In a previous blog, we discussed the key components to successfully implement an account based strategy. From there, we talked about the connection points between ABM and ABS. In a follow-up blog, we then identified potential gaps in the process and how to optimize a martech stack for ABM success. A strategic and holistic account based strategy built across both sales and marketing is a major undertaking to implement, but after all is said and done, it’s time to reap the revenue rewards.
We all know that sales and marketing alignment is necessary for an account-based approach to work effectively. But knowing and doing are two separate things, which is why many organisations seek external guidance. According to Demand Gen Report research, 22% of companies use an agency or a consulting partner to set an overall ABM strategy, and 15% use outside experts to help with alignment between sales and marketing departments.
Once an aligned approach across ABM and ABS is in place, companies experience major payoffs. As the ITSMA research cited earlier showed, 87% of marketers with an implemented ABM program say it provides higher ROI than any other type of marketing. In addition, Demand Gen Report research found 74% of organizations say their ABM efforts are either meeting or exceeding their organizational goals.
Ultimately, the cohesive partnership between sales and marketing teams is fundamental to then determine which accounts to target, which contacts within the account to engage with, and which metrics to track and gauge interest in when purchasing the right solution. Sales and marketing must work as a team to not only engage with the right prospects at the right moment, but also to close the deal. Buyers interact with sales further down the funnel, which means marketing must be fully prepared to set the stage once they get there.
Bob Peterson, Senior Research Director for Account-Based Marketing at SiriusDecisions, summed up this reality in a recent blog post:
“Effective ABM execution is no accident. It requires thoughtful cross-functional planning that incorporates contributions from multiple roles in sales and marketing. With a little more than a third of B2B companies noting tight alignment between sales and marketing in ABM, there certainly is room for improvement.”
The competition will continue to fight for a customer’s attention but an account-based approach could be the method needed to set a company apart from others in the market. With the right expertise and a thoughtful, intentional plan, the sales and marketing departments can become one collaborative team, which will make the switch to ABM an easy investment with a very rewarding return.
So how is this departmental alignment done? It’s crucial to incorporate an open and cohesive communication plan between the sales and marketing teams.
One way to start open communication is to use a survey to allow members of the departments to provide their feedback and suggestions for improvement regarding what sales needs from marketing, what marketing should continue to do or should stop doing, etc. With this foundation, it’s easier to have conversations to establish:
- Agreement on lead level lead
- Whether lead level changes depending on the title, industry, or function of the lead
- How sales currently works with their SDR team
- The methodology used when sales sets account targets
Without these (and many more) questions to start the conversation, an ABM approach can suffer.
Develop the fundamental communication structure amongst the teams, take action on the necessary changes, and continue to thoroughly exchange new ideas and needs between one another. With a heavy emphasis on the importance of alignment and cohesion, in-depth communication and having a true understanding of both parties is the major artery to the life of a successful ABM method.