At this stage, having a close relationship with the sales team pays dividends. To ensure a seamless campaign, it’s essential that sales and marketing are working closely together. This may seem obvious, but the right hand needs to know what the left hand is doing. If your sales and marketing teams aren’t aligned, they could undermine the others’ efforts, making the company look like a hot mess and potentially losing a deal. It’s essential for marketing and sales to take the time to understand the other’s efforts and expectations during the campaign to make sure that your strategy, tactics and goals are all aligned.
A Framework that Helps – S.C.A.L.E.
We developed the S.C.A.L.E. framework to help companies get a fundamental understanding of the strategic ABM process. S.C.A.L.E. stands for:
- Secure ABM program goals
- Choose strategic accounts
- Advance targeting tactics
- Lead a seamless campaign
- Evaluate progress, measure results
This blog post will focus on the L of S.C.A.L.E. – Leading a seamless campaign. This is the fourth in a series of posts that explain our framework.
Find your people
Getting started in ABM requires a level of change management in your organization. It’s hard conceptually to go from thousands of (often crappy) leads to a few dozen strategic ones. This shift can make a sales team nervous, especially now that we’re heading into an economic downturn.
This means you need to find the right partners to be successful with ABM on your sales team. It’s typically obvious who the friendly salespeople are, and the ones most likely to be a real partner in an organization’s first ABM test run.
Change management is only successful when it goes both top-down (the executives give a directive) and bottom-up (the team chooses to execute that directive instead of sabotaging or ignoring it). Finding your first follower makes getting buy-in from the rest of the team significantly easier, so find your leader in sales to team up with in the beginning. Then look for someone who shows interest, the first follower, and invite them to the weekly review meetings to see the results of the program.
Below is my favorite video explanation of change management in less than 3 minutes.
Even if the results aren’t immediate or stellar at first, the learnings will be important to sales. Knowing who isn’t interested can occasionally be as important as knowing who is. It can help sales from wasting their time.
Don’t worry, once you start seeing signs of success, everyone will get on board.
How to get Sales involved
Since collaboration with sales is so critical for ABM to succeed, make sure the sales team feels comfortable with the process. This can be achieved by planning together, drawing on their expert market knowledge from a sales perspective, and by actively encouraging their participation. Doing this will help the sales team buy into and fully understand the marketing messaging/strategy. In addition, it will reinforce the notion that you are not only simplifying their jobs, but also helping to build their network and their brand.
While it’s important to involve your salespeople early in the process, be careful not to overdo it. They’re busy too, and it can be counterproductive to overwhelm them. Having a weekly accountability check-in is useful. During these meetings, you can offer your salespeople touch point materials, such as scripts for follow-up emails, or relevant case studies, if necessary. Also review the accounts showing high intent signals, as that’s a great time for sales to pick up the phone.
After every campaign, it’s useful to conduct a post-mortem with your salespeople, and discuss what went well, what could have been better, and how to improve the process going forward.
Even with a good partner, it’s hard for the sales team to know what information is important and what isn’t, so don’t be concerned if the first go-around of an ABM program doesn’t bring exemplary results. This is where the lessons come from so that can make the next campaign a raging success. As always, test and iterate.
Think like your customer
Tapping into your salespeople’s insights into the purchasing journey from the customer side, then incorporating what you learn into your approach, is an excellent strategy. Customers are looking for solutions to problems. Having an awareness of how they go through the discernment process in selecting those solutions can help you be strategic in how you approach them. Software such as Bombora or 6Sense are an excellent way to uncover customers who are actively researching intent topics that are relevant to your business. Drawing on the strategies outlined in the advanced targeting tactics stage means you can tailor your approach and close the deal.
Reverse-engineer your best and worst closed win’s. Seeing the path your customers take can help you spot who really is interested, and who is just kicking the tires. You’ll discover patterns that show who is interested in what, which will inform future collateral and engagement strategies.