Contributors from members of the Copper team
If you run a B2B biz, there will come a day when you need to go after high-dollar accounts. But pursuing a multi-million-dollar contract is way different than landing small accounts. You need to pull out the big guns, which is where account based marketing (ABM) comes into play.
With ABM, your team goes after specific companies by name instead of a generic customer profile. By personalizing your marketing and sales approach for these specific (and usually high-dollar) accounts, your team stands a better chance of winning the contract and earning beaucoup revenue.
The thing is, ABM can’t happen without collaboration. Are you really going to tell a single salesperson to manage your business’s entire relationship with Coca-Cola? No way!
Relationship nurturing is a team sport. Marketing and sales alignment is key, but you also need to involve folks from IT, finance and product, too — it’s an all-hands-on-deck type of situation.
ABM isn’t a new strategy by any means, but if you’re trying to do ABM collaboration with a remote team, you need to take a different approach. It requires a lot of work and coordination, but we know you can pull it off.
Learn the account based marketing basics and follow 4 steps to execute your strategy in a collaborative way so you land more contracts.
What is account based marketing?
In a typical marketing strategy, you create customer personas and try a combination of inbound and outbound strategies to bring in sales. You aren’t always sure who, exactly, your customers will be, as long as they fit into your ideal profile.
Account based marketing is completely different. It’s a much more focused strategy, empowering sales and marketing teams to go after specific companies by name.
More often than not, these target companies are gigantic enterprises with several points of contact and painfully long buying cycles. But if you stick with it and foster the relationship, ABM can result in literally millions of dollars in sales.
In fact, ABM campaigns can generate 2X more revenue for a company than non-ABM campaigns. Impressive, right?
Why bother with ABM?
If the revenue figures don’t have your eyes bulging out of your head, there are plenty of other reasons to choose account based marketing strategies, including:
- Total alignment: Bye-bye, silos. Sales and marketing alignment feels like an elusive unicorn, but done right, ABM can actually bring the two departments together.
- Better customer experience: Account based marketing gives customers a much more consistent experience. There’s no more mixed messaging from marketing and sales, and you’ll definitely never email the same prospect the same message twice. That’s great for your team, but customers are the real winners here. Maybe that’s why ABM leads are 40% more willing to convert.
- Shorter sales cycles: Yes, the B2B buying process is always going to be long. But account based marketing can definitely shorten the sales cycle. It clarifies who on your team does what, and when. With the right system in place, ABM shows leads what they need to see so they can make a decision as quickly as possible.
4 tips to execute a collaborative account based marketing strategy
What business doesn’t want to earn more money, align their team, improve the customer experience, and shorten their sales cycle?
ABM is a no-brainer, but it requires 100% collaboration from marketing and sales to work. To make collaboration work for your biz, follow these 4 best practices to collaborate and execute your ABM strategy.
Step 1: Choose target accounts
The best thing about account based marketing is that you can go after very specific target accounts. Because you do the research upfront, you know your team won’t waste their breath going after accounts that aren’t a fit. Down the line, this connects you with leads who are more likely to convert, so choose your target accounts carefully!
Which companies are a good fit for you? Make a list of your target accounts, along with an explanation of why they’re a good potential lead.
From there, your marketing team should take the lead and create company profiles. These are like customer personas, but they’re tailored to specific companies instead of a hypothetical person.
Make sure your company profiles include:
- Company information
- Product details
- Pain points
- Clients / customers
- Executive/decision-maker profiles
Marketing can form the bones of the company profiles, but sales needs to have a look at them, too. Sales has their finger on the pulse of what customers want, so they can tell marketing which accounts are more likely to convert.
Once you’re satisfied with your company profiles, marketing needs to do a little research. Ask them to find contact information and the proper channels to get in touch with decision-makers for each company profile.
Step 2: Define your pipeline
Next, create a pipeline for each company profile. This pipeline should define which team is responsible for what at each stage of the buyer’s cycle.
It’s a little work upfront, but this will clarify when handoffs need to happen between each team so no one drops the ball.
Generally speaking, account based marketers come in early to qualify decision-makers, taking on tasks like:
- Content and asset creation
- Mapping assets to each company profile and pipeline stage
- Warming up leads with content
Sales, on the other hand, contributes with:
- Input on messaging
- Relationship building with warm leads
Every company’s pipeline will be different, but here’s an example of how ABM collaboration can work:
- Marketing is responsible for sourcing leads through paid ads advertising a downloadable white paper.
- The customer reads the white paper and marketing touches base with an email campaign.
- The customer converts on the email campaign and marketing hands them off to sales.
- Sales nurtures the relationship with a video call.
Step 3: Assign roles
Honestly, sales and marketing are used to doing their own thing. But they need to understand how their role fits into the larger customer journey.
Although it’s good to define whether marketing or sales takes on a certain part of the pipeline, that isn’t specific enough. Roles make it much easier to collaborate between the two teams.
Write a standard operating procedure (SOP) that spells out in plain English who does what, when and why. List specific job titles on each team so there’s no confusion over who’s responsible for which tasks in the ABM lifecycle.
Step 4: Track your progress in an account based marketing CRM
Does this all sound overwhelming? Well, no good account based marketing team is doing ABM without the right tools.
You’ll be dealing with a lot of data and contacts, and that’s why you need a customer relationship management (CRM) platform.
Specifically, you need an account based marketing CRM to do ABM without pulling your hair out. The right CRM will help you:
- Score leads, which you can use as criteria for passing leads from marketing to sales.
- Keep track of each touch with leads, so your team doesn’t accidentally harass leads with repetitive emails.
- Measure conversion rates so you know if your account based marketing strategy is actually working.
A CRM like Copper automatically passes leads from one team to another, which makes collaboration a breeze. You can see your history with each company contact so you always know exactly where your relationship stands.
Go with an account based marketing CRM
If your team wants to go after larger accounts, account based marketing is the best bet. But million-dollar deals require a lot of thought, so it’s a good idea to facilitate collaboration between sales and marketing whenever you can. The more the two teams collaborate, the more likely you are to land the account.
With the right approach, ABM can be a profitable model for your biz. Of course, it helps to have the right tools, too. See how Copper gives you a powerful advantage for fostering relationships with ABM.