Our marketing team attended the #FlipMyFunnel conference last week, which was hosted by Terminus. It was a buzzworthy event, drawing both B2B marketers and digitally-enabled salespeople from companies of all sizes. The focus of the event was as the title suggests: the idea that marketing and sales can and should invert the traditional funnel, which dictates that marketers generate leads based on interest and pass them to sales. Instead, many of the keynotes urged the audience to first identify key accounts sales and marketing wish to target, and then engage these accounts down a path to purchase.
We at MarketBridge agree that the funnel must be flipped. Most organizations have a good idea of who they should be targeting, based on both transactional history, behavioral data, and of course, revenue goals and product pricing. There’s a method to doing this sort of marketing, and it requires sales and marketing connectivity.
How to Implement Account Based Marketing: a Step by Step Guide
One way to ensure success is to adopt an account based marketing program. Megan Heuer from Sirius Decisions gave an excellent presentation on the perfect formula for such a program, noting that ABM is the natural conclusion for marketing and sales to help grow the business based on data. Let’s take a look at the winning formula for Account Based Marketing.
1. Map budgets to opportunity.
In order to see success in the form of sales, marketing must align its efforts to accounts, sellers and actions most likely to deliver growth. Shift from persona to person, and execute by engaging individual customers based on needs, preferences, and timing.
2. Put your ABM strategy in place.
Use these four key categories to build your program:
A. Account data: What do you know about your key accounts? What is the transaction history with these accounts or lookalike accounts? What is currently in pipeline?
B. Account goals: What needs to be done, with whom, to achieve team and company goals?
C. Account actions: what tactics can marketing and sales deliver to reach these accounts?
D. Account operations: what is the process for keeping the program running smoothly? Who will be appointed to the program team?
3. Focus on supporting sales productivity.
Marketing can help sales take certain tasks off their plate. Help sales maximize prospecting calls and emails by providing initial engagement templates, topics, and sales collateral. If sales also supports customer relationships, marketing can help maintain positive experiences and non-selling support.
4. Build an ABM tech stack.
Everyone’s stack will look different, but make sure your technologies align to the ABM strategy. Key tools to include are data insights and services, customer lifecycle management, and automation tools.
5. Leverage customer experience.
Building an advocacy program must be part of any good ABM strategy. Marketing can support by working closely with customers to develop testimonials and case studies.
6. Treat customers differently.
On that note, make sure that your ABM strategy differentiates between customer acquisition and retention. Your advocacy program will play a big role in marketing to the existing customer base.
7. Measure more than just lead volume.
As we mentioned, most marketers and sellers already know who they need to engage. Therefore, lead generation may not be the best metric for your ABM strategy. Instead, engage with existing customers, focus on upselling and cross-selling accounts, and finding new buyers within target accounts. Be sure to shift measurement to reflect contributions.
Account based marketing is no longer a “nice to have” in B2B marketing. It is quickly becoming a standard program for modern marketing and sales organizations. Have you started with your ABM program yet? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section.