You don’t have to do much digging to uncover a major hurdle many organizations face: the alignment of objectives, priorities, and strategies across Sales and Marketing teams. In fact, depending on who you believe, we have an epidemic.
A study by ReachForce indicates that 50% of sales reps simply ignore marketing leads. On the flip side, HubSpot reports that the vast majority of content marketers (more than 75%) completely overlook sales enablement content. And according to IDC, companies who fail in the marketing-sales alignment game are set up to lose up 10% or more of their revenue pie every single year.
But what happens when you get marketing and sales alignment right?
- Your customer retention rates increase by 36% (MarketingProfs)
- You can generate up to 209% more revenue (Marketo)
- You can achieve a 20% Annual Growth Rate (Aberdeen Research Group)
So why do so many organizations struggle to align Sales and Marketing teams? They likely aren’t working as a team with unified priorities and objectives. One major benefit of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is that it eliminates the glass wall between Sales and Marketing by involving everyone in the upfront strategy, as well as the execution.
By working on a program that targets Sales’ top accounts by incorporating high touch, one-to-one outreach, and personalized content, Sales and Marketing end up working in tandem to orchestrate and implement programs that net great ROI. This partnership, a natural byproduct of the ABM approach, is also fundamental for success.
But First, a Quick ABM Refresher
ABM is a B2B demand generation strategy that enables your team to effectively prioritize resources based on the anticipated return of an account. It’s all about getting the most impact through strategic, targeted campaigns. Simply, resources are used to implement a unified, relationship-building program built specifically for a clearly defined set of target accounts within a market. By default, ABM brings high-value accounts front and center for the Sales and Marketing teams to approach in unison, and at its core, provides a multi-touch, personalized campaign to engage your highest priority accounts.
Note that when discussing ABM we refer to “accounts” rather than “leads” or “people.” This is because in the typically longer-cycle B2B sales efforts, the buying decision is often made by a team of people rather than a single, holy grail, C-titled stakeholder. Hence, the goal of an ABM campaign is to introduce your target account’s entire team of decision-makers and stakeholders to your company and its offerings.
An effective ABM strategy offers multiple avenues to secure touchpoints with a varied group of folks working together at the same organization. ABM steers your key buyer personas (as well as their support staff and decision-making peers) into the educational content world created by your inbound marketing efforts.
We can’t stress this enough: there is no ABM strategy in existence that will net ROI without the support of an empowered Sales team.
As target accounts move through the buyer’s journey and shift out of the top-of-funnel (TOFU) marketing campaign phase and into the more bottom-of-funnel (BOFU) positions, your ABM strategy needs to address how best to empower Sales personnel with tools that assist in creating a seamless transition in communication.
This challenge is overcome by ensuring that your organization’s Marketing team places a priority on developing the resources, training, and content that sales reps need in order to effectively assist their leads with making a final purchasing decision.
ABM PlayBook Handoff
To ensure a seamless experience for your target accounts, it is critical that your Sales team has a detailed understanding of all the touchpoints leads have had, and a clear understanding of how they are expected to follow up. Don’t just hand them a set of enablement materials and check out. Do yourself a favor and develop an ABM Playbook. You wouldn’t want to work this hard only to trip just steps short of the finish line!
Just prior to launch, provide Sales with the ABM playbook so they have an at-a-glance view of each campaign and any associated actions they should take (with corresponding materials). This ensures that everyone in your organization is on the same page and understands the next steps and expectations.
Ready to Have Better Alignment Across Sales and Marketing? Get Our Detailed ABM Guide!
Quick Start ABM: How to Build Your Strategy and Drive Revenue—covers the core elements of ABM and details the steps to launching a successful program!