Hi, everyone. Just want to mention that I recorded this episode before the Coronavirus pandemic. This episode is about five steps to work with sales on ABM. In the current situation, it’s even more important than ever to align with sales to demonstrate marketing’s value-add.
Yes, it’s been more than a month of shelter-in-place for all of us. I didn’t know that staying-at-home could be so exhausting… I am not going to say that we are in this together. Let’s tough it out together. Enjoy the episode. Be safe and stay healthy, my friends.
Good morning from Portland. I had a coffee with a friend yesterday and she asked me what I’ve been working on. I said that I’ve worked with a client on the collaboration between sales and marketing, especially on account-based marketing (ABM). She asked me how to get that started. Her marketing organization doesn’t work closely with sales and it makes sense that she posed the question.
First of all, ABM is a lot of work. There are plenty of things that marketing is doing to keep themselves busy, especially with digital marketing integration, marketing research, most importantly, demand generation.
So here are the five steps that you can work with sales to get ABM started.
1. What marketer needs to do is to make this as a priority as part of an overall marketing plan.
This works best if it’s top-down driven. Make sure that senior marketing managers are in conversation with VP of sales and they agree to put resource and headcount to support it. Basically this needs to be a priority between the two groups.
2. Sales and Marketing agree on accounts that marketing will support.
This can be existing accounts or new accounts. It’s important to agree who these accounts are. I may make this sound easy on the podcast. Trust me, salespeople spend a lot of time to identify the top accounts. Frankly, there are AI-based tools out there to help companies identify key accounts to focus to maximize potential revenue. Lead Crunch is one company that uses AI to identify look-like accounts. So agreeing on accounts is also critical before you can move forward.
3. Marketing needs to spend time under these accounts.
Marketers focus on personas, but sales focus on accounts. This is something that Marketing needs to do their homework to understand account-specific intelligence such as: What kind of products are the companies buying from us? Who are the decision-makers? Who are the influencers? What are some challenges they encounter? What are their pain points? Their pain points may not be the same as a buyer persona’s pain point.
They may be very specific for them in terms of the technology they use. And what are our sales teams game plans to overcome that or drive the conversation with them? So all this is very much account specific. You need to study and understand that. You need to have a conversation with sales about that. Or if they have a platform they use to gather all the email exchanges or some of the information you should go there and check it out. So make an effort to understand the account. This was something I didn’t do very well when I was supporting sales. Hindsight is 20/20!
4. Recommend to Sales what you will do as part of ABM and success metrics: What are you going to do to support them?
Are you running hyper-targeted campaigns for them? Are you customizing and creating specific content for the accounts? Or are you doing a customer event? Be clear on what you will do. Whatever you do, please create your success metrics. Be very clear how you want to measure it. I think it’s very important to set up expectation on your key metrics and have sales agree with that.
5. Set up a process to implement your ABM effort.
No matter what you do, you need a process. It takes time, effort, and money to set up a process to do them. There is no shortcut. If you are doing retargeting, you need to make sure that the back-end from CRM, analytics, content syndication, media buy, to landing pages are all integrated. If you are doing customer events and you need to scale that to 35 events, again you need a process. Also, if you are working on customized collateral, you need a process to make sure that happens. It’s important for you to actually know what needs to be done. And again, everything in terms of ABM, it takes time just to get it started and set up the process to launch it. So be sure you allow the time to do that. And what does that tell you? You have to start planning early!
Ok, I covered 5 steps that you need to do get started.
The reality is that it takes a lot of time, and a lot of time going back and forth on each of the steps and especially set things up and in the implementation stages. So make sure that you have the time and effort to do it right. A lot of time we are under deadlines and we tend to skip steps or not setting the expectation or try to launch anything in haste and do not have the metrics in place. So make sure that you take your time and have the metrics and process in place when you do your ABM.
So, I hope I answered my friend’s question in terms of how to get ABM started with a Sales Team. What about you? How do you get yourself started on ABM with your sales team? If you have any thoughts, I’d love to hear from you.
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Before you leave, make sure to check out the previous podcast episodes.
Stay healthy and be well. Take care.
If you want to learn more about account-based marketing, check out some of the posts and podcast episodes below:
The Hidden Side of Account-Based Marketing