Is Account-based Marketing the Best Thing for Sales?
ABM delivers superior results, for anyone in tech marketing and sales: this is now old news.
According to a SiriusDecisions 2019 State of Account-Based Marketing Study, 99% of the respondents said they experienced higher engagement with ABM, 80% said they felt their win rate was higher when they used ABM backed methods, 90% said they experienced higher ROI while 73% said their average deal size was higher when they used an ABM strategy to target priority accounts.
Sales is always focused on closing accounts. Marketing is meant to warm up a target audience with a chain of multichannel activities. If Marketing and Sales work more closely on joint Account-based Marketing campaigns, the tighter alignment between the two can potentially impact a company’s bottomline, creating better long-term revenues.
Account-based marketing is not meant only for marketers to follow through on. When looked at as a core strategy by both teams or all functions, especially those responsible for revenue generation, the company as a whole is bound to experience significant benefits.
While the marketplace continues to evolve with new processes and technologies influencing how marketing and sale teams manage their prospecting efforts and sales development initiatives, the introduction of new technology will always introduce new methodologies.
There are a host of ABM tools for marketing and sales to deploy in order to get the most out of their ABM campaigns. What matters most is that both the teams work together towards a common goal and defined company objective, by focusing efforts on a pre-decided set of target accounts.
Here’s why more Sales teams should embrace ABM and work closely with their Marketing counterparts to grab more results.
ABM Helps Achieve Better Alignment Between Teams
According to an earlier SiriusDecisions report, alignment between marketing and sales can drive 36% business growth.
While most experts argue that alignment between the two is the first step towards a sound ABM strategy, what others will agree on is that ABM by itself helps teams achieve that much-needed alignment. Marketing and sales often have overlapping goals, especially at a time when marketers too have to be assessed on the basis of certain key metrics and performance areas. Utilizing the same strategy, leveraging the same customer data and adopting the same process to move buyer’s through their journey (which is what ABM helps do) in many ways creates that formal alignment between the two teams. With both counterparts ensuring that they use the same sales tools and ABM tool to assess the data, this alignment can be deepened to help the overall business and drive profitability.
So in the end, a sound ABM process can help ensure that both the marketing and sales departments are in tune with each other and end up chasing the same accounts with the right tactics.
Sales has Evolved to Being a More Customer-centric Role
With the rise and growing importance of roles like the CSO and CRO, and with the constant innovations in sales technologies, the sales function as a whole has evolved. Other stakeholders in companies are now looking at their sales team to be more customer-friendly. Cold calling efforts have given way to the need for deeper personalization – a feat that is easily achievable with a sound ABM process. A sound ABM process will also help Marketing teams build the right collaterals that can be used by sales in their conversation with prospects.
With new sales technologies changing how sales chases target accounts and books meetings, the need to enhance the overall customer and brand experience while teams interact with prospects is becoming more crucial. If Account-based marketing and Account-based Selling can help the two tighten their alignment and efforts and reduce dispute, it leads to an enhanced buyer and customer experience because the brand as a whole will end up catering to a prospect according to the stage they are in, in their buying journey, with the right message, at the right time – a fundamental that drives any ABM strategy.
When overall customer satisfaction increases, it is easier for both marketing and sales to also retain existing clients besides acquiring new ones.
Better Sales Process
One misstep in a marketing or sales process can affect the potential outcome of any strategy. The basis of any Account-based Marketing / Account-based selling strategy is to identify the ICP or target accounts because this serves as the ground work for any further step.
When both the teams have a defined list of accounts they want to close, and once marketing and sales decides which team hands off an account to the other, an ABM play can be fruitful in successfully moving target accounts towards a sales closure. Most experts have successfully spoken about closing high priority accounts faster with a well set-up Account-based marketing campaign. When the top tier accounts are always known to both teams, the right ABM tools can help sales garner a more in-depth understanding of their priority accounts. It also helps them identify the buying committee within those accounts thereby helping them go after the right decision-makers with the right content and positioning. By leveraging the common ground that a well-thought out ABM process can create between marketing and sales, the overall sales process will end up being more effective leading to shorter sales cycles.
Enhanced Brand Reputation
ABM can improve customer success initiatives and the overall customer experience for both current customers and potential prospects. Given that the fundamental of any ABM campaign is to drop the spray and pray method and ensure that every message is more personalized and aligned to a buyer’s persona and buying journey, this indirect chain and process leads to a better brand reputation. When marketing and sales meet customers where they are in their journey, it boosts how customer interact or view the brand.
While sales automation tools allow sales reps to blast messages in bulk to their prospects, without the right strategy in place, the messaging can be lost if it isn’t in tune with a buyer’s interest and mood of the moment.
This in turn hurts the brand reputation because it leads to prospects losing interest in what a brand has to say. At a time when there is already a growing need and demand for hyper-personalization in tech and B2B marketing and sales campaigns, an ABM strategy helps dovetail personalized messages that are relevant and as per the target audience’s buying stage and role in the company, thereby helping to foster a stronger brand image.
Even if a prospect isn’t ready to give you a sell now, they will remember this experience and be more likely to return to those sales reps when they need a tool or product like yours. If there’s anything technology marketers and sales teams have learnt by now- it’s that creating value helps close enterprise accounts faster.
Lastly, to quote Katie Layng, Vice President of Sales at Demandbase, when it comes to developing your ABM strategy;
- Don’t forget to create a relevant Target Account List, using all the tools available (technographics, firmographics, real-time intent, etc.
- Remember to work closely with your SDR and Marketing counterparts to map out a strategy.
- Understand the key personas (within Key accounts) you’re selling to, from decision-making executives to practitioner stakeholders, and do your homework to understand the prospects’ business so you can tailor the messaging.
- Have a coordinated approach with your SDR on outreach to determine who will reach out to who, and with what message.
- Take a hard look at measuring your efforts throughout the sales cycle.