How to build a joint account-based strategy between sales and marketing

Posted August 28, 2017

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By Serena Miller

Editor, Sales Best Practices at Outreach

Today, we're here to talk about the collaboration between sales and marketing and how to make it better. Historically, sales and marketing have existed as separate but not quite equal entities, sometimes making it difficult for companies to move forward and achieve goals in a cohesive and efficient manner.

Every company wants to make their account-based marketing more efficient, but "how?" remains the critical question. Streamlining the process is especially difficult when you consider how much technology stands to be adopted today.

Fortunately, we're breaking it down step by step. Read on.

What Is Account-Based Marketing?

Before account-based marketing, there was just marketing. And that's what has historically led to the disconnect between sales and marketing teams. After all, most marketers understand the unique frustration that comes with having sales tell you "these leads aren't good enough," "There aren't enough leads" or "The quality of the leads isn't what it should be."

The benefit of account-based marketing is that it offers an evolution between sales and marketing that allows sales and marketing teams to develop a joint strategy for going after accounts. By aligning the sales and marketing goals, it makes everything from messaging to positioning more efficient.

One question many people have is that, while account-based marketing is new, the connection between sales and marketing is not - so how is it solving a new problem? The answer is that it offers a tighter alignment at the top. This provides a unified strategy for going to market and serves to make marketing efforts and sales efforts more intertwined and coupled.

Others say account-based marketing allows companies to go from net fishing to spearfishing, or from a broad approach to a more targeted and efficient one. By decreasing the "spray and pray" approach, account-based marketing allows companies to use their dollars more efficiently toward accounts.

What Kind Of Promises Does Account-Based Marketing Offer?

So what will CEOs see at the end of a turn toward account-based marketing? Like any other digital transformation initiative, you're hoping to see efficiencies, but that's never enough. You'll also need some assumptions about the ROI in everything from pipeline acceleration and growth to reduction in the cost per opportunity.

The tricky part is rolling this out to many sellers.

Keep in mind, though, that it doesn't go from 0-60. Instead, there's a great deal of preparatory work that involves changing the strategy and discussion and getting the agreement that metrics will shift from leads generated to accounts lifted. When you start with executive and management level alignment, you can extend the rollout to sellers more efficiently.

Segmentation is also critical. You'll need different strategies for the market to make the most of the system's efficiency. The tighter you can align your approach to use-case scenarios, the better.

How Do You Change People's Mentality To Adopt An Account-Based Model?

New technology and new processes require everyone to change. And, as is true with many things, this change often starts with leadership. For the tools to work, leadership has to buy in. If leadership doesn't buy in entirely, you'll see weak adoption. If leadership buys in, however, they can succeed at driving, enforcing and rewarding the change, which allows things to progress much more smoothly.

Change agents are also essential. They act as the strong sellers internally and step up as people who can reach across the table to sales or marketing and take both sides of the fence for the purpose of doing it together. This cooperation is essential in the world of account-based marketing, and is one of the only things that will ensure its success.

How Does Infrastructure Change?

What is new, old and repurposed in account-based sales? Marketers need to move toward data being more important, which they've been doing for many years. Data is at a critical level now, though, so paying attention to it is essential.

Customer data, website data and similar data sets are more important than they've ever been, and finding new ways to relate to them can help improve the success of account-based marketing. Companies that offer IP-based advertising are also cropping up as essential since they provide in-depth buying signals.

While sales and marketing have been around for a long time, they aren't as manual as they used to be. Today, the amount of technology available for marketing and sales needs to work with workflow, automation, intelligence, etc. This helps promote a fully functional system and reduces inefficiencies wherever they exist.

This cuts out nonproductive time and enhances efficiency. Plus, sales and marketing is the place where digital transformation is happening in a real way. By implementing these technologies, you'll see a real change in your sales and marketing right away.

So, there you have it: go out, get involved, get dirty and find new ways to make your sales and marketing work together. With the adoption of account-based marketing comes a decrease in inefficiencies, a more enjoyable workflow and better cooperation between the different branches of your company - all of which boost your bottom line and make for an upwardly mobile trajectory.


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