Just when you think everything you have been doing as a marketer is starting to come together:
- Enough content across enough of the sales pipeline to have something to talk to to a wider range of potential constituencies
- The start of personalization on the third (maybe fourth) iteration of your website
- Paid media that can be the sharp end of the spear for Account Based Marketing
- The fact that you are dabbling in or even have rolled out some sort of lead scoring – dare I say: predictive?
- The issue of data integrity across your martech and CRM platforms is a thing of the past (yeah, right)
- You’re even getting data in and out of the stack in a much more friction free basis
- Tech folks are coming to you talking API’s- tech’s version of sugar plums dancing in their head
- You finally understand what a DMP is and what it should do
- Heck – you can even explain to friends at a cocktail party the meaning of DSP, SSP, PMP and ATD
Now you are ready. Nothing but blue skies. Leads a plenty. Demand Gen-A-Go-Go. A marketing nirvana.
And then, it happens. You learn there are vegetarians in your sales org. Yup, that’s right, V-E-G-E-T-A-R-I-A-N-S: Bona fide, carrot-crunching critters who will not navigate an account.
And your whole marketing world domination teeters on the brink. And you did not see it coming.
I have news for you – there is a HUGE GAP in the marketing/sales continuum when it comes to effective use of a logical stack and a sound ABM strategy. And there are two major reasons for that gap:
- Sales orgs are not being trained and introduced to ABM strategies fast enough to fulfill the aspirations of ABM
- Since ABM is a forensic exercise built on many different data points – someone needs to own the forensic methodology that allows real ABM and data driven marketing to flourish
So, let’s get back to reality (and sales vegetarianism):
- ABM establishes a new paradigm: essentially, the ACCOUNT = LEAD
- The LEAD is not the LEAD – so the Glenngary Glen Ross notion of leads no longer applies
- In order to understand the dynamic of an ACCOUNT – a thorough research-based approach needs to be taken
- This means using as many tools and data sources at your disposal to form the basis of which, how many and what roles constitute a team of decision makers and also, the influencers whose jobs will be impacted by any buying decisions
- This takes time and a solid process
- At the end of the day, you want a solid view in on the corporate tree structure that forms the basis of info and intelligence that begets a specific playbook for that account
- Every account is different – heck – we have learned that many accounts even defy the logic of going solely on PERSONAS – we’ve seen accounts that have people in the mix whose functional title has nothing to do with who you would think is in a decision making position
Now back at the all you can eat crudité platter, you will quickly learn that:
- Sales people are trained to make calls – and they are very insecure when they are not making 20, 30, 40+ calls a day
- Many would prefer a cold call list to actually learning how to actually penetrate an account through good use of tools and data
- With all we know about how B2B buying decisions are made – AN ACTUAL LEAD may not even be in the decision making process – so knowing more about the account that a LEAD comes from will help with any communication with that LEAD
- It’s not my job: I have been told straight on in not a few situations that this whole ABM, research thing is not my job – Just give me the damn lead
- And, of course, sales compensation, in many cases is not aligned with ABM strategies
We have had clients tell us point blank that they wished they had never tried to flow ABM types of data and intel through their mainstream processes because they are rejected.
To be frank, the meat-eaters are not passive aggressive. You meat-eating hunters have the determination and mentality to get to an end goal.
Your task is to figure out: Do we, as marketers, hand all the intelligence, recommendations and to-do’s to make our ABM strategy work once in the hands of sales. Or, do we share and teach folks how to use the various tools that your org has spent so much money on – good tools that will act as the sales compass, astrolabe, telescope, etc…
Regardless, whatever you decide, you cannot underestimate the vast change in mentality at the sales level that ABM will bring. Across your ISR’s, BDR’s ASE’s, Field and Channel people on the front lines need to be armed with the right data to break through to find the right people that constitute a buying team inside any account.
While going to your sales organization and telling them that ABM requires a shift in process: from asking sales people to go from 100 calls per week to working on 8 – 10 strategic accounts with the goal of framing out what the account actually looks like. Rome is not built in a day. But, there are many ways to initiate and drive change that result in positive change. Those thoughts will be part of a future missive.
Right now I have to get to a meeting between marketing and sales and it’s my turn to bring the tofu and seitan mock duck and bok choi!