ABM is all the rage right now and rightly so. 92% of B2B Marketers reported to SiriusDecisions that Account-Based Marketing is a must have for success in today’s hyper-competitive environment. Marketo, the authority on such subjects, defines Account-based marketing (ABM) as “an alternative B2B strategy that concentrates sales and marketing resources on a clearly defined set of target accounts within a market and employs personalized campaigns designed to resonate with each account.” This is opposed to aligning your marketing efforts with industries, geographies, market size, or contact into segments like function or department.
ABM resonates so well with Sellers because most of us are given a defined set of target accounts in the form of a territory. The final mile for sellers is taking these concepts and putting into action inside of Salesforce.com. In one sense, Salesforce.com is already set up for Account-Based Selling (ABS) as accounts have already been targeted and assigned to sellers. The next step for putting Account-based principals into practice need to involve the following:
1) Triggering Events: Companies are inexorably pressed with the responsibility of growth. That can either mean organically with a new product, market, or channel or it could mean through merger or acquisition. Sometimes the growth strategy is successful where more money / resources are needed or sometimes it fails where new leadership is brought in to change the direction of the company. Sellers need to identify their prospect’s growth goals inside of Salesforce.com and align their efforts accordingly for a true account-based sales approach. Hubspot has cataloged the top 30 sales triggers for a quick primer.
2) Identifying the Buying Committee: As my mentor, Rick Page, once told me, “Companies don’t buy anything – people do – and you better have a plan to sell to each one of them if you want to make a career out of selling.” The Corporate Executive Board (CEB) reinforces this idea with their landmark findings that 5.4 people have to formally sign off on every B2B purchase. Relying solely on Salesforce.com to find these 5,4 buyers will not yield the desired results – after all, B2B data expires at a 25% yearly rate. Sellers need to know the titles that make up their typical buying committee and the people that are in those roles. Only then can an Account-based strategy be executed inside of Salesforce.com.
3) Installed Technologies: Understanding the technologies a company uses allows a seller to craft the appropriate pursuit strategy. A replacement strategy identifies a competitor’s weaknesses while emphasizing your strengths. A complementary strategy showcases how your software or service works well with the investment in technology already made. An evangelistic strategy educates the buyer on the importance of purchasing a new type of software not currently in their stack. All three strategies are predicted on the fact you know what the buyer is using before pursuit. If you don’t have this information on the account page inside of Salesforce.com then you may misalign from the very beginning.
In closing, Account-based Marketing is white hot right now because it truly is the convergence of sales and marketing into one pursuit. Sellers love it because we have been focusing on a narrow subset of accounts (aka territory) for quite sometime. The issue sellers find is that while marketing has cool new tools to implement this strategy, sales is left with an outdated instance of salesforce.com. Luckily, tools like RampedUp.io can help share triggering events, expose buyers in the buying committee, and understand the installed technology on their targeted accounts – all on the account record – to reinforce account-based principles inside of Salesforce.com.