One of the most talked about trends in marketing is Account Based Marketing. Unlike more traditional targeting where you focus on an industry, product, or channel, ABM brings everything together to focus on specific accounts. Companies develop frameworks, scoring, measurements, and alignment tactics to support this strategy. One of the greatest benefits of ABM is a focused effort that extends beyond awareness, through demand generation, into nurturing, and eventually advocacy.
But this leaves many in the life sciences space feeling eliminated from an effective marketing approach and wondering what more they can do to drive relevant communications and align and support their sales organization. In truth, what drives ABM implementation is very relevant in life sciences. These pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies are looking to gather intelligence, drive demand, encourage conversion, and identify new advocates.
So how can life science companies implement an account based marketing program when they don't market to traditional "accounts?"
What Classifies As An Account?
One of the first steps in the ABM process is defining the universe of accounts to be targeted. It's within this first step that many life science companies give up because they're not sure how to define accounts. But if we broaden our definition of accounts beyond individuals working within the same organization, then we can begin to identify ABM opportunity. For example, a life science company may want to target all physicians within the same ACO, or perhaps cardiologists operating out of the same hospital, or maybe even all endocrinologists in a region that accept the same payer insurance.
What Are My Account Requirements?
With the "accounts" defined you can now begin to identify the commonalities and difference tied to their drivers, challenges, and interests. This should require a fair amount of research to understand requirements. You can consult prior Digital Body Language that aligns with the personas of those accounts and identify the journey and supporting content that best aligns with their interests. It's important to remember that the engagement and interests of these "accounts" will vary, and not just by specialty. A physician associated with an ACO will probably take a greater interest in patient impact and satisfaction than one that still remains in private practice. The value-content you deliver to a provider who accepts BCBS versus Anthem will also vary depending on your relationship with the payer.
What Do I Measure and Score?
Equipped with this information you can now begin to plan marketing activities that align with the objectives of sales and the larger business. Ensure that your sales and marketing teams align to the campaign framework as well as the agreed upon scoring models and processes for follow-up. You'll want to measure account revenue potential, account communication coverage and engagement, and sales activity corresponding to each account.
How you measure and score these accounts will also vary depending on whether your ABM strategy is tied to intelligence and clinical research gathering, brand awareness development, decile prescription conversion, edetail or CME nurturing, or KOL advocacy. Ideally, your ABM strategy should flow beyond awareness and demand creation and into post-customer lifecycle stages.
Building out the framework for each of these steps takes time, as does executing an effective ABM program. But with a greater understanding of how the broader ABM framework can be applied to life sciences, now you can execute step 1 and move further through the strategy development process. If you're looking for more detailed information on building ABM frameworks I recommend you consult the information provided by SiriusDecisions. If you're interested in exploring account based marketing application in the life sciences space I'm happy to field any questions you might have.
How do you envision applying ABM in a life sciences company?