In our last post in our Account-based Marketing 101 series, we discussed some of the benefits of implementing an ABM strategy at your company. Today, we’d like to cover one of the most critical components of a successful account-based marketing strategy (and one of the primary benefits): sales and marketing alignment.
Why Is This Alignment Important?
Let’s start by looking at the following stat:
Only 2% of cold calls result in an appointment.
Yikes! While traditional outreach tactics like cold calling and emailing do have their merits, they also have significant limitations.
Your buyers are busy, which means they’re only going to respond to marketing messages that really resonate with them — and generally, cold calls and mass emails don’t fall into this category. What buyers are looking for is personalized, targeted marketing that really caters to their needs and pain points.
In other words, they’re looking for a relationship.
But how can companies be expected to build these relationships when their buyers won’t pick up the phone or respond to emails? The answer is account-based marketing.
When key accounts are being targeted with personalized advertising, buyers will already be familiar with your product or service by the time sales reaches out to make an introduction, meaning that the relationship-building process is already under way.
An account-based marketing strategy can go a long way toward putting sales and marketing on the same team. Let’s take a closer look at how marketing and sales can work together to achieve success with ABM:
1) Flip the funnel.
At many organizations, sales reps and marketers are struggling to make contact with their buyers via traditional outlets like email and phone. That’s because they’re focusing too much on channels. Instead, flip the funnel on its head and start thinking about the customers first.
Who are your target buyers? What would you consider your “best fit” criteria? In an ideal world, which companies would you like to penetrate? This sets the stage for hyper-targeted marketing messaging down the line.
2) Identify key accounts.
Once you’ve flipped the funnel and started approaching your marketing with a customer-first attitude, it’s time for marketing and sales to have a conversation about target accounts. Find out which accounts your sales team is trying to penetrate, and make those accounts the primary focus of your ABM strategy. This is a conversation that should happen on a regular basis so that both teams are always aligned behind the same objectives.
To assist in this identification process, marketers can use any number of technologies— including Terminus, SalesLoft, Data.com from Salesforce, RingLead, LinkedIn Navigator, and a few others — to help pinpoint the companies that match their best-fit criteria.
3) Determine your channels and messaging.
Using the digital (IP- or cookie-based) targeting discussed in our previous post, marketers can target these key accounts with specific messaging on the channels that buyers are engaging on, whether that’s display, mobile, video, or social. Having a number of options for creative and/or messaging that you can personalize to each account will greatly increase the effectiveness of these campaigns.
And voilà — with no heavy-lifting from sales, you’ve set up targeted multi-channel advertising that reaches your audience on their terms, not yours.
4) Begin active outreach.
Once your messaging is in market, it’s time for your sales reps to begin outreach using more traditional channels. Marketing has created significant coverage for sales using account-based marketing, so when a sales rep makes a call or sends an email, your buyers (and many of their decision makers, too) are already familiar with your company. This increases the effectiveness of sales outreach and gives sales reps more confidence in their marketing counterparts.
5) Measure and optimize.
As always, no marketing strategy is complete without a process in place to measure results. Keep tabs on the performance of your ABM strategy and swap out the creative and the messaging if you’re not seeing results (with a platform like Terminus, you can optimize your campaigns in real time).
Make sure that sales and marketing are constantly communicating about new target accounts, changing goals, buyer personas, and the most successful messaging and channels.
To be successful with account-based marketing, marketing and sales teams need to take a collaborative approach. Not only will input from sales increase the effectiveness of your ABM campaigns, but marketing can then enable sales by putting targeted programs into market, helping sales to create a more powerful dialogue with their buyers.
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