I recently read an article in Forbes by Falon Fatemi at Node.io titled "Sales And Marketing Are (Finally) Merging: Introducing Account Based Marketing And Sales". I thought it was interesting because it discussed the importance of using ABM (account based marketing) before diving in and adopting a new sales or marketing technology. The reason I found this compelling was I wrote about a similar idea in my article "How to choose a B2B Sales and Marketing Alignment technology". In my article, I talked about there being many new and exciting B2B tech solutions coming out. However, before a company adopts any of them they need to take the time to understand what is fundamentally broken in the business. At that point, they can take a strategic approach to fixing it before just throwing a new technology solution at it. I think that ABM is a good starting point in implementing a full-scale Sales and Marketing Alignment (SMA) strategy.
Her article shares that starting with ABM allows a company "to market and sell in a contextual, personalized way". The reason that ABM is a smart way to start looking at SMA is that it forces both teams to sit down at the table and identify the profile of the ideal customer(s). It forces the conversation of what attributes exist in prospects with high potential to close. This type of dialogue helps to build a common vocabulary that Sales and Marketing can start to speak when focusing on the sales funnel and the leads that should or should not go into it.
Make ABM a part of your SMA strategy
Adopting a SMA strategy is a significant undertaking. It requires many people to change fundamental, embedded behaviors that they have done for a long time. Attempting to change those behaviors can cause a lot of resistance. Because of this, making ABM the starting point for that journey is best. It allows the company breathing room to focus on building a necessary foundation - together. Of my 3-part strategy for achieving SMA - Taking a Systems Approach, Establishing a Feedback Loop, and Focusing on Shared Goals - I believe ABM facilitates taking a system approach to targeting new customers.
The article also points out that "too many marketers are relying on mismatched, incomplete data sets. You need a single source of truth for both sales and marketing." Part of taking a system approach is cultivating the most relevant and accurate data available. The best way to do that is to have both Sales and Marketing be a part of the data review process. This gives you a more well-rounded view of the reality of your customers. Sales and Marketing should direct ABM at those select accounts that have high profitability and a high likelihood to close.
The new B2B technology that is coming out is truly exciting and delivering the possibility for companies to create a more personalized buying experience. However, companies must resist the temptation to adopt the most talked about technology simply because they exist. What leaders must focus on is ensuring they have the best processes and strategic alignment in place before trying to accelerate a process that may be broken or deeply flawed.