Ever watch a dog chase a laser pointer?
My English bulldog loves them.
That mysterious red dot traverses the contours of the floor, the furniture, inside and out. With no regard for physics or even meaning, dogs love to pursue this impossible challenge with blind vigor.
Sometimes B2B marketing reminds me a lot of my dog and her laser pointer.
Before you get offended, do a quick search for “marketing best practices.” See what I mean? It seems like there is always some new tactic that’s “all the rage” in marketing. In 2015, it was by far account-based marketing.
But account-based marketing is really not all that new. It’s rooted in the same practices successful sales professionals have been doing for years.
Because, in actuality, simply BETTER sales & marketing is 90% of ABM. Don’t believe me? Let’s break it down.
Let’s say it together: account-based marketing is nothing new
In fact, it’s probably the oldest sales methodology out there.
It’s the combination of relationship and consultative selling. When you are selling into an organization, you need to know every player on the inside and approach them in a specific way, relative to what you’re selling.
For example, if I’m selling you marketing automation, I need to get buy-in from your IT team. I need to connect with them and show how marketing automation will impact their day-to-day workflow and generally and make their lives easier. I also need to approach decision makers, people with titles like CFO and CMO, and let them know all of the things they will be able to track and what the return on investment looks like.
A big component of this is getting out there and making sure all your messages to these influencers and decision makers are consistent and relevant. And when they come to your site, there should be things like case studies served up on not only how their competitors are using marketing automation but how their specific job role is benefiting from it.
That’s account-based marketing in a nutshell
It’s kicking aside the typical scattershot approach that a lot of marketers take in favor of personalized interaction with a group of targeted accounts. The days of batch-and-blast are over. There’s too much noise out there to try to carve through it with a blunt object – you need a sharp, honed edge.
You have to remember you are dealing with people. And there isn’t some imaginary line between their personal lives and their professional lives. They make purchase decisions in much the same way.
If they are buying shoes, they look up reviews and maybe check out YouTube. If they are at work, sizing up a new software they will hit up trusted advisors, attend important conferences for education, and vet the vendor’s social presence. Once you realize this, you see how the superficial demand gen approach won’t move the process along.
Alignment über alles
Get your teams together. There is no ironclad law that sales and marketing can’t work in unison. It’s just a matter of expanding your thinking. To see true success with an account-based marketing approach, aligning marketing and sales playbooks is the biggest process for process standardization. And when both teams are on the same page, revenue performance will soar.
By arming marketing and sales teams with a unified playbook, you’ll are able to give them both insight into strategy (ideal customer profile, buyer persona, and messaging) as well as actionable tactics – a thing marketing and sales pros are screaming for.
In short, channel your inner detective and do your research while documenting everything. Make things like cadence and message crystal clear. It should read like an instruction booklet almost. A simple: “Do this, then this and this and record it here.” An effective playbook should be straightforward, highly-customized and regularly audited and analyzed.
Bonus: It’s tool time!
In terms of tools – nothing beats non-traditional data tools like Datanyze, SalesLoft and LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator. If I could only give my sales team one tool it would be one of these – hands down. Check them out.
All in all, account-based marketing simply means better marketing. Don’t believe the hype. Stick with the fundamentals and you’ll realize that the target we’re all chasing can only be caught when we apply smarter work, rather than just harder.
For the full rundown on all things account-based marketing, check out Engagio’s The Clear and Complete Guide to Account-Based Marketing.