Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Working with your ABM Strategy in Oracle Eloqua

By Mark Tarro, Senior Solution Engineer (Oracle)

In our everyday lives, we buy and use a growing number of add-ons that can improve the way that we work or relax. Whether it is a new and improved lens for a camera or a chrome plug-in, we want to have our new tool up and running after a brief tutorial. I think about the first time someone showed me Ghostery and how easily I was able to immediately use it in sales cycles and discovery on prospects – it was a game changer. While MarTech add-ons can be game changers, unfortunately for marketers, they don’t always work that seamlessly. And they often take time to learn and find symmetry with a team’s processes and strategy. Account Based Marketing (ABM) add-on tools are a classic example of this. One of the major benefits of Oracle Eloqua is that rather than requiring an ABM module or add-on to the core solution, the capabilities to work with an ABM strategy are built natively within the tool. As marketers develop their ABM strategy, there are a number of areas within the Eloqua solution they can leverage to deliver on that strategy. There are four main stages of ABM that marketers typically work with, starting with Understanding and Identifying Accounts, Expanding Within Accounts, Engaging Relevantly With Contacts and Growing Advocates For Repeat Sales. We’ll take a look at each stage and discuss how Eloqua and the Oracle Marketing Cloud meet the marketer’s needs.  

Understanding, Identifying, & Configuring Accounts

The first step in ABM is typically understanding and identifying accounts – and the best way to do that is via connected data. Eloqua is uniquely set up to connect all relevant marketing data on both the contact and account records with integrations to and from various systems. Having both contact and account records; and the ability to connect data from anywhere, not just a CRM provides significantly more flexibility around how much data, and what specific account data can be connected. Having this complete look at accounts and the contacts associated provides the best understanding of which accounts should be target accounts or part of a target list. 

One issue facing many organizations is that they are working with multiple CRMs or multiple versions of the same account within one instance of CRM and this is a prohibitive factor to getting started and being effective with ABM. Within Eloqua there is the ability to deduplicate, standardize and normalize data so that you don’t end up with 3 versions of Oracle (Oracle, Oracle Corp. and ORCL). When you move to identifying accounts to work with, you’ll need clean consistent data. To identify which accounts your organization is targeting you’ll typically either have a list of named accounts, or filters with data points like annual revenue with thresholds to include contacts from qualified accounts. 

Expanding Within Key Accounts

Part of understanding your key accounts involves knowing how well you’ve penetrated those accounts with contacts at different levels/divisions. In order to expand in key accounts, lead scoring can be used to identify any gaps in an organization and plan for how to engage with an account moving forward. For example, let’s say you’ve got a target account and see multiple contacts that are very engaged but don’t fit the right buyer profile. Your sales and marketing teams need to expand within those accounts to have those contacts managers and leaders engaged in the discussion in order to close the deals. Depending on your specific ABM strategy, it’s also easy to create custom reports for ABM to see how expanded you are within different accounts with regards to lead scores.

There are organic ways like gated content (gating a PDF or whitepaper with a form) to engage with a new contact, convert them to known and align them with a marketing journey. Gating content provides greater insight into who is interacting with it and also what content prospects find valuable enough to complete a form. Integrations like the LinkedIn Sales Navigator plug-in and applications like Eloqua Profiler for Chrome can help identify how well expanded your marketing and sales efforts are within key accounts. There are also a number of key integrations available or coming soon with partners like Demandbase, Engagio, 6sense and Mintigo. Additionally, the Oracle Cloud allows for expansion within target accounts with strategies like targeted ads via the Oracle Data Cloud to unknown contacts at those accounts and append key contact data on the campaign canvas to target more effectively. Sometimes the strategy calls for filling the top of your ABM funnel with similar contacts to the one you have and Oracle Blue Kai allows for look-a-like audience targeting.

Engaging Relevantly 

Once you’ve spent time finding the right accounts to engage with and the right stakeholders within those target accounts, it’s important to make sure your messaging is relevant. The best way to show people you know them is to personalize messaging to make it relevant for them. This is impossible to do without connected data and a complete view of that contact and their journey. Oracle Marketing Cloud enables personalization on a number of levels across different channels. Within the Eloqua solution marketers have access to dynamic content where they can choose data points to personalize content blocks in emails and landing pages. They can also create custom field mergers based on any data field or custom object to make email subject lines and content more relevant. You may learn that more data needs to be connected or that you need to target using different data in order to achieve this relevant engagement.

One added layer of complexity today is the number of channels marketers must manage and interact with to reach their full audience basis individual preferences. The strategy often comes down to being able to “control the waste” of spend on various channels and some will be missed or left out due to these circumstances. Utilizing the campaign canvas with Eloqua, marketers are able to make sure that the messages they spent time developing and perfecting are reaching customers by using decision steps and preferences to route contacts appropriately and optimize channel spend on digital ads, social promotions, direct mail and more. For marketers that are focused on the web and/or looking for deep web personalization and testing, Oracle Eloqua connects data easily to solutions like Oracle Maxymiser to test, personalize and optimize messaging to contacts at key accounts. In addition to the 1stparty data within Eloqua, this type of personalization with Maxymiser takes into account things like the device or browser a contact is using and can also test and personalize for unknown contacts at key accounts. 

Measuring and Growing Advocates 

One difficult thing about measuring ABM effectiveness is that there is not a “one-size fits all” approach for marketers and their strategies. Marketers need the flexibility to continuously look at the dynamic customer data required to determine where they stand within accounts and what actions are necessary in the coming months and years. Some marketers will want to know which of their accounts are most engaged while others will want to identify which accounts they have the most A1 and A2 leads at. Oracle BI within Eloqua gives marketers this flexibility to create the reports they need based on their ABM/ABS strategies. Some marketers use it to create reports that show data at key accounts tracking, open opportunities and pipeline related to those accounts. Others look at account engagement over a 6-month period to track account health. This flexibility around creating custom reports to learn what is working with these key accounts around engaging and expanding helps continue that cycle and create advocates for future sales at those accounts. 

Oracle’s acquisition and integration of Infinity will deepen this connected data and intelligence across the web and at the account level. Being able to use intelligence from data on known contacts based on all their browsing history and their associated account enhances the ABM strategy and how deep you can expand within the accounts as well as how relevantly you can engage with those contacts throughout the funnel. For example, Infinity connects deeper data and intelligence such as where contacts are coming from and how long they spend on parts of the website. Wherever your data is connected from, the important thing to remember is that connecting data across your MarTech stack is the first step to an ABM strategy and ABM success. 

from Oracle Blogs | Oracle Marketing Cloud