How to align sales and marketing for your ABM Strategy

Account Based Marketing (ABM) relies on sales and marketing working together, something most teams are not already set up to do.

With ABM, sales and marketing pave the way for each other to effectively engage with key decision makers.  Too often, target accounts receive a fragmented experience and sales and marketing teams trip over each other.

The shared objective of Account Based Marketing is to win new business, or increase the business within existing accounts.

Having decided which companies to have on your account list (See my article on How to Find your Ideal Customers) then sales and marketing can work together as a joint team focused on the same accounts.

Marketing focuses its budget on these accounts and creates and promotes content towards this audience.  Both teams have aligned messaging, content, as well as an agreement on how to execute and how to measure the success.

Within your target accounts, the objective is to get consensus from multiple stakeholders about the value your business will bring.

Your team identifies those who will influence the buying decision.  Each stakeholder needs to understand how you help people in their position / with their challenges, but this ought to be done in the context of their company, the Account.

In other words, the challenges of the individual need to also relate to the strategic objective of the company.

The marketing and sales team can work together on the content plan.

content_planThe content itself, must position you and your company as a trusted advisor and someone who can provide them relevant and useful information and guidance.  Personalising the message for each individual will help your stakeholder to sell in your proposition from their perspective.  Simultaneously, their colleagues are having a similar experience from their own perspective – leading their decision making into consensus.

We very often find that stakeholders are happy to read content and do their research on one platform, and converse with you on another, so do test different social platforms, email as well as F2F workshops, events etc.

The content plan will list all the articles as well as updates, leaving scope for content shares based on topical news and client work.  To help the teams work together, the content plan can also indicicate where to share, when, by whom, how often, so roles and responsibilities are clearly defined.

We find an easy distinction is to have the marketing team creating the content, and sharing on company profiles, and for the sales team to decide how and when to message, and to support and nurture their one-to-one relationships with stakeholders.

It helps when creating the content plan to have the sales value ladder completed.  Once you know the end point of the Stakeholder journey, and the steps between, helps us to know what content will support the journey.

As your service has lots of benefits, working back from the key selling point for your stakeholder, will mean you simplify their decision, and create focused, free content, guides and reports that establishes your credibility, demonstrates how you solve their problem, and leads people towards wanting to work with you.

Your content plan needs to have labelling of each piece of content with a theme or a persona so it is clear to both teams which journey you are on, and where and with whom to share that content.

As your accounts move through the process of getting to know you, you will want to be able to see which companies you are making the most progress with.

scoringWe have found the best way to do this, is to score our engagement with the Stakeholder and to add this up on a company level, so we are able to provide Account Based Reporting.  Even doing this in a basic way will give you a good indication, and help you to know in the future which accounts you should continue to nurture and which ones to replace in your future target list.

 

At Pitch121 we have created a content plan that suits the needs of social selling for Account-Based Marketing. If you would like us to send you our template, please contact me on [email protected]

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