Despite its importance, account-based marketing is not without its critics, particularly in sales functions.
At first glance, ABM looks like it’s going to require sales to work with fewer leads, and that kind of change can be unsettling.
ABM prevents both the marketing and sales teams from making the necessary evolution.
As account-based strategies benefit the entire company, input is required from across the organisation and from the top to make it happen.
What’s so great about ABM?
- ABM usually outperforms other marketing strategies, as reported by 80% of marketers who track ROI.
- ABM brings in a higher ROI than any other marketing initiative, say 97% of marketers.
Increased engagement with target and existing customers is brought by flipping the traditional B2B strategy of lead generation-based marketing.
How can marketers and salespeople ensure that ABM is successful?
By simply aligning.
This blog covers:
- Why Sales Marketing Alignment Matters?
- How Marketing-Sales Alignment Helps Move The Abm Needle?
#1. Why Sales Marketing Alignment Matters?
Any organisation would benefit from aligning sales and marketing.
However, if you want to maximise the effectiveness of ABM, it’s imperative to align these key functions.
Now you may want to know why? Well, here are some reasons why:
- Lead nurturing and incubation work better when sales and marketing work together
- When sales and marketing teams are aligned, companies are 36% more likely to retain customers and 38% more likely to win sales
- Leads convert 67% more easily when sales and marketing teams work together.
ABM by its very nature, binds sales and marketing together as long as both departments agree to cooperate.
Getting sales to buy-in at first can be challenging. Alignment is obviously the first step in a sales and marketing partnership.
Why Is Alignment Important?
Advertising, email, and social media are some of the avenues the marketing team uses to garner leads.
Sales converts leads after they come in. As part of ABM, sales and marketing work together, albeit strategically, at least initially.
The teams won’t realise they have been operating in silos until they suddenly align. Changing old habits can be hard, even for the best-intentioned team members.
This means both sales and marketing are involved in every step, but they must be purposeful. Combining that alignment with a focus on targeted accounts makes for a stronger strategy that can be very effective.
Getting Sales on Board
Let’s say you’re the marketing team leader trying to get sales to buy in or the sales team leader trying to get sales onboard. How do you start?
Ensure that the sales team knows that ABM is a game changer for them. Describe how their input is crucial to a successful ABM strategy.
ABM Is Beneficial To The Sales Team
A few questions to ask are:
- Should I meet one-on-one with the sales director?
- Should I write an email or should I pitch to the entire sales department?
- To what extent is sales satisfied with the leads that marketing currently provides?
- Is the sales team’s resources/content always available to help them close an account?
Salespeople are most likely to express their frustrations. A lack of resources and unqualified leads are reasons sales departments often feel annoyed.
These are the two reasons why salespeople should embrace account-based strategies.
At the beginning of ABM, target accounts are selected just like leads are qualified.
Since sales and marketing have selected target accounts together from the very beginning, it is almost impossible for an unqualified lead to reach the sales rep’s desk.
Wouldn’t it be nice to only talk to qualified, ready-to-buy leads?
Personalised content is developed for each persona, each account, and sometimes even an individual after account selection.
The sales team knows that prospects appreciate case studies in their field, but how would they like to have a report created just for them?
It may force sales out of their comfort zones at first, and it may take a while before they see new ABM-generated leads.
However, sales reps will, however, not turn down the opportunity to close more business at larger accounts and to have the content they need to achieve that.
ABM Needs Sales Feedback
It’s human nature to feel needed, isn’t it?
“Account-based marketing,” even though it is called that, involves other departments as well.
It is both a prerequisite and a result of an effective ABM strategy for sales and marketing to be aligned.
#2. How Marketing & Sales Alignment Helps Move The ABM Needle
In Account-Based Marketing (ABM), sales and marketing alignment go beyond buzzwords and vague objectives. This is essential for a successful ABM.
Without it, both teams are destined to fail.
This alignment cannot be achieved by merely stating that independent teams need to work together.
ABM creates a more unified, cross-departmental workflow, but approaching this alignment strategically at each stage will yield better results.
The following tips will help sales and marketing teams work better together when planning ABM campaigns.
Develop Common KPIs
Sales and marketing teams work together but have different goals.
Marketing generates MQLs, while sales looks for the most likely to convert.
Quality vs. quantity can cause conflict between departments.
ABM focuses on identifying, engaging, and converting specific accounts. Both teams will have fewer, higher-quality leads.
Sales and marketing teams should create joint KPIs to measure this shared goal.
This alignment eliminates the long-standing debate between marketing and sales over subpar leads.
You set a collaborative precedent when you define ABM campaign metrics together.
Identify and Prioritize Team-Based Accounts
Sales and marketing must collaborate to target accounts.
It is highly possible that your sales reps have a list of target accounts and know your existing customers the best.
By collaborating on a lead scoring system, both teams can agree on what qualifies as a potential campaign lead.
As per Gartner, only 49% of companies have a standard definition of a lead.
Decide what makes a lead a MQA (Marketing Qualified Account) or SQA (Sales Qualified Account).
Both teams can adjust their strategies depending on their lead stats with this information.
This creates a more streamlined internal process and gives buyers a better experience thanks to relevant content.
Nearly 65% of salespeople can’t find relevant content for prospects.
Even with sales tech support, marketing can find it difficult to keep up with the volume of marketing materials.
ABM prohibits this. Sales and marketing must collaborate on the content strategy and be transparent about who gets what and when.
If the marketing team’s content doesn’t reach the right person at the right time, it’s useless.
A sales rep’s ability to find relevant information quickly while speaking to a top client can be vital.
Be Jointly Accountability For Results
Alignment throughout the process makes measuring results easier. ABM is a long-game strategy for B2B buyers.
If sales and marketing work together on KPIs, nobody will demand early conversions.
Marketing can best provide measurement data, but they shouldn’t be the only ones discussing results.
Making sure sales are present strengthens transparency and gives a more comprehensive view of performance.
Sales reps may have anecdotal information that can be used to optimise the campaign.
Account-based marketing (ABM) aims to make sales and marketing work more effectively together.
Sales must align with marketing in order to maximise the effectiveness of both departments.
Both teams must create common KPIs to measure their shared goal of generating quality leads.
Sell your sales team first. Write an irresistible pitch and deliver it confidently.
ABM’s potential will motivate them to join.
Accelerate your leads with Account Based Marketing today!
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