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B2B sales reject 90% of what you do – turn it around with ABM

There are some compelling stats circulating the B2B world at the moment, but here’s three that stand out:

  • B2B sales teams reject up to 90% of what Marketing comes up with. (IDC)
  • 71% of business executives get “turned off” by sales pitch content – yet 93% of marketers continue to tie their content directly to products and services. (The Economist)
  • 58% of buyers disengage because sales reps are not able to help them solve business challenges or articulate the value of proposed solutions. (Qvidian)

These dismal facts point to a high degree of wasted effort (and budget). Worse still, they suggest that B2B content and campaigns are having limited impact on the customer.

Generic content just doesn’t cut it

A quick stroll through Heathrow Airport brings this into sharp focus for the tech sector. We see costly ad real estate taken up with vague messaging about the cloud and its ‘better efficiency’.

Whilst this may influence brand awareness, who is this actually aimed at? And what is the ROI?

Account-based marketing sidesteps these pitfalls by using marketing investment in a much more targeted way, uniting sales and marketing around individual customers.

This means your account plan, sales approach and marketing strategy are all neatly tied together and agreed from the get-go.

When sales and marketing come together

A good example of how sales and marketing can work in tandem is when they come together on a specific bid project.

The use of account-based marketing reinforces a bid’s technical and commercial requirements and sets you apart from your competitors.

Here’s how:

  • Start with insight – tender documents are usually packed with facts. But what else can you uncover by social profiling the decision makers involved in the process?
  • Create a single-minded proposition – what is the one thing you want people to remember from all your bid materials? Answer this question and reinforce it wherever possible.
  • Run a creative theme – this not only delivers consistent and professional bid collateral but also instils more imagination into the process, e.g. get the sales director to write a personal pledge or use a video to bring your proposition to life.
  • Get your brand front of mind – whether it’s via Twitter, LinkedIn Groups or paid for placements.
  • Connect brand values – think about how to demonstrate your suitability for working together by being sympathetic to your client’s culture.
  • Don’t forget the basics – talk about your customer at the start of any sales presentation (not your company), think about business outcomes (not your products), talk value and ROI (not price).

Finally, try and always avoid mass-produced brochures.  If your brand department gets twitchy then remember very few people will see your collateral and it could make the difference between success and failure.