Account-Based Marketing is a strategy that is widely adopted by many B2B marketers. This strategy has proved successful for businesses enabling them to target quality accounts and increase ROI. It focuses on targeting companies not individuals and personalizing content that is relevant to the target account. Although marketing is responsible to personalize content and persuade potential customers, sales teams should not be avoided. Sales teams are at the forefront in any organization as they build connections with potential customers and close deals. Sales teams are crucial for the success of your ABM efforts.
Let’s take a look at how the alignment between sales and marketing can be beneficial for the ABM strategy.
Sales and marketing alignment
The combined efforts of both sales and marketing teams are key for a successful ABM strategy. Finding the right target accounts with the potential to convert is the basis of any good ABM strategy. This is where marketing and sales are necessary. The collaboration of both teams is required to narrow down high-value accounts with business opportunities. When marketing builds content to attract potential customers, the sales team is responsible for lead nurturing and taking these accounts further down the funnel. Through this entire process of determining the target accounts for closing the sales, both the teams need to be on the same page.
Aligning the sales and marketing teams helps improve conversion rates, as both teams collaborate on the entire process. The joined efforts also give you more chances of converting leads into customers. Further, it will also help in retaining the customers for a longer period. Sales and marketing teams can cater to customers in different ways and provide a great customer experience.
Now that you know why sales and marketing alignment is important lets further discuss some important roles that sales teams can play in an ABM strategy.
Determining the Key Stakeholders
As discussed above, ABM starts with determining high-value target accounts that have the potential to convert. Sales teams have in-depth knowledge about the business and have experience in communicating with their customers. They can provide their expertise about which target accounts have the potential to convert. This combined effort can help them get qualified leads at the very beginning.
Along with identifying the target accounts, it is also important to determine the key stakeholders in each account. These stakeholders are the decision-makers and the content will be targeted toward them. The sales team along with the marketing team can identify these stakeholders to target them and eventually persuade them to invest in the company.
Creating Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. While identifying the target accounts it is important to first build your personas. Building your personas will help you look for accounts that are a match with your personas. A buyer persona will include demographic and psychographic information about your customers. It will also help you determine their interests, hobbies, buying habits as well as pain points.
Creating buyer personas will not only help you narrow down your target account list but also build personalized content for them. Sales teams communicate with the customers often and know their customers well. They are aware about what interests the customers and what are their pain points. Contributing this knowledge can help marketing teams carve out the buyer personas. Marketing teams can combine with sales teams to gain their valuable insights while building a buyer persona.
Segmentation in ABM means putting together or grouping the similar accounts. Identifying the commonalities in different account groups can help you build content relevant to each specific group. This can enable you to provide experience to different type of accounts and increase the chances of conversion.
To segment your target accounts, you can start by looking at the type of account. Account type can be leads, prospects, customers or partners. These can be segmented further based on other aspects for example, location, funnel stage, revenue, priority etc. To decide on all of these aspects of segmentation, sales and marketing need to work together so that while selling or marketing they know how to group customers. Both teams must be aware of these segments to avoid any confusion or mistakes.
Although marketing teams deal with creating content, sales teams can offer valuable inputs. There should always be room for discussions, feedback and brainstorming ideas to create the perfect content for your target accounts. As sales teams often communicate with customers, they are knowledgeable about the pain points of their customers. Input from sales teams can help marketing teams come up with content that resonates with the target accounts.
As content is created to target customers in their respective stages in the sales funnel, sales teams can also give their content requirements to the marketing team. For example, if they need emails to educate certain leads, or if they want messaging designed for some target accounts. They can communicate all these requirements to the marketing team. This process will help marketing teams to work on the content that will cater to their target audience.
Tracking and Measurement
Any marketing activities are heavily reliant on data. Tracking and measurement is very important for an ABM strategy. Sales reps use various CRM tools for managing the company’s customer database. It also includes the history of interactions the customers have had with the company. CRM system needs to be analyzed and updated to improve the sales operations and business relationships with the customers.
Clean data is important for a smooth ABM process. Sales reps are responsible for updating the database and removing accounts that are no longer active. This clean and organized database will help the teams focus their efforts on the right customers. It will also help make room for new customers and avoid any confusions. Keeping the contacts database clean is an important aspect of ABM strategy and the sales team plays a key role in making this process seamless.
Build Customer Relationships
Sales reps are the ones who communicate with all the potential prospects. Even though the marketing efforts have attracted these leads, communicating with them and selling the products or service is also an important part of closing the deal. Sales teams have an important role to play here. Also, after the customers have converted the sales teams can remain in touch to solve any of their queries or problems. This will provide a valuable customer experience and help build a long-term business relationship with the customer.
Many businesses are now seeing the importance of getting their sales team on board with Account-based marketing strategy. Sales teams play a vital role when it comes to building strong relationships with the customers. Therefore, it is important to involve them in the entire process from start to finish. This will help both the teams communicate and improve their efficiency. Working together can also avoid miscommunication and confusion. It will also create trust and friendship between both the teams.
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