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Account Based Marketing (ABM) is designed to help businesses maximise their available marketing and sales resources.

What’s interesting about ABM as a strategy is that this isn’t achieved because it goes broad and wide, but because personalized campaigns are built for targeted accounts. ABM campaigns are narrow, focused and tailored  to specific accounts or even individuals.

Shorten sales cycles and increase deals

The challenge that Account Based Marketing presents within an organization is also one of the key reasons why it’s so successful: In order for an ABM strategy to achieve real, measurable results, it’s critical for the sales and marketing departments to work together.

Here’s the problem though. Marketing and sales departments are only aligned in 22% of companies. In almost 80% of organisations, two departments that should be working hand-in-hand are at best working independently of each other, and at worst actively working against each other.

The great news is that because of this situation, Account Based Marketing presents a very real opportunity to not only shorten your sales cycle and increase deals, but to force your sales and marketing teams to work together – because that’s the only way an ABM campaign will be successful.

Why sales and marketing need to align

Before we unpack how Account Based Marketing forces marketing and sales teams to align with each other, let’s highlight the reasons why you want them to in the first place.

  1. Aligning sales and marketing activities is crucial to securing long-term business with high-value prospects, because you’ll know exactly who to target and why
  2. When sales and marketing work together, you develop a deeper understanding of each account. The more you know about your customer, the greater your ability to solve their challenges, and the higher their satisfaction with you and your team
  3. Revenues and referrals increase when customers are satisfied.

Driving collaboration to achieve results

The question then becomes, how do you create an environment where sales and marketing work well together?

Transparent communication is critical. Start by implementing weekly meetings that include both teams. Each team should share their challenges, wins and what they are currently working on. Your goal is for everyone to gain a deeper understanding of what sales and marketing executives face on a day-to-day basis.

Share insights. Once everyone is used to these weekly meetings and has a deeper understanding of the sales and marketing environments and challenges, introduce a new component to the weekly meeting agenda: Each team must share what they are doing on client accounts.

The goal is to determine where efforts can be combined to improve the overall experience for the account. You also want to encourage sales and marketing to speak the same language so that customers have one unified experience with your brand.

Collaborate. From sharing insights, it’s only a short step to working together to determine the best clients to approach for an ABM campaign. Sales has the inside scoop on why, when and how accounts make purchasing decisions, as well as who the organisation’s highest-value customers are.

With this information, marketing can tailor campaigns to specific accounts; plan for peak times of the year; and assist sales to achieve higher results in shorter time frames thanks to a targeted approach.

The role of technology and training

Technology and training are also important. CRM platforms and other tech solutions can pave an effective and efficient pathway to integration between sales and marketing, ensuring everyone has access to and is working from the same information.

Too many businesses have silos within their organisations, and the result isn’t only inefficiencies and wasted resources, but a lack of critical information for everyone to work from.

In our experience, there is a wealth of information within the different teams in an organisation – the problem is that no one is sharing what they know about their customers; not because they’re jealously guarding their territory, but because the systems, processes and most of all platforms aren’t in place to ensure everyone has access to the same information.

Every client interaction and titbit of knowledge should be captured, saved and frequently referred to, which is the basis of ABM.

Training is also necessary for a number of reasons. First, most CRM platforms and systems require some training. Second, the more you train on the importance of sales and marketing alignment – and more importantly, what each individual needs to do to contribute to alignment – the more it will become second nature for sales and marketing to work together.

Aligned businesses see higher returns

According to research conducted by Oracle, a third of marketing departments say that their biggest challenge is maintaining personalised and consistent relationships with their customers.

The key to achieving both is understanding who your customer is and what they need. When marketing and sales work in isolation, valuable insights and information are not shared. When they work together however, a far more holistic picture forms, changing the way you can communicate with your clients.

These insights also form the basis of ABM campaigns: They inform who your high-value targets are, what challenges they are facing and how you need to communicate with them in order to close larger deals in shorter timeframes.

According to SiriusDecisions, B2B organisations with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations achieve 24% faster three-year revenue growth and 27% faster three-year profit growth.

The trick is just to get started.

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