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4 elements of ABM activated sales and marketing revenue synergy

The sales marketing relationship is a real balancing act. Debbie Qaqish explores how ABM can be used to give sales and marketing a revenue focus

I frequently write about the state of the sales and marketing relationship, because it's the number one predictor of revenue marketing success. I've also lamented the still miserable state of this relationship as it relates to revenue, especially given today’s knowledge, skills and tools available in the market. One bright spot in this bleak landscape is account-based marketing (ABM). This new account-focused strategy accelerates and activates the integration of sales and marketing around a revenue focus.

Here are the four elements for ABM-driven sales and marketing integration:

1. Align marketing to the goals of the business and shift the mindset

A result of aligning marketing goals to company goals and sales goals is the mindset of what marketing is, begins to change. The perception of marketing as the 'pens and mugs' department begins to shift towards being a revenue partner to sales. In addition, the concept of what marketing delivers to sales also changes. Where you once delivered opportunistic MQLs to sales, now you deliver ABQLs – account-based qualified leads. While there are fewer number of leads, they are higher in quality, convert at a higher rate and result in much larger deals.

Sales and marketing revenue synergy: Nothing creates synergy faster than shared goals. Not having shared goals – especially revenue goals – is the number one complaint sales makes about marketing. Marketers, you must share the load and stress associated with generating revenue in order to gain the trust of your co-workers in sales.

2. Create the target account persona

Define all the key characteristics of your best target accounts – the sweet spot for your best deals. Do the research for this step: go look at past best deals – the ones you want to repeat - and extrapolate the information into this new persona. This should not be a guessing game.

Sales and marketing revenue synergy: You can be a big value add to the sales team during this step. Do your research and bring data to the conversation with sales. I’ve seen the 'gut' response of sales to what a target account look like be spot on, but I’ve also seen it be way off. By bringing data to the conversation, you help sales be more productive in this conversation – and they appreciate it!

3. Define the key demand generation activities and create the list of actual target accounts

Before creating the list of target accounts, take the time to fully scope the ABM effort by outlining key demand generation activities and the resources required to execute those activities to ensure success.  Because ABM is often so highly visible, you don’t want to stumble because you skipped this element.

Sales and marketing revenue synergy: While the sales team always wants it done yesterday, take the time to explain this critical step. Paint a picture of how failure may have a big impact on their account relationships and quota attainment. They will appreciate the straight talk. 

4. Put the revenue target on your back & be visible

What gets measured, get’s done. However, this element is not just about creating reports, but also about taking a number and sharing the responsibility to drive a revenue number. This type of action coupled with being highly transparent, aids in creating that sales and marketing synergy.

Sales and marketing revenue synergy: If you haven’t build a collaborative, revenue-focused relationship by this point with sales, chances are the credibility of all your KPIs will be called into question. I’ve seen this behavior way too often. By following all four prior steps and engaging with sales as your number one customer, by the time you get to this step, you should be a credible part of an integrated revenue team.

In conclusion

ABM provides a practical framework for creating sales and marketing revenue synergy. Both teams come to the table on a shared mission and jointly develop roles and responsibilities for the initiative. I hope to see this relationship foundation continue to solidify in all areas of revenue marketing. The company that can accomplish this will gain competitive advantage and elevate marketing beyond the pens and mugs department to the rock star status it deserves.