Michael De Boer
February 19, 2016
I’ll preface this post by saying that one of the main reasons I play in bands is that I can then avoid being on the dance floor. I’ve just never been comfortable with the whole lead your partner and following defined patterns of movement thing. However, I love playing music that gets people dancing and now in my business endeavors, I focus on making marketing and sales dance together in rhythm and harmony.
Instead of “three chords and the truth” and a good groove, my secret sauce to success in the marketing and sales dance is Account Based Marketing (ABM). ABM is a strategic approach to business marketing whereby we consider and communicate with individual prospects or customer accounts as markets-of-one.
A successful ABM strategy treats each account as its own market (a market-of-one), with its own set of prime stakeholders. By focusing on the entire customer account, we reject the old channel-first practice of engaging leads. Instead, we focus on identifying potential leads before beginning the process of channel-based activation.
Our ABM strategy includes bleeding edge buyer intent data to become an even more precise, powerful tool. Common sense (and history) tells us that if we have two or more marketers selling the same product and competing for the same customer’s business, the marketer with the highest level of information about that particular customer will have a stronger competitive edge and highest likelihood to win (and retain) that business.
It’s easy to see why ABM is fast becoming the most powerful tool available for B2B marketers. It allows the leveraging of large amounts of data combined with marketing automation to identify and target prospects in a manner that greatly compresses the sales cycle by adding relevance to our messaging and communications. ABM marketers engage with the entire ecosystems of their buyers in a meaningful way while adding value to the numerous and often complex interactions that take place along the path-to-purchase.
Typically, only 20% of your customers are in market at any given time. Also, there are usually a number of players who are involved in making any major purchase decisions. Through intent analysis integrated with ABM, we can identify, in real-time, the active 20% of the market. We also see where they are in the buying journey and then match our messaging to their needs.
The success of the ABM approach hinges on its ability to maneuver the complexity of the B2B customer journey. Usually a lot of players are involved in making important purchasing decisions. ABM effectively targets this ecosystem and identifies the key decision makers to begin the customer acquisition process, all while optimizing resources and efficiencies.
OK, lets get back to the dance floor where we have sales and marketing flopping around like Elaine Benes from Seinfeld. We need to align these two partners and get them moving together. ABM effectively aligns your Sales and Marketing teams.
In our new aligned ABM model, organizations integrate their tactical marketing efforts with defined sales goals, in addition to applying a regular feedback loop from sales to identify new potential markets. For ABM to succeed, this unified working relationship with Sales is essential and Marketing needs to be measuring and optimizing based on accounts.
Marketing delivers the valuable customer information to develop a successful pitch. Sales then gets back to marketing with their first-hand insight to help with the creation of stronger leads. This back-and-forth between sales and marketing becomes the dance that builds business success. Both partners need each other for things to go smoothly, and both are essential for growth.