B2B Marketing Strategies: Sales and Marketing Alignment for Account-Based Marketing

Whether you’re new to Account-Based Marketing (ABM) or a seasoned practitioner, you know agreement on the target account list between Sales and Marketing is the most fundamental element of Account-Based Marketing. It is critical to your success. But, that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating true alignment between the teams. It’s really easy to say you’re aligned but, in practice, you may not be. Getting the teams to work together, develop trust, and truly support each other can be the most difficult part of achieving success with your ABM strategy.

As so many marketing teams struggle with Sales and Marketing alignment, we wanted to provide a list of resources you can use to help create and maintain a relationship with sales based on the foundations of equality, trust, and mutual benefit.

Start here: Advice from ABM Master Matt Heinz on three alignment topics:

What is the best advice for selling ABM internally?
The first step is make sure Sales understands what you’re trying to do with Account-Based Marketing. Matt Heinz, President, Heinz Marketing, provides ways you can sell-in your idea.

“Know why you’re doing it and think about the vested interest for each of the people in the organization that have to say yes to that…And start small.”



How to align your sales and marketing organizations?
Now that everyone knows what you’re planning, it’s time to go beyond personal relationships and formalize your alignment.

“We committed to these numbers. Who’s going to do it? And where is the money going to come from? And who’s got content for this?”



Why is organizational alignment so critical for ABM?
Marketing and Sales go out for a beer and you think you’ve got aligned teams? Matt reminds us that alignment must go deeper than personal relationships and shared strategies.

“It’s more than just strategic alignment on what are our objectives and who are we targeting together. You’ve got to move from a strategic alignment to operational alignment.”


Next: Give Sales essential insights

As marketers, we’ve all received generic, templated emails from sales development reps. The majority of these emails go directly into the trash, unopened. They’re annoying. And that can impact our perception of the brand. But what’s a sales person to do? Doing the research for personalized outreach takes time. And they’re under pressure to achieve their quota.

As part of your ongoing alignment, you may want to deliver valuable insights about their target accounts which will help their outreach get noticed.  So, what if you could spoon-feed them information about how their accounts are engaging on your site, what relevant keywords people from the accounts are searching on, what your contacts are doing and saying online – all delivered where they are in email, Salesforce and Slack?

Hear how the Demandbase Conversion Solution made our sales team create more effective outreach.



To convince the holdouts: Benefits of Sales and Marketing Alignment

Few would say Sales and Marketing alignment wasn’t important but many may not believe the connections need to be deep. For teammates who may be skeptical, focus on the value the alignment between teams which is measured in terms of the impact to your organization.

  • Failure to align sales and marketing teams costs B2B companies 10% or more of revenue per year. (Bizsphere)
  • Organizations with good alignment between sales and marketing teams achieve 20% revenue growth on average annually. (HubSpot)

And of course, there are specific benefits for each team.

For Sales:

  • Increased deal velocity, average customer value and close rates
  • Less time wasted on unqualified leads
  • Visibility into Marketing’s impact

For Marketing:

  • Efficient use of resources to focus on the accounts that matter most
  • Collaborative relationship with Sales
  • Direct impact to the company’s revenue goals

The journey toward Sales and Marketing alignment may be easy or it may be arduous but it’s always worthwhile. It’s an ongoing investment of time and resources which will raise the bar for each of the team’s strategies and is key to the success of your Account-Based Marketing strategy.

Senior Director, Digital Marketing & Brand, Demandbase

As the lead for the Digital Marketing strategy at Demandbase, my philosophy is simple: Prospects are people, not wallets. Marketing is about creating meaningful relationships and I develop strategies to bring companies and customers together based on respect, trust, and shared interest. I love a really challenging problem and provide solutions using a combination of intuition and analytics.