Account-Based Marketing

Account-Based Marketing to Create Enterprise Sales Success

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You may have heard recently that Marketo has grown to a family of over 1,000 customers, which has been a tremendous success for our organization.  But almost more notable here has been our ability to focus our sales upstream; changing from an SMB sales focused organization to one that supports the revenue success of some of the largest global corporations in the world.  Many think that this happened (and continues to happen) because we added product features that support enterprise success, like creating lead workspaces, supporting role-based permission, ensuring world class email deliverability, etc., but product enhancements alone do not allow an organization to grow sales to larger customers.

The revenue team (sales and marketing) must also work together to create an educational and consultative process that supports the needs of enterprise prospects including account based marketing.  Account based marketing is selling to multiple decision makers and influencers at a company selected as a key prospect as one single account, instead of standalone purchasers. In order to increase enterprise sales success, I have found you must keep the following rules in mind.

  • Proper account identification is key – Great account based selling doesn’t matter if it’s not to the right prospects.  Identifying common characteristics between successful enterprise clients, and using those characteristics to build out a profile for target accounts, is a great first step.  Ensure that every target account matches this target profile to make sure efforts aren’t spent on the wrong organizations.
  • Sales and Marketing must be aligned – If sales is spending all their time on target accounts, and marketing is doing broad marketing to those outside the reach of these accounts, then budgets are being wasted.  Instead, work together to identify sales and marketing objectives so tactics drive towards the same goal.
  • Sales should be team based – This means putting together teams that include sales, services, account management, support and marketing to ensure all the needs of prospects are met.  For marketing, this often means communicating to the team about which programs affect specific target accounts to ensure messaging is consistent and relevant.
  • Content should be based on prospect business imperatives,  not your product – We all know that promotional materials don’t help early in the buying process and should be saved until a company is getting closer to purchase, but that doesn’t mean all thought leadership is created equal.  For target accounts you must understand the organization’s biggest business imperatives and match content promoted to these prospects to those imperatives.
  • Segmentation by role is critical – Every target account will have multiple decision-makers/influencers, often spread across multiple departments.  This means you must have content relevant for each one of the roles that are involved with the purchase in order to make sure all questions are answered and that your value prop is conveyed.
  • Customers count – The sales process doesn’t stop once a purchase is made. Oftentimes, these large prospects will depend on the relationships built through the sales cycle to answer questions.  Also, these customers will be critical for references, a staple in an account based selling process. So, remember to treat these customers (and all customers) well!  This includes the marketer who may be able to help out in social media by answering a question.
  • Ensure your systems match your selling process – Good processes won’t work in account based selling if there are not good systems to track information and trigger activities (sales calls, email communications, etc).  Make sure that your sales and marketing systems, including marketing automation, CRM, etc., all clearly support the account based sales model.
  • You can (almost) never have too much data – Understanding roles, organizational structures, and business initiatives are a big piece of an account based program, so consider data normalization.
  • Make sure your investments match your efforts – Simply put, you need to put your money where your efforts are.  This means doing campaigns, sponsorships, events and more, all where your target accounts will be.

Finally, all of this will serve you no good if there is not executive support across the revenue team.  Before working your marketing butt off trying to create account based marketing success, make sure leadership is on board and understands your efforts!