What’s every business dream come true? Yes, it is the alignment of their sales and marketing teams. It may sound impossible to many, but with conscious efforts, right tools and healthy communication it is an achievable task. It is also very important to align sales and marketing teams for thriving account-based marketing. Before we dwell further in detail on how to align the sales and marketing teams, let’s understand what exactly Account Based Marketing is.
So what is Account Based Marketing?
Account-based marketing is a smart alternative to its native B2B (Business to Business) marketing. So basically, Account-based marketing (ABM) is a business marketing strategy that targets highly researched, refined leads only. It uses personalized campaigns which are designed specifically for each lead based on their attributes.
The Account Based Marketing provides a holistic view of marketing as it is beyond just lead generation. Account Based Marketing is getting extremely popular among B2B companies that target larger accounts because of its personalized marketing approach. It also helps in the alignment of sales and marketing teams.
Account-based marketing basically flips the sales funnel and focuses on a small set of account based leads. Therefore instead of blindly targeting thousands of unqualified leads, ABM targets only on high quality, sales qualified leads.
According to Marketo, 80% of marketers who track ROI claim that Account Based marketing outperforms other marketing strategies. Also, 97% marketers agree that ABM has “somewhat” or “much” higher ROI than other marketing initiatives.
So why the alignment of Sales and Marketing teams essential for thriving ABM?
To get the most out of Account Based Marketing, alignment of sales and marketing teams is crucial. Here we list the reasons:
- Improvement in the conversion rates: When sales and marketing teams are in perfect alignment it leads to the improvement in the conversion rates. Account-based marketing strategy ensures that the two of these are well aligned.
- Customer retention: When sales and marketing teams are aligned with each other, 67% of the leads are more likely to convert. Also, the alignment of these two teams leads to 38% higher customer retention rates.
Therefore, Account Based Marketing strategy is a great way to align sales and marketing teams together. For thriving Account-based marketing alignment of sales and marketing is an absolute requirement.
How to align Sales and Marketing teams for thriving ABM?
Communication is the key:
As obvious as it sounds, communication is the key to align Sales and Marketing teams. On most of the cases that we hear, poor communication between the two teams is the root cause behind a poor marketing strategy. Therefore, it is of pivotal importance that both teams maintain a healthy source of communication. Timely meetings, discussions, maintaining a drafted common agenda can help them achieve their goals. While it is easy to play the blame game if a marketing strategy fails, it takes a lot of determination and commitment to align the sales and marketing teams together. Here we list out, how to maintain proper communication between the sales and marketing teams.
- Look at the broader picture: Both the teams should share a common goal, which is quite obviously converting the leads into revenue. Therefore no team must lose sight of it. Both of them should keep their egos aside and work together to achieve the ultimate goal of lead conversion.
- Share ideas: While there are times where sales and marketing teams get competitive among each other, it is very important to share their ideas with each other. This way both teams will understand the expectations that have of, with each other. Sharing ideas will also lead to an improved approach toward lead conversion.
- Understand that sharing goals also means sharing success: Most of the time, sales and marketing teams forget that ultimately it is their combined efforts which brought upon the fate of their marketing strategy. Be it success or failure of the campaign, sales and marketing teams share equal responsibility. Thus, both the teams should avoid the blame game and understand that sharing goals also means sharing success.
Planning: For thriving Account-based marketing it is important that both teams should focus on Accounts first, leads second. As stated earlier, ABM operates by flipping the sales funnel, therefore the emphasis is laid upon the small set of qualified leads rather than targeting a bunch of irrelevant leads blindly. Account-based marketing strategy works upon a basic formula:
ICP = IAP + IBP
ICP = Ideal Customer Profile
IAP = Ideal Account Profile
IBP = Ideal Buyer Profile
ICP is the ideal customer profile which consists of the highest quality sales qualified leads. IAP is the ideal Account profile is the one which considers the industry, annual revenue, number of employees, location, technology stack, and budget. Ideal Buyer Profile is the one where factors like demographics, role and seniority are considered. Thus, Ideal Customer Profile is the sum of the Ideal Account Profile and Ideal Buyer Profile.
Both the sales and marketing teams should adhere to this plan to gain the maximum out of Account-Based Marketing. Again, the formula is the holistic approach towards a thriving ABM and not the absolute one.
Execution: With a solid plan in place, execution is only a matter of determination and consistency. Both the teams need to function as two wheels of the same vehicle. Here are the steps which need to be followed:
- Define Target Accounts: Properly define the target accounts which you want to be considered. Defining target accounts should be based upon the formula: ICP = IAP+IBP. Once you have it defined, start targeting them religiously.
- Build Customer Personas: In Account Based Marketing building customer personas. In account-based marketing building, customer personas can help a great deal for targeting account based leads. Customer personas are the ideal projection of a sales qualified lead. Customer personas take into consideration demographics, pain points, titles, email addresses and other relevant information about a lead. We at BizProspex provide services such as finding high-quality fresh leads which can help a great deal to build customer personas.
- Integrate ABM into multi-channel strategy: This implies integrating ABM into personal emails, phone calls, meetings among others. Sales and marketing teams both participate in the integration. However, it is the marketing team’s responsibility to set up the communication and marketing strategy which also includes pushing content on websites, social channels and emails.
Accept criticism and course correction: All said and done, it is important to accept criticism if things go wrong and devise a refreshed strategy by keeping the above principles in mind. Right mindset of both the teams is essential for alignment.
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