How to Focus Your Account Based Marketing Program in 2018

When the term account based marketing first started being bandied about in the Sales and Marketing world it was easy to be skeptical. If you had a nickel for every time a new buzzword came and went in this industry you’d have a whole lot of Thomas Jeffersons rolling around in your comically oversized pockets. Oftentimes new ideas, concepts, and buzzwords aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. That’s because it’s easier to make a couple of bucks off of a trend than it is to develop a new concept and make it viable.

If you’re reading this and have a pulse, then you are well aware that ABM is no passing phase and that it’s here to stay. That’s because account based marketing hasn’t been invented out of whole cloth. ABM is a new way of viewing how Sales and Marketing (and really the whole organization) aligns and performs. Account based marketing is all about taking all of the activities and efforts Sales and Marketing already performs, and giving them a laser focus. It’s fishing with a spear vs. fishing with a net.

So, because account based marketing is really just about shifting resources and re-thinking certain aspects of your organization, there are general lessons about Sales and Marketing alignment that can be translated to positioning your ABM team for success in 2018. Lucky for you, dear reader, we here at Seismic recently polled industry experts, practitioners, and analysts about this very topic. While we asked the broad question of: “How are you positioning your sales and marketing teams for success in 2018?” we can view their answers in the light of account based marketing as well.

Here are two areas you should focus on in 2018 to improve your account based marketing program.

Digital Transformation

Account based marketing is all about being nimble, proactive, and well-researched. The best way to add those qualities to your repertoire? Embrace digital transformation and provide your team with the tools they will need to succeed. When it comes to ABM, teams will need to know account coverage, account engagement, and conversion data. A sophisticated and well thought out tech stack is needed to ensure that information is being measured correctly.

Gerhard Gschwandtner, CEO/EIC of Selling Power, says that companies who are at the forefront of digital transformation avoid being left behind. “Better information and greater insights served in real time will drive better decisions. You have to own the disruption to avoid becoming irrelevant.” An account based marketing program needs to be able to quickly make decisions on concrete information.

By embracing digital transformation, an account based marketing program will be better-equipped, more informed, and ready to take on any challenge it faces.

Improve Sales and Marketing Alignment

You didn’t think you were getting out of this blog without hearing about sales and marketing alignment, did you? C’mon, you’re better than that. And be honest with yourself, every organization needs to improve their alignment. With an account based marketing team, this initiative is even more imperative. ABM lives and dies by Sales and Marketing alignment. Account based marketing is Sales and Marketing Alignment.

Nancy Nardin, Founder of Smart Selling Tools, has some great advice that gets to the heart of most struggles with alignment. “Go right now and schedule a joint meeting. Together, write down all the things that have to be aligned. Then prioritize.” This advice rings very true with ABM. Sales and Marketing will constantly have to be in contact to ensure they are focusing their efforts correctly on the target accounts.

Improving Sales and Marketing alignment should always be the goal for any organization. But for account based marketing, it’s even more important.

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