Account-based marketing (ABM) is often referred to as a marketing strategy that is akin to fishing with spears rather than nets. The last half of that informal definition rings very true, as traditional demand generation marketing strategies tend to involve casting a relatively large net. However, the it’s first part of that definition – in particular, the words “marketing strategy” – that is sometimes problematic.

In a great many organizations, ABM is considered a marketing strategy primarily because of its name. However, any experienced revenue professional knows that an organization’s ABM strategy can only be as effective as the alignment of its Sales and Marketing functions.

There’s no doubt – ABM is a collaborative go-to-market (GTM) strategy.

This post delivers a quick read on key alignment considerations. Continue to learn more.

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Align around common goals

The first consideration of alignment between Sales and Marketing is to discuss the question, “What are we trying to achieve with ABM?Pro tip: You won’t maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of your ABM motion if you settle for the generic answer of “Growth.”

The more specific you can be with your ABM goals, the better. Some common goals of ABM strategies include:

    • Introduce a new product, solution or service to the market
    • Increase your share in an established market
    • Break into new markets, industry verticals and/or segments
    • Earn business away from a particular competitor
    • Upsell/cross-sell a segment of your existing customer base

Align on key performance indicators (KPIs)

With your ABM goals collaboratively established and bought into by the entire revenue team, you should then drive alignment on your motions’s KPIs and determine how the aligned team will measure and analyze performance. Clearly define how your team will collect and measure engagement analytics across all outreach efforts, from both Sales and Marketing, including reach, paid media/advertising, and form/landing page conversions. Additional metrics might include influenced or sourced revenue attribution, pipeline influence, conversion and closed/won opportunities. 

Align on target accounts

A fundamental component of all ABM efforts is the list of target accounts. After all, it’s called account-based for a reason. 

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Coordinate with Sales and Marketing to ensure your targeted accounts directly map to your ABM goals before leaping into tactical execution and wasting precious GTM resources. Avoid the temptation to include aspirational accounts, or those customers who have been tough nuts to crack in your past GTM efforts and that’s the only reason they’re on your list. Once you’ve created your preliminary list, ruthlessly scour it for any suspect accounts. Pro tip: It’s beneficial to assess your best existing customer accounts to create an ideal customer profile (ICP) and use it as a benchmark to compare your target accounts with. 

Align on lead and account data

A key consideration in the alignment of your revenue team is your lead, contact and account data. In fact, your data and data systems can actually help bring together alignment. 

An ABM motion is as customer-centric as a GTM motion gets; remember, ABM is not about your company and your products, services and solution, but rather about your target accounts and their needs. Your customer data leads the way.

You will need to carefully and accurately match all your lead data in Salesforce to accounts, an absolute requirement for all your target accounts. Use LeanData’s industry-standard Lead-to-Account Matching tool to automate this process and free your revenue team to proactively engage your accounts.

Additionally, ensure the entire revenue team has access and visibility into all your GTM plays to ensure account workflow and messaging is consistent.  For example, when Marketing runs an ABM campaign to a key account, it needs to collaborate with the Account Manager to ensure outreach and messaging doesn’t come across as disjointed from the perspective of the customer. Similarly, if Marketing has invested in campaigns toward a target account but the Sales team doesn’t get engaged, the investment is likely to go without a return.

Use your lead, contact and account data as the thread to weave your various GTM functions even tighter. 

Moving forward

Before deploying an ABM motion, ensure your Sales and Marketing teams are aligned from the very beginning, freeing you to go to market with consistent messaging and smooth, efficient handoffs of leads and contacts internally. With full alignment, you’ll prevent having your valuable customer account data hidden in silos, thereby empowering your teams with the most fundamental necessity for a successful ABM motion – holistic, comprehensive views of target accounts. 

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To learn more about aligning your revenue team for ABM success, please make plans to join the OpsStars community on Tuesday, March 23 for the webinar, “Building Airtight Sales & Marketing Alignment for Extraordinary ABM.” Hear from Pat Oldenburg, Vice President of Demand Marketing and Operations at ServiceMax, how his team leverages both 6sense and LeanData to supercharge ABM across the funnel. In the session, you’ll learn how to:

    • Align your revenue team around account-centric data with scalable processes and tools
    • Target accounts that are in-market at every stage of the buying journey
    • Empower your Sales with visibility into lead data on every account
    • Ensure inbound leads are actioned by Sales in a timely, relevant manner

Don’t miss out. Reserve your spot now.

Ray Hartjen
Senior Content Strategist at LeanData

Ray Hartjen is a senior content strategist at LeanData, where he collaborates with internal and external customers in furthering the engaging narrative of revenue operations and innovative go-to-market strategies. You can connect with Ray on both LinkedIn & Twitter.