How Account-Based Marketing Can Boost Sales Enablement in Your Company

Account-Based Marketing, otherwise known as ABM, is the hottest marketing trend of the last couple of years—and for good reason. It’s smart, effective, and weeds out unqualified potential prospects before they even enter the sales funnel. But sales teams tend to be hesitant to change, and ABM efforts require an organizational clarity and structure to be effective, which can hinder a marketer’s ability to implement an ABM strategy beyond the conceptual stages.

But both sales and marketing are aligned with the same goal and should be incentivized to personalize their messaging, marketing campaigns, and any advertising they initiate. For marketers, finding the right audience and understanding what interests them is a no-brainer for ABM success. Sales teams, likewise, need to thoroughly understand the situation their prospects are in and be able to build solutions around them. If either fails, your efforts may be ignored.

It’s crucial that both sales and marketing are aligned in their ABM efforts—and implementing a cohesive ABM strategy may be the perfect way to bring an effective sales enablement effort to an organization long lacking such an endeavor.

Why ABM Works

Everyone says that ABM works—but as with most new endeavors within a company, there needs to be hard data to prove that. Marketo—one of the leading providers of marketing automation software—offers the following:

  • 80% of marketers who track ROI say that ABM outperforms other marketing strategies, often significantly.
  • 97% of marketers agree that ABM has a “somewhat” or “much” higher ROI than other marketing initiatives.
    Definitive enough for you?

Rather than funneling as many prospects through your pipeline as possible, segmenting and conducting comprehensive research into potential customers (including their interests, seniority level, and need for your services) provides a significant boost to your marketing messaging. After all, the average consumer sees close to 10,000 digital advertisements and marketing messages per day – and breaking through that noise won’t come from a ho-hum, “all things to all people” campaign.

Why Marketing + Sales Alignment is Critical

Not only do conversion rates improve when sales and marketing align on lead nurture, but companies with sales enablement strategies tend to experience much higher customer retention and sales win rates compared to those who don’t. Furthermore, companies who closely align their sales and marketing departments experience a 67% growth in potentials who become clients.

And while it’s true that most companies suffer from a lack of communication or cohesion between sales and marketing, it’s important to gather as many champions to your cause from both sides as possible. From a marketer’s perspective, you should ask the following of your sales team:

  • What is the quality of the leads you receive from marketing?
  • Do you have the information you need to educate potential clients/customers?
  • Where can marketing improve the sales process?

Likely, you’ll see plenty of overlap in the shortcomings between both departments. It’s critical to gather this information and present it to stakeholders to ensure you’re moving in the right direction before beginning an ABM effort. If content marketing, design, or data are existing shortcomings, you’ll want to address these problem areas before tackling an ABM campaign. After all, putting time and energy into a wasted opportunity won’t do either team any favors in the long run.

Next, you’ll need to equip both departments with an informed strategy for ABM success, reaching across five essential areas:

1. Target Account Data
2. Persona Research and Education
3. Content Development and Strategy
4. Aligning Multi-Channel Marketing Efforts
5. Measuring Results and Preparing for Adjustments

The Bottom Line

ABM has demonstrated proven effectiveness at companies like PFL, Shell, Northrop Grumman, HP, Accenture, Fujitsu—the list goes on. But it’s only effective if you have the buy-in from both marketing and sales. Sales enablement can only be a productive initiative if the entire organization promotes and nurtures the effort, meaning you’ll need to drive home the benefits and potential growth of ABM within your own organization. A quick hint: if it’s defined as a “partnership” rather than a top-down mandate, you’ll have an easier time selling ABM to your internal sales and marketing teams.

Visit us at the ABM Innovation Summit, March 14-15
Want to learn more about ABM? Come visit us at the ABM Innovation Summit, March 14-15, at Pier 27 in San Francisco.

About PFL
PFL is a marketing technology company that provides sales enablement and marketing automation solutions, as well as printing, mailing, and fulfillment services. We directly connect B2B and B2C organizations to cutting edge solutions that accelerate productivity and drive business forward.