Having Marketing and Sales march to one another’s tune is an absolute priority for every B2B organization we speak to, and with good reason: research shows that 56% of ‘aligned’ companies meet their revenue goals, while just 37% of ‘misaligned’ teams meet theirs.
But for many businesses the aspiration of alignment remains just that: an ‘aim’ rather than something which is ever truly achieved.
The process underpinning end-to-end Account-Based Marketing is heralded by many practitioners as a vehicle for driving greater calibration between Marketing and Sales teams. In fact, a number of our customers build ‘soft’ KPIs around alignment into their ABM success dashboards, alongside the ‘hard’ measures linked to relationship growth, account penetration and revenue.
We considered the ‘nirvana’ of Marketing-Sales alignment as part of a recent BrightTalk panel webinar where I was joined by Rob Holmes and Emma Gould from BT Business, as well as my colleague Peter Lundie.
Here are three points from the session which struck me as being particularly interesting:
Objective insight plays a role in getting Sales and Marketing focused on a true understanding of the account, then keeping them in-sync across months and years that follow. As Peter explained on the webinar: “Insight for ABM should ideally be bimodal”. This might entail combining an initial one-off deep dive on the company’s strategy, whitespace analysis and stakeholder mapping, followed by a programme of continuous insight honing in on client intent, stakeholder activity and evolving areas of focus.
Long-term alignment between Sales, Marketing and the Clients themselves make for a ‘win-win-win’. By building ABM programs around the initiatives, pain-points and drivers of a given account, practitioners can genuinely make the relationship shift from ‘vendor’ to ‘strategic partner’. Involve your client in the plans you are creating so that everyone has a desire and joint motivation to execute,” said Rob during the webinar. “That way you can map out a long-term plan with key milestones which everyone involved can use as a measure of collective progress.
Take practical steps to keep everyone enthused, involved and aligned as you execute on your ABM plan. Emma had some good ‘real world’ tips from her personal experience of spearheading ABM activities at BT Business: “Think about hosting launch calls to ensure Sales and Marketing are all aware of the benefit the program can deliver and the role each person has to play, then constantly highlight examples of how the sales teams have benefited from the program, such as opportunities to engage with new stakeholders as a result of gleaning real-time insight on the account. We’ve also benefited from picking ‘ABM champions’ within the sales organization who assist in pushing the various ABM initiatives forward within their teams.”
The full recording of the webinar is available on BrightTalk’s website, where you can also hear Rob, Emma, Peter and I discussing Sales and Marketing ROI metrics for ABM, the ‘change management’ mindset required in a shift away from the status quo, and the role of sponsorship from senior execs in ensuring all parties are heading in the same direction.