I was having a conversation recently with an experienced Marketing Director and complimenting him on how effectively he’d aligned the Sales and Marketing teams at one of his clients.
We both reflected on how crucial this is for B2B businesses in order to streamline efforts and boost new business generation. One solution we discussed for how this success was achieved was plunking the marketing lead in the middle of the Sales teams desk.
After that conversation it struck me - that’s such a simple and effective solution (the best kind of solution), but how do we make that possible in the current and likely future working world of remote working?
Our answer? Use Account Based Marketing (ABM). One of the many benefits of ABM is that Sales and Marketing teams work together, and get aligned. There’s a six-step process that you run-through to ensure both forces are moving in the same direction. We’ll run through this later in this article, but firstly, why is Sales and Marketing alignment so crucial, and why are the different departments often misaligned?
Why is sales and marketing alignment so crucial?
It’s worth reiterating this point as even though to many it may seem obvious, it’s still surprising how many businesses aren’t achieving it. Sales and Marketing both ultimately have the same goal - to grow the business. However, it’s common for them to work in silos and not share crucial information and collaborate.
If sales and marketing work together it achieves:
- A clearer understanding of the target audience through shared information
- Alignment on what constitutes a lead
- Collaboration on what content sales need to help them convert leads
- Combined objectives and thus momentum
- A more efficient and effective use of resources
How ABM helps
As mentioned, Sales and Marketing alignment is a stand out benefit of using an account based marketing strategy in your business. It’s at the very core of its existence, so whether you’re working remotely, or in the same office, following its methodology will ensure that your teams are aligned.
You can download our guide on how to adopt ABM, here. Or read on for an overview of the six-step process and how it helps teams to get aligned.
The six-step ABM process
If you’re not familiar with ABM, here is our six-step process:
Step 1 - Getting the teams aligned
The first step in the ABM process is getting everyone on the same page. It’s assigning roles and responsibilities and making it clear that they’re one team. At this point, you’ll also be co-setting goals for your efforts to ensure both departments are working towards the same vision. Alright, this meeting might be held now over Zoom, rather than a conference room, but the result will be the same. A united team moving together in the same direction.
Step 2 & 3: Sharing information to select the right target accounts and understand their needs
Sales and marketing need to work together in the ABM process to select the accounts they’d like to target. This means sharing information based on market research, as well as which customers are currently the most profitable to the business (you’ll want more like them). Marketing contributes through insights using market research and Sales will have lots of anecdotal insights based on recent conversations and gut-feel of the market. Both are important for making the right decision on who to target. This is also true if you're using a more traditional marketing approach and building persona’s. Both departments need to contribute so the buyer persona is as accurate as possible.
Step 4 - Using the same tools (properly)
Sharing information between Sales and Marketing isn’t a one-off event. Each needs to be kept up-to-date on an ongoing basis to ensure that a prospects sales journey is as seamless as possible, and they only receive relevant communications.
Having the right tools and using them properly is even more important when working remotely, as you don’t have the benefit of sitting next to your colleague to keep them up-to-date, or overhearing sales conversations.
For example, if a prospect enters into a sales conversation you don’t want to continue with them in a workflow encouraging them to speak with Sales. Also, if a prospect has engaged highly with content relating to a certain service you offer, Sales needs to be aware of this so they tailor their conversation to the prospects interests.
This means proper use of an appropriate CRM system that brings together both sales management and marketing activity. There’s a reason we’re Hubspot partners. Using tools that bring both departments conversations and insights together seamlessly is crucial to a high performing sales and marketing strategy. Of course, this is crucial whether you’re working together in an office or remotely.
Step 5 - Creating content that Sales actually use
Too often, Sales aren’t aware of content that marketing has created that could help them to convert a prospect. Whether it’s a case study of a success story with a similar business, or valuable content that helps the potential customer to solve a challenge they’ve been struggling with. Marketing should find a format, whether this is a regular meeting or report, to keep Sales up-to-date on the latest content that they have at their disposal. Also, they need to ensure that content is easy to search through to find something that’s relevant to a particular situation.
What’s more, Marketing should be asking Sales what content they need to help them to convert either a particular prospect, or cluster of prospects.
Step 6: Regular review meetings
Again, the environment for this meeting may be a Zoom call, but as part of the six-step ABM process you will be regularly reviewing your efforts, seeing what you’ve achieved and scaling what has worked.
It may sound obvious, but ensuring your Sales and Marketing teams are working together is key to high business growth, in any economy. Any tips that you have for ensuring alignment? I’d love to hear them.
87% of marketers report that ABM has a higher ROI than traditional lead generation. To learn more about how ABM could work for your business, download our free Account Based Marketing guide, here.
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