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Published in Account Based Marketing category on (06/10/2016)

How an Effective ABM Strategy Leads to Sales and Marketing Alignment

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Why Your ABM Strategy is the First Step to Selling Like A Team

What’s your Account Based Marketing (ABM) strategy, and how would you describe the relationship between your sales and marketing teams? In CallidusCloud Study of Sales and Marketing Sentiment survey, 84% of sales and marketing teams are misaligned, which means that the majority of B2B companies do not have a symbiotic relationship. While sales and marketing teams have the same goals to generate revenue, the two are often misaligned in how they perform analysis, and measure success differently. This misalignment can create a deeper divide between the two teams, and a work environment where both teams blame each other when goals are not met. So how can an effective account based marketing (ABM) strategy help create sales and marketing alignment so that selling can feel like a team sport?

Part of what creates the marketing and sales divide is the perception of who is responsible for generating leads, how many, and so forth. Currently, according to SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall, sales teams are responsible for 75% of demand creation, while marketing consistently generates 25% of leads. What does this mean?

When a qualified lead moves through the sales funnel from SAL to SQL, a critical hand-off occurs from marketing generation and becomes the sales team’s responsibility, and sales is responsible for closing the deal. So how can marketers develop key ABM strategies to help the sales team fill their funnel?

There are three major stages of the buying cycle, according to Hubspot. Leads need to become aware of your product or service, they then need to evaluate your offering to see if it’s the right fit for their company’s needs, and finally, prospects have to make their buying decision. So, with strategic content mapping, marketing teams can accelerate the buyer’s journey. What do marketers need to keep in mind when doing this?

  1. Personalize Your Marketing Creating personalized and relevant content results in engaged prospects and a higher rate of lead conversion. The personalization of content partially has to do with timing and where your prospect is in the buyer’s journey, but also to the specific needs of your company. Is the company you’re targeting a SMB and or an enterprise prospect? Does your contact have deep product knowledge and need to learn best practices, or are they gathering up information for an RFP and need a deep dive guide? Matching the asset to the prospect’s need is an essential component in effective ABM.  
  2. Focus on the Customer Experience Think of how you can deliver content to your customers in the most enjoyable way to increase engagement. For example, video is the most viewed form of content across social media channels, so create short video case studies so that your prospects can gather the information that they need quickly and easily about your company, without any hassles.
  3. Track the Data and Results Every marketing interaction can be tracked and evaluated. What was the click-through rate for your email marketing campaign? How many leads visited your blog, clicked a CTA, and then converted by filling out a form on your landing page? Did anyone attend a session or webinar that you hosted? It’s essential to track all aspects of your marketing campaigns so that you can A/B test, find out what’s working, what isn’t, refine, reiterate, and develop sophisticated campaigns that lead to conversions.

However, if marketing teams are only responsible for 25% of lead pipeline, this means that the majority of your sales pipeline is dependent on your sales team. In order for sales teams to benefit from effective ABM campaigns, they need to be actively prospecting so that marketing teams can help accelerate the buyer’s journey.

So, what are the most successful tactics for sales prospecting? Popular tactics for sales prospecting include cold calling, using a sales data provider to contact prospects directly or via email, social selling, and event-based selling. Effective sales teams often employ a mix of these prospecting strategies, but these strategies are only as effective as the processes that are in-place.

Sales operations must track and analyze trends to evaluate whether they’re going in the right direction. Here’s how to set-up processes for sales prospecting:

  • Establish formal prospecting processes
  • Find contacts via referrals, social selling, and customer databases
  • Research prospects through corporate websites, financial reports, and industry news
  • Connect with prospects via messaging and content

Once sales and marketing teams have ABM processes and strategies in place, marketing and sales teams are in the position to work effectively together. Delineation of who is responsible for what, and clearly outlining what content goes to which type of lead during what stage of the funnel helps both teams improve the buyer’s journey, and eventually, the customer experience. Marketing and sales alignment enables effective ABM campaigns, so by working together, both teams can achieve their goals and generate more revenue.

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