The role of marketing operations has evolved significantly from the 2000’s when the sharp rise of marketing technologies and data-driven practices put all eyes on this critical business function. Marketing Operations now plays a strong leadership role in B2B organizations, especially one that is highly influential in ensuring Account-Based Marketing is a success.

MOPs is instrumental in 3 key areas:

  1. Account Foundation MOPs is a key player in setting up the initial account foundation for successful ABM. They are often responsible for setting up lead to account matching and helping prioritize accounts.
  2. Account-Centric Systems /Processes – Part of ABM is having an account centric organization of data, building out white space, and lead routing. By supporting these processes and managing the supporting systems, Marketing and Sales have the framework to effectively go after target accounts.
  3. Reporting – By focusing on accounts that teams have jointly prioritized, reporting and reviewing metrics becomes more meaningful to all teams. The conversation is not about lead volume, rather how both Marketing and Sales are driving engagement and key impact in accounts that matter.

Let’s dive into each.

Setting up a stable foundation

Similar to a well-crafted house, you want your marketing systems to be dependable and free of leaks or cracks! Marketing operations can ensure your foundation for account based marketing is reliable and set-up correctly. A common challenge many companies are faced with initially, is not having one system of record where all teams can view accounts.

Also, a lot of important account data is housed in different places, like a rep’s email! To have the right visibility for Marketing and Sales, Marketing Operations can help implement Lead-to-Account Matching. If you lack this foundation, there is no visibility into what is happening at the account level and measuring the impact of your marketing programs is very manual. Leads can slip through the cracks, get routed to the wrong owner, and may not be scored properly.

The good news is processes like lead to account matching have been much more automated and streamlined. This no longer has to be a time-consuming, manual process. Many MOPs teams can get this set up in one day!

Orchestrating an account-centric process

By their very nature, MOPs must be agile to accommodate changing systems, processes, and inputs from contributing teams. They ensure systems are operational to keep the revenue train running. Setting up the foundation is a good first step, but then the team is responsible for the plumbing in the house, or ongoing systems.

Here are a few key steps for ensuring success. Make sure it is clear where MOPs will play a role for ongoing processes. Examples include: supporting target account selection and prioritization, account tagging and routing, contact record white-space analysis and fulfillment, and the ability to score account engagement by minutes and time. Assuming MOPs is the right team to help with these tasks, identify and document a clear process that is followed.

A common mistake many marketing teams make is not being clear on these ongoing processes and documenting the cadence. For example, building out account whitespace could occur monthly, if so, that should be clearly defined with MOPs. If you plan to refresh a percent of target accounts every 6 months, make sure the MOPs team is aware of that so they can be ready to tag new accounts. Lastly, some of the data work or supporting tools takes budget. Have a clear plan to earmark budget for these initiatives.

Reporting on metrics and impact

It’s up to a marketing operations professional to ensure the revenue functions in the business (Marketing, Sales, and Often Customer Success) are tracking against business goals. A big positive with ABM is teams are aligned on goals and outcomes – the focus is accounts. Ideally, the conversation is less about ‘credit’ and more about how teams jointly drove ‘influence’.

ABM reporting historically has been tricky. Marketing often pulls data from marketing automation systems and Sales relies on CRM – there often is not a shared understanding of results. MOPs, with great new technology, can really change the game here – and make sure there is an account centric view of metrics and standard reporting. For those of you getting started, here are a set of ket ABM metrics that show impact from early stage to late that are important to consider.

  • Coverage – Do you have sufficient data, contacts, and account plans for each target account?
  • Awareness– Are the target accounts aware of your company?
  • Engagement – Are the right people at the account spending time with your company? Is that engagement going up or down over time?
  • Reach – Are marketing programs reaching target accounts?
  • Impact – Are ABM activities improving key sales outcomes?

Lastly, reporting for ABM is different. The focus is quality, not volume. This can be a big shift for many teams so below is a great example from VersionOne on how to report out on ABM.

If you work in marketing operations, we’d love to hear your take on ABM – how has it changed the nature of the job since the beginning of the profession in the early 2000s?