So your team has a new VP of demand gen to get you all the hot inbound leads you can handle. Where to start? The first thing a new demand gen VP would need to do is sit down with the head of sales (yes, sales!) and figure out what the measures of success look like for account-based marketing. The two leaders should make sure they're going after the same set of companies and targets so they can tailor their programs to complement each others' efforts. This will help create efficiencies around how the team allocates budget and headcount, and prevent random work that's not driving to any real results.
Account-based selling pushes up into higher-end customers and allows teams the luxury to afford a level of precision. From a demand-gen standpoint, the way you aggregate small customers makes a large difference. The more cost-effectively you can do your business, the better off you'll be. Every company needs to figure out the economics of their funnels, the customer acquisition costs for different profiles, etc. Once you've figured that out, it's time to determine how to convert. Keep in mind that, even if you start with an account-based program, you will probably need to build an inbound functionality as time goes on and your pipeline grows.
There's no simple one-size-fits-all answer here: it depends on the stage of the company. The plays you'll make as a large company will differ from what a smaller company might do. The biggest challenge demand-gen companies have is making sure they deploy the right playbook.
Early-stage marketers will go under if they try to deploy the playbook of enterprise companies. With this in mind, step back and make sure you have the right playbook. There are different playbooks for different companies, but there's an emerging category around using A.I. to figure out who your target market is.
Lead generation also needs to be redefined and more data driven; today, it's mostly people sitting in a room and arguing over which assets leads should get. If it were to shift, it would help lead gen teams to move leads through the pipeline and make more sales. Modern marketing needs to help sales understand how to use all the marketing content and why it was built in the first place. Sales teams should function more like marketers, and marketers need to adopt a sales team mindset. Tools like email automation can help.
The modern SDR process is unscientific and not scalable. The good news is that when sales and marketing teams focus on alignment and measurable results, and add in the right technology, it becomes easier and more streamlined for various teams. Bridging the gap between sales and marketing and content helps solve the problem of middle-funnel stalling.
Account-based marketing is an important play for many companies, but it's not the only answer. When you start to build your stack and invest dollars, know what you're solving for, and make sure both sales and marketing are on board. Find your right playbook and make sure everything you're doing is solving for where you're going. From a sales and marketing perspective, aligning all the investments and activities is an effective way to move toward a common goal.