A lot of people think of marketing as artsy logos, creative ads, and eye-catching billboards. But marketing is so much more than what we see on the surface. Marketing, when done well, is strategic, data-driven, and aligned with an organization’s goals—and bottom line. This kind of marketing propels growth and future-proofs revenue, and it relies on three key areas of focus:
- Understanding the market
- Differentiating through customer experience
- Optimizing revenue generation for the company
Especially in more traditional industries like healthcare, these three tenets of strategic marketing have the potential to shift the needle in big ways. That’s because while most companies in these spaces are wasting time and energy on tired old “spray and pray” approaches to marketing, those that use data, technology, and analytics to master these three things can laser-focus their marketing efforts and outperform their competitors.
The marketing team at Florence Healthcare embraced all three tenets of strategic marketing recently when they used market insights and differentiated marketing tactics to turn rapidly shifting market demands into a massive growth opportunity. This case study provides a look into their process and ultimate results.
Challenge: Adjusting to an Extended Market Reach
A global clinical trial documentation technology platform, Florence partners with healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies to streamline operations. Historically, Florence Healthcare has worked with mid-sized biomedical and pharmaceutical research firms. But their market expanded in 2020 when they signed contracts to be the remote workflow infrastructure for several of the COVID-19 vaccine trials, and they have since expanded to be the global clinical trial workflow platform for several of the top 10 biopharmaceutical companies.
This inspired the company to set a new goal: to engage more enterprise customers. Of course, enterprise customers have bigger buying teams and more complex company structures, so Jenny Bunn, Florence’s Director of Programmatic Marketing, realized they’d need a new marketing strategy to reach them—one based on data, insights, and AI.
Approach: Taking a Tech-Powered ABX Strategy
Rather than conducting the same outreach to every prospect account—regardless of size, buying team structure, or unique needs—hoping it would resonate with the right people and spark further conversation, Bunn and her team knew they needed hyper-targeted messaging to engage the right enterprise buyers at the right time.
They realized this was the perfect opportunity to implement account-based experiences (ABX): a strategy that manages demand across teams to engage an account at every phase of its journey, from marketing touchpoints, to sales interactions, to customer success.
Bunn knew that success in ABX would rely on an ability to understand the market. To develop a real-time, dynamic understanding of a shifting market, Florence Healthcare implemented an AI-powered account-based engagement platform that processed enormous amounts of data to provide visibility into what prospect accounts were most interested in, their stage in the buyer’s journey, and which personas made up the buying team.
Powered by these insights, the platform made it easy to identify what accounts were in-market and most likely to buy at any given time. This enabled sales reps to prioritize outreach to those likeliest-to-buy accounts—and bring in more predictable revenue.
In addition to helping to identify which accounts to engage, the platform also shed light on how best to engage them based on their specific interests. Based on the robust data at their fingertips, the marketing team was able to build out Florence’s audience into three distinct go-to-market segments: hospital and healthcare, mid-market segments, and major pharma. Marketing tracked pipeline from these segments and quickly launched targeted display ads to test the most effective messaging for each.
Plan in Action: Build a Tiger Team
You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so it was essential to get business development reps (BDRs)—the first people to engage with prospects and customers—on board. Once they saw how marketing’s efforts were increasing pipeline, they were sold. Bunn assigned a BDR to each go-to-market segment, with specific approaches for prioritizing the accounts within them.
AI-driven predictions removed the guesswork so familiar to BDRs: which account should I reach out to, and with what message? And the new insights quickly paid off. Instead of annoying people with generic emails and cold calls, they could provide real value from the very first communication. Now, instead of being met with hang-ups and unsubscribes, they started getting messages like this one:
“Your email was perfectly timed. You’re actually next on my to-do list this morning. When can we schedule some time to speak?”
That’s the differentiated customer experience at work.
Training and support played a huge role in encouraging BDRs to get behind the new system. Bunn established different Slack channels to share tips for unique use cases, held open “office hours” for users to ask questions, and offered opportunities for continued education. BDRs, in turn, became advocates and helped to roll out the new system for sales.
For the final phase of the rollout, the marketing team looped sellers into the ABX strategy. Bunn held an orchestration session to demonstrate the new approach and align everyone on roles and responsibilities. While marketing works on their campaigns, sellers have the context to contact accounts most likely to buy with personalized outreach.
Results: Optimized Revenue Generation
With ABX fully in play, the team was able to prove out that third tenet of strategic marketing: optimizing revenue generation. Nearly 40% of Florence’s pipeline came from this ABX approach within the first quarter. Opportunity value was up by 43% and enterprise engagement through content downloads increased by 23%.
Based on these improvements, Florence Healthcare’s executive team increased the budget for the initiative for the following year, and its CEO has committed to exclusively hiring leaders across the business who are aligned with its ABX approach.
Lessons Learned: Best Practices to Make ABX Work for You
Regardless of your industry and product, Jenny Bunn shared these tips for anyone looking to have ABX success on par with what her team experienced.
Get C-suite buy-in. Communicate the why and how of your approach rather than the what. Leadership has limited time and wants to understand what’s in it for them. And that’s always about revenue.
Don’t be afraid to launch and experiment. Making mistakes is okay. Give yourself the freedom to be bold, try new things, and pivot when necessary.
Designate a subject matter expert. A single source of expertise serves as a resource for employees to seek out when they have questions, problems, or feedback.
Develop ongoing sales training and enablement. Your work is never done. Create touchpoints for continued education, like a “tip of the week” video tutorial via Slack.
Create an open feedback loop. The better you can align with the sales team, the more they will trust you. Tear down the silos. Keep communication open to celebrate wins and identify areas for improvement.
Manage expectations. Any new initiative needs time to fully ramp up, so don’t expect instant results. AI-fueled platforms need time to learn, but the more consistently you use them, the more accurate they’ll be.