I’ve been in B2B marketing for a long time, and all too often I’ve seen Marketing and Sales organizations interact like squabbling step-brothers — grandstanding, backstabbing, and blaming each other for failure.
Sometimes it is caused by ego or culture, but often it is simply a lack of understanding of how and why to work together for a common goal.
I just finished an Account-Based Marketing project with a Silicon Valley “Big Data” startup and it was striking to me how ABM can become a unifying force for Marketing and Sales teamwork. The client had a lot of things going right in their marketing and sales organization — but still not all the gears were meshing:
- The GOOD NEWS was that Sales had identified large companies in key industries it was calling their “target accounts.” HOWEVER… no real methodology was in place for prioritizing and tiering target accounts. Also, account penetration activities were largely reactive, unplanned, and opportunistic.
- The GOOD NEWS was that Marketing produced a wealth of high-quality content. HOWEVER… the content was not organized and easily accessible to sales and inside sales, and they rarely used marketing content in any sort of prospect engagement strategy.
- The GOOD NEWS was that the company had a large contact database of prospects (by virtue of a decade-long open source campaign which built end-user groundswell). HOWEVER… an account-level view of these contacts — and their organization by use case and buying center and org chart — was not regularly attempted.
ABM increases leverage of resources and builds teamwork
I crafted and deployed an ABM curriculum for the Inside Sales organization entitled “How To Launch ABM in 10 Days, 1 Hour Per Day.” The Inside Sales reps became the focal point of ABM activity, and through a series of prescribed daily 1-hour sprints each Inside Sales rep drove the process.
Inside Sales worked with Sales to tier and prioritize target accounts [read more, free download]. They used D&B Crush Reports and other resources to collect intel for each account, building a strategy for account penetration. They pulled together account level contacts from multiple internal and external data sources and then used a template to automatically assign contacts to various use cases and buying centers. They tapped an ABM email library I had created to pull together message sequences that promoted relevant marketing content for each use case. They worked with Marketing to develop a message and offer sequence including emails and targeted LinkedIn campaigns, promoting educational content (white papers, eBooks, blog posts) and events (webinars, on-campus seminars). Engagement results were compiled in a series of dashboards and reports.
The ABM process naturally brought together Sales and Marketing for a common shared mission.
- Target accounts were now tiered & prioritized. A real penetration strategy for each account was formulated. Sales and Marketing activity against those accounts became proactive, planned and coordinated.
- Marketing content became more accessible and regularly leveraged for prospect engagement.
- An account-level view of the contacts in the database was achieved, with contacts mapped to various buying centers and use cases.
ABM might be just the right solution to get your Sales and Marketing team to operate like a well-oiled machine.