Best Tips to Apply ABM Strategy to Virtual Events
This blog was written in partnership with the SalesIntel team.
With the ongoing pandemic, B2B companies have been forced to reevaluate how they do event marketing and connect or interact with their audiences. Virtual events are one of the most common strategies B2B companies use to generate demand, leads, and revenue and deepen their relationship with prospects and customers. 93% of event marketers plan to invest in virtual events moving forward.
Virtual events are a successful event marketing strategy on their own. Layering account-based marketing (ABM) on top only brings better results for your B2B company as you focus your events on high-value accounts and priority contacts. These results include accelerated revenue opportunities, increased close rates, more relevant engagement, and valuable customer experiences.
4 Ways to Incorporate ABM Strategy into Virtual Events
1. Give your high-value accounts a meaningful, tailored attendee experience
Did you know, 85% of marketers consider attendee satisfaction a success factor for virtual events? ABM is a great way to convert virtual events into a lead and revenue-generation engine by creating impactful, compelling experiences for attendees. This helps engage virtual event attendees no matter where they are in their buyer’s journey and increases your chances to turn them into customers.
You can arrange smaller but more niche, account-focused sessions to go with larger, broader ones to give your virtual event attendees a tailored experience. You can further enhance the attendee experience by producing content that resonates with your target audience and relates to their needs, pain points, challenges, and what they are actually looking for. This will educate, show that you care, and build the relationship.
You can add a personal touch to your events by asking your salespeople to contact attendees during, before, and after the events. In addition to your digital efforts, you can send your attendees personalized direct mail, swag, souvenirs, or gifts. This will help keep your brand top of mind.
Next, leverage virtual event integrated technology to not only create a meaningful attendee experience but also improve or automate your account-based event marketing. For instance, the Banzai + Demio end-to-end, complete webinar marketing solution takes care of everything from outreach to follow-up.
With Banzai Reach, you can increase webinar registrations by quickly targeting and reaching a qualified audience using audience AI, multichannel outreach, and other features from a single tool. There is also the Demio webinar solution built to help you create a delightful, engaging attendee experience on the back of a results-driven, easy-to-use platform.
2. Invite your advocates and ask them to share what they think about your brand
Marketing your brand through advocates is a powerful, strategic way to increase trust and strengthen your reach with high-value accounts. While this is a common tactic used in ABM, you can apply it to your virtual events to keep attendees engaged, establish credibility, and realize an impressive ROI. Start by getting your customer success and partnership teams involved to find out which customers and partners have been most successful with you.
On average, brands generate a 650% ROI for every dollar invested in advocacy and influencer marketing. Successful customers and partners are among the biggest advocates who can bring value to your virtual events. You can select your best customers and partners operating in the same industry or business, using a similar tech stack, selling similar products, or having a similar company size or revenue as that of ABM-focused accounts invited to your event.
Then, encourage these advocates to express their opinion about and overall experience with you and how beneficial your brand has been to them. Moreover, you can share clippings of your latest virtual events with partners or customers to let your target accounts know what your advocates think about you.
All of these tactics will help you take a hyper-targeted, focused, and relevant approach to virtual event marketing, the same as you do in ABM. In addition to getting a warm introduction to and connecting with top prospects and leads within your target accounts, you get an opportunity to build a more robust relationship with advocates.
3. Create buyer personas to identify target buyers and relevant business drivers
ABM is all about getting to know target accounts as well as key stakeholders within those accounts at a deeper level and creating hyper-personalized, highly customized buying experiences for them. If you apply an ABM strategy to virtual events, it’s critical to build buyer personas to create tailored messaging and content. This strategy keeps target buyers at the center of focus and doesn’t outrightly push products or services on them. It’s a great way to achieve virtual event goals and conversions.
Note that 70% of companies who miss lead and revenue goals do not account for all the members of the buying committee with their personas. Buyer personas are a representation of ideal buyers you want to target and describe their motivations, objectives, responsibilities, goals, actions, decision criteria, attitudes, priorities, and individual perspectives. They are mainly based on research and accurate, actionable B2B data giving a 360-degree view of target buyers.
By better understanding your target buyers and addressing their perspectives, concerns, and needs at different stages of the buying cycle, you can create highly enjoyed events. Buyer personas and persona-based journey maps make it easy to use ABM in virtual events, allowing you to reach a new level of interaction, drive engagement, and win more deals.
4. Leverage smarketing to become more strategic and avoid an account-based mess
Sales and marketing alignment plays a key role in driving ABM success. Sales and marketing teams that take an ABM approach together can be up to 6% more likely to exceed their revenue goals than less ABM-advanced teams. When applying ABM to virtual events, smarketing should be given top priority to strategize the way you target ABM-focused, high-value accounts, so you can increase revenue-generation opportunities.
With smarketing, you can deliver a more personal and valuable experience to your virtual event attendees. You can also avoid the dangerous consequences of sales and marketing misalignment, such as misunderstood ICPs or buyer personas.
Here are a few things you can do to align your sales and marketing teams:
- Create shared KPIs, metrics, and goals for your virtual events
- Align roles and responsibilities and gather customer/attendee feedback
- Schedule inter-departmental meetings to discuss important elements of virtual events
- Decide on target accounts and stakeholders and share ABM messaging and content
- Implement the right sales and marketing tools and ensure data is shared seamlessly
Virtual events are already a big deal in the B2B world, especially for increasing revenue and pipeline velocity. Adding ABM is an advanced tactic that further strengthens ROI and boosts positive results. With ABM, you can truly personalize the virtual event attendee experience and avoid wasting time and resources on accounts that aren’t likely to convert. The best practices discussed above are sure to set up your virtual events for success using ABM.