Marketing & sales alignment is among the key factors that play a major role in determining the success of any business. Many B2B companies are starting to embrace Account-Based marketing or ABM for their overall marketing endeavors. ABM perfectly underpins the conventional, short-term marketing objective of harboring leads with strategies aimed at driving revenue growth in the long-term.
In this blog post, we’ll be talking about ABM and how businesses can improve their marketing and sales alignment around it. But before we jump right to it, let’s try and understand why B2B companies must have their marketing and sales team aligned.
Why have Marketing & Sales Alignment?
A recent study by Celsius International suggests that organizations whose marketing and sales teams are aligned have a success rate of 67%. Furthermore, having an aligned marketing and sales team can help your company generate revenue faster by 32% in comparison to organizations without an alignment.
Even though most companies acknowledge the need for marketing and sales alignment, in reality, a majority of B2B firms struggle with this. As it happens, 90 percent of B2B marketers consider aligning with the organization’s sales team as one of the top challenges.
The same sentiment applies to the sales team. The lack of alignment between the sales & the marketing team arises because both teams aren’t on the same page. Sales focus on obtaining the accounts of potential clients while marketing prioritizes on building relationships with them.
Nonetheless, if your company is struggling due to marketing and sales misalignment, you can solve this by getting both the teams to share a common objective; generating revenue. And that’s where account-based alignment can help.
What’s Account-Based Marketing?
“ABM is all about building better quality relationships; the ROI will follow.”- Andy Bacon, B2B Marketing
Account-based marketing has experienced a staggering revival. In fact, a 2017 survey showed that 81 percent of B2B marketers currently practice ABM. This is quite an improvement from the year before, which was 49%.
In simple terms, ABM is a strategic practice that syncs personalized marketing and sales efforts to engage a specific set of accounts for building new business associations and also creating broader and deeper relationships with current clients.
Amidst all the B2B marketing trends, ABM may seem like a new buzzword in the B2B marketing scene, it isn’t. B2B companies have been practicing ABM for a long time now, especially by those brands that market to companies where more than one stakeholder is present in the buying decision journey.
ABM helps B2B companies to engage with the stakeholders within the organization, enabling you to recognize their needs and maximize your chances of making a sale. As the focus of the B2B sales team on critical accounts for generating revenue grows and new automation tools emerge, more and more organizations are leveraging different strategies to develop and practice an ABM strategy.
Benefits of ABM
Account-based marketing is quite similar to content marketing. The only major difference between the two is that in ABM, you speak and sell directly to a specific set of accounts instead of a broader audience. This practice offers some key benefits, such as:
- Better customer service: 86% of consumers are willing to spend more for better customer experience. Since the ABM approach allows you to focus on specific accounts, you’ll be able to offer more personalized service, content, and engagement to accounts with your brand.
- More united team: As both the marketing and sales target the same accounts, they’ll be to work more transparently together because both sides have the same goal in mind. And since both teams are synchronized around the same objective, they’ll work more efficiently together and will likely achieve that goal.
- Reduced sales cycle: When your marketing team delivers resources to targeted accounts, it’ll help in making those prospective accounts understand your brand better and allow them to see what it’ll be like to work with you, which, in turn, can help in shrinking the sales cycle.
Engaging and delivering valuable content to the broader team is just as important. However, if your focus is on making your teams work for the same goal and growing your brand without having to scrap every content work you’ve already started, ABM might just be the right approach.
Now that it’s clear that account-based marketing can significantly help you in aligning your marketing and sales team, here are a few tips to use ABM for aligning your team:
Identify target accounts
Just like any other marketing campaign, you need to identify your clients and target them. In most cases, it refers to a broad group of prospective clients that you categorize into different personas by using the information you have about them. On the contrary, in account-based marketing, you give it a notch by determining and listing the accounts you prefer as customers.
These accounts could either be small startups, major organizations, or a dream client that you’ve always wished to work with. However, the specifics don’t matter much as compared to the accounts’ names, so start there. Identify who you wish to work with and list them down.
Dig more to Know them
Once you’ve got your list of the accounts you wish to work with, you need to start digging. You must know exactly who you’re dealing with within these accounts and what type of content resonates with them before targeting them with any messaging.
Find out the decision-makers and details about their job. This will provide you with some inputs about who you’re targeting specifically and how your brand can make this target’s job and life easier. Identify the type of stories and content they resonate with and what do they rely on for information and use this insight to plan your next step.
Brainstorm and craft targeted campaigns
After you’ve identified your targeted individuals and accounts, you need to create personalized campaigns that resonate with them. Do note that developing as well as nurturing relationships is vital for the success of an ABM strategy. This means you’re more likely to succeed if you provide valuable education and consultation, all charted to the client’s buying cycle.
By providing on-point content and messages, buying committee associates might share it amongst their colleagues. Make sure to truly personalize the content for every individual within the account as it’ll help in instilling confidence in your brand as a trusted partner and advisor.
Pinpoint optimal channels
If you want to reach the stakeholders and target accounts, you need to pinpoint which platforms they use the most to research solutions and trends. This might vary depending on the role or industry. Therefore, the one-size-fits-all approach won’t work here.
Execute your campaigns
Sales and marketing connect with accounts individually by utilizing a personalized approach that best resonates with each member within the account. Campaigns can include a wide range of tactics, including special events, ads, direct mail, email, etc. Since relationships drive an account-based marketing approach, use that to plan your outreach.
Measure & optimize
Measuring your ABM results is not the same as measuring the impact of conventional lead-generation strategies. When it comes to account-based marketing strategy, sales and marketing are both accountable for driving revenue and pipeline. You prioritize moving accounts and not individuals via the buying cycle.
Aside from tallying account engagement, track opportunities created, and closed-won deals along with their value. Provide your teams with enough time to produce results in unison with the traditional purchasing cycle and then optimize your tactic and strategy as necessary.
The bottom line
In conclusion, account-based marketing, when applied correctly, will do more than just create a cohesive marketing and sales alignment. This marketing strategy can help in streamlining your sales cycle and maximize your revenue.
My name is Lauren Williams, currently working as a SMM at MedicoReach. I have been working in the B2B healthcare industry for a decade now. Through my blogs, I keep the industry updated on latest trends, development, and advances across the various segments.