Talking Shop Tuesday with Wendy White: Account-based sales and marketing

Posted December 5, 2017

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By Chelsey Feldman

Product Marketing at Outreach

Welcome to Talking Shop Tuesday, where we sit down with sales and marketing leaders to learn their tips for achieving #peakexcellence.

Today, we're chatting with marketing executive Wendy White about the ins and outs of account-based sales and marketing, and how they apply to the modern world.

As a marketer, the last thing you want to hear from sales is "not enough leads," or "the quality of leads isn't there." Unfortunately, many marketers are very familiar with such statements. What's the solution? How do sales and marketing reach across the table to one another to create a more intelligent, account-based solution?

The answer is account-based sales. This approach represents an evolution from the "low-quality leads" conversation, because it allows marketing and sales teams to work together to identify target accounts and develop a joint strategy for going after them. Our CEO, Manny Medina, and SVP of Revenue Ops, Matt Millen, talk to Wendy White about the importance of an aligned account-based sales and marketing strategy.

Why account-based sales and marketing matter

According to White, account-based sales and marketing are important because often there is very little alignment between the sales and marketing teams. This leads to inefficient messaging, lost prospects, and an inability to leverage the broader message.

While account-based sales and marketing are new, they solve a problem that's existed forever. This happens through tighter alignment at the top of the sales funnel. By unifying strategy and aligning marketing and sales efforts, this approach intertwines workflows.

White says the account-based method represents a shift from "net fishing" to "spearfishing." With account-based marketing, it's possible to use dollars more efficiently against a known set of accounts and a known play strategy.

The modern workplace's guide to adoption

As with any other digital transformation initiative, those adopting this approach hope for efficiencies in the way the work gets done and the way people do the work. That's not enough on its own, though.

With account-based sales and marketing, teams need to anticipate the return on investment from pipeline acceleration and reduction in cost-per-opportunity. It's metrics like these that CEOs need to be able to build accurate models that they can plug into their selling equations.

Wondering how to change people's mentality to adopt this account-based model? White says, "Everybody needs to change." When leadership communicates the value and impact of these tools, adoption grows. Meanwhile, leadership has to drive, reinforce and reward the change. According to White, "There's usually a change agent" in any given company, referring to someone who is a persuasive internal seller and can reach across the table from sales to marketing or vice versa. "It takes both sides of the fence to do it together," she notes.

It's also smart to address the required change of infrastructure associated with the account-based model, says White. "Your customer data, behavior data on the website, data you can see about what they're doing in the marketplace ... all those things are equally important or more important now. There's also a new layer of tools on top of that." While this approach may sound too technical for many, it's important to remember that implementation is simple, just as long as the whole team is on board.

The future of sales and marketing

If you ask White, this approach is the future of email automation, account-based sales, sales emails, and more. "Sales and marketing is the place where digital transformation is actually happening in a real way," she says, "because of that ability to implement these technologies and see a real impact in your sales and marketing effort, immediately."


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