforts on engaging and selling to qualified leads only.
But qualified/unqualified is only one grouping and there are many groupings relevant to marketers. For example, engagement level, campaign groupings, persona groupings, regional groupings, and etc. These are all groupings marketing can target for account-based marketing plays. And yet, this is nearly impossible to do with native Salesforce functionality.
Leads and contacts within an account are siloed in nearly all SFDC orgs, which means sales reps and marketers can easily create a bad nurturing experience, rely on inaccurate reports, and become unable to do account-based marketing.
The siloed information means leads and contacts can’t be grouped by account for the purposes of automated workflows and account-based marketing.
For example, imagine how difficult it would be to do account-based marketing without knowing enough about each lead, whether they’ve been contacted before or whether a person from that company is engaging with your ads already.
It’s all too too easy to overspend and waste marketing dollars on accounts that are already likely to convert. It’s also easy to spend too little, thinking ads and digital content might be enough when in fact a stronger effort was required (e.g. direct mail).
Limitations exist for sales teams too.
For example, there can be sales development reps (SDR) who work on the lead level, and account executives (AE) who work at the account level (i.e. working with contacts). Leads may belong to the same account, but the SDR may not know that.
The SDR could negatively impact the AE’s deal by treating a contact in an account as a new lead. A lead could also belong to an account that is already a customer!
Solving The Account-Based Marketing Execution Problem With Lead to Account Mapping
Since there's no native connection between leads and accounts, marketers have two options for connecting the two together.
Convert all leads to contacts. However, you'll need software to automatically do this conversion and put the contacts under the right accounts. This is a great option if your sales team has the ability coordinate their efforts while keeping accounts and leads together.
Merge lead and account level data in marketing reports only. However, you'll need software that can provide marketing insights across both. This is a great option if you're only concerned with reporting on marketing.
Either way, Bizible's built-in lead-to-account mapping functionality can help you remove these technical limitations so you can go back to managing marketing and generating insights.
Bizible matches leads to accounts based on:
The website fields on leads and accounts
The email domain of the lead and website on account
A match on the company name of lead to an existing account name.
Sales/marketing teams now have a link between accounts and the previously siloed leads. This link can be used to report on the marketing activity of both leads and contacts under an account.
This enables account-based marketing tactics to be executed because marketers can identify and target new or existing leads with ads and mailers, while tailoring the message or offer. It’s account-based marketing made effective.
And when a new lead from an existing account comes in, that lead automatically gets mapped and updated with account level information. See below:
Lead to account mapping provides complete information on leads, enabling targeting, reporting and optimization of marketing.
Reporting On Account-Based Marketing Performance
We believe marketing and sales both should be judged on revenue performance.
This is often easier said than done given the necessary mapping needed to match up information between the lead, account, contact, and opportunity. When marketers can achieve this they can see the complete story of how a person became a lead, converted into an account/opportunity and then a customer. Essentially, marketers can see the campaigns and engagements that influenced the leads/contacts in an account.
Here’s how it works.
When a lead is created Bizible attaches touchpoint data to the lead record. This tells marketers keywords, campaigns, and channel information for each lead. When the lead converts into an opportunity (and account & contact) this touchpoint information is eligible to be combined with attribution touchpoints information. Attribution touchpoints tells marketers the pipeline that each marketing channel or campaign generated.
The final step is when an opportunity turns into a deal and revenue can finally be attributed to marketing. Without lead-to-account mapping marketers simply couldn’t understand the customer journey and whether account-based marketing tactics at the lead level had any influence.
Lead to account mapping helps marketers understand this story and turn it into improvements to their account-based marketing campaigns.
Though Salesforce is not built for today’s account-based marketing framework given its design, this shouldn’t stop marketers from hitting their revenue goal through account engagement.
Lead to account mapping enables account-based marketing both from an execution perspective and a reporting perspective.