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Make the Shift From ABM Tactics to a Data-Driven ABM Program

3 min
Black Empowerment

Marketing and sales leaders have moved from hunches to insights and nurtured leads into customers over the years. Today, organizations have better technologies and more personalized methods of identifying buyers and creating new opportunities. Better yet, some organizations are focused on driving revenue through account-based marketing and selling. In theory, they steer the same boat toward the same goal.

But when marketing and sales teams are in the same boat but rowing in opposite directions — prioritizing and nurturing different accounts (or the wrong ones) — everyone stalls. Even if your teams are employing ABM tactics, they could be wasting time and money making redundant efforts if those activities aren’t orchestrated. Dabbling in ABM as a practice isn’t the answer; developing a holistic ABM program rooted in data is.

Is your organization as account driven as you think it is?

In our recent report with Heinz Marketing, we found that 64% of today’s organizations implement ABM as at least half of their entire marketing mix, yet over 1 in 3 account-driven organizations don’t even know which messages will best engage target accounts, what channels to reach them through, or which accounts to prioritize in the first place.

Most organizations in this position haven’t turned the majority of their attention away from traditional success metrics, such as the number of MQLs and SQLs. And a deep reliance on lead-based marketing and inbound activity doesn’t enable organizations to hit revenue targets.

If you’re truly account driven, you’re less concerned with generating leads (you’ve identified target accounts!) and more invested in meaningful account engagement. You know who your target accounts are and can focus on supplying the experience they want. But that requires marketing and sales to first agree on target accounts, and then how to engage them.

It’s time to (re)align your marketing and sales teams

Half of all sales and marketing leaders only somewhat agree (or don’t agree at all) on their target account list. We found that even 42% of organizations that are successful lack consensus. All too often, marketing and sales teams rely on different datasets, work in different platforms, and track different success metrics. So how can they identify target accounts and coordinate personalized engagement?

3 steps to unite marketing and sales

Sounds simple enough, and most of us are well aware of the importance of a symbiotic marketing-sales relationship. But achieving alignment to support your ABM program can be challenging. Here are three steps to get both teams rowing in the same direction:

  1. Define success for all stakeholders. Determine the metrics, KPIs, and goals that both teams need to work toward, as well as who’s responsible for accomplishing what, when, and how.
  2. Align on personas, target accounts, and other buyer-based criteria. Both teams need to communicate and collaborate to determine your organization’s ideal customer, who the target accounts are, and what trigger actions and criteria qualify a lead to be handed off to sales. Avoid falling back into old habits based more on assumption than insight by leveraging data and AI to drive these conversations.
  3. Focus on the common goal. At the end of the day, marketing and sales are both working toward predictable revenue growth. That common goal should be at the center of these open communications — and help you to prioritize the data, tools, and metrics both teams need to achieve it.

Demand generation is only as useful as the buyers you identify and the engagement methods you use

As your marketing and sales teams become aligned, demand generation should be that much simpler… right? But the way we think about buyer engagement has evolved, as have the tools we need to identify and engage buyers. It’s difficult to engage the right buyers at scale without detailed account data, and that begins with uncovering your data gaps and finding ways to bridge them.

That can take on several forms: improving the integration of systems, rethinking data capture mechanisms, or using third-party data enrichment tools. Good data tells its own story about a buyer. It helps marketing and sales tether together the personalization, timing, and contextualization it takes to turn buyers into customers. (Tip: Forrester is a great resource when shopping for ABM solutions.)

Demystify predictable revenue growth with an ABM program

Done independently, any one of these suggestions are helpful, but long-term success is rooted in changing your foundational approach to ABM. An ABM program helps you harness the right data, make sense of it, and use it to more effectively sell to the right people.

If you focus on uniting marketing and sales, tackling gaps in your data, and using the subsequently rich data to target the right buyers in the right way, you’ll be well on your way to predictable revenue growth.

Learn more about overcoming team silos and delivering on your ABM goals in our report The State of Predictable Revenue Growth.

The 6sense Team

6sense helps B2B organizations achieve predictable revenue growth by putting the power of AI, big data, and machine learning behind every member of the revenue team.

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