11 quick self-help tips to influence (sales) people
How to Win Friends and Influence People is a self-help book written by Dale Carnegie and was ranked number 19 on Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential books. While the title of the book might be self-explanatory, it can be adapted in different areas of your life, including the B2B world.
Here, Cloudera’s account-based marketing manager, Ross O’Neill, brings this idea into the ‘self-help’ book for sales and marketing alignment. Ross shares some quick tips on achieving this at our ABM 2019 Conference.
1. Create advocates quickly
It’s important to build customer advocates but don’t forget about your sales advocates. Go to the account managers who embrace marketing, they will be the people who are naturally easier to work with when it comes to adapting a new approach like account-based marketing. Get them on board quickly and soon enough, they will be advocating your strategy around ABM to the rest of the team.
2. Make sure you can talk about the product
When marketers are uncomfortable talking or learning about the product,” they’ve missed an opportunity. O’Neill suggests sitting in a room with a sales person and discussing their side of the business; otherwise, you’ll eventually lose the interest of your account manager.
3. Make an effort to understand the boring stuff, even if you don’t totally get it
This might apply to sales processes, contracts and pricing, which if you take the time to understand you can share sales’ language. Just making an attempt shows you’re making an effort to relate to sales’ everyday challenges.
4. Be prepared to define ABM - a lot
Ross started his one-to-one ABM programme with an internal workshop that included the account team. At each one, he’s had to define ABM in detail. He says: “You do have to keep saying it and it does get boring, but you have to be prepared to keep doing it. For other people, account-based marketing is a completely alien term and they might not know what is. You need to make sure they understand your definition of it, so they can reiterate it as well.”
5. Measure what counts and share results often
Set expectations with sales early. If you’re talking to an account manager on one or a few accounts, ask them what they want to see from marketing. It might surprise you. Ross says: “For example, some account managers are happy to see lots of web visits from the account they’re targeting.” Find out what it is they’re looking for, get that understanding early, and then set expectations around what you can deliver.
6. Beware of the quick win
Quick wins are important, but be careful. Ross says he’s been victim to this a few times. Think of ABM as a strategy, instead of something that can be attained in a set timeframe. There’s no set script for how to accomplish ABM on multiple accounts so be in the programme for the long run.
7. Research, research, research
Remember that ABM relies on both industry and account insights. Relying just on your sales team for knowledge creates a divide.
Ross says: “When you go in a room with an account team, and you know the account, maybe not as well as them, but to a certain degree, it makes a difference. They start to see you as knowledgeable, not just about your company and your products and marketing, but about the account being targeted.”
Additionally, make LinkedIn your best friend, and find out who people are, especially senior parties. The more you know about individuals in an account, the more you can tailor messages to their needs.
8. Keep your friends close, but your agencies even closer
If you're using an agency and things go wrong it can be tempting to blame them – tempting but not helpful. Take time to tell them exactly what you need from them. This is even more important when multiple stakeholders are working with those agencies. O’Neill says: “Personally, I like to keep control of the conversation between sales and agencies. I like to be that buffer in between.”
9. Sales move fast, you have to move faster
Sales people expect speediness, but you may not be able to deliver to their unrealistic expectations. “Sometimes you can’t deliver things quickly, but you can communicate quickly. That’s something I definitely try and do,” Ross advises.
10. Build up relationships as high up the chain as you can get
Senior buy-in, particularly on the sales side is extremely important with account-based marketing. Manifest these relationships, so you can guide them with a personalised approach through the funnel.
11. You can lead a horse to water, so do it
You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. This saying is applicable to sales. “In marketing, we can never create an opportunity. All we can do is get everything that we can possibly do for a salesperson to create an opportunity to ABM.”
While it may be frustrating, it’s important to give sales what they need. Once you’ve done this, you’ve enabled them with all the content they need.
Become an ABM champion: How to set and smash your targets
This year’s ABM report provides essential reading for those wanting to gain a realistic and confident view on the typical cost of ABM, how long it takes to hit ROI and the success marketers you’ll see along the way.