Account based marketing (ABM) is a B2B marketing and sales process that begins with a focus on accounts rather than only ‘leads’ or people. Rather than primarily using the conventional method of casting a wide net to reach potential leads, ABM “flips the funnel” and focuses on specific target companies or accounts, the “business”, instead of only the “lead” or person.
Inbound Marketing is a transformational approach to attract prospects with valuable content at each stage of the buyer process.
It’s the middle of Q4 and the end of the year is fast-approaching. For many, it is a time to slow down from work and spend time with family. For sales people, it’s can be a frantic time, as many B2B companies must close sales opportunities to achieve revenue goals.
So, what can the marketing team do to help the sales team and ring in the New Year on a positive note? Here are a few tips to align marketing and sales and help ease the December frenzy and drive some upward momentum into the New Year.
Inbound is great, but it has had it’s day…. and even with inbound strategies, the bulk of activity and spend is actually outbound. The reality? Businesses need both inbound and outbound. For B2B and Account Based Marketing, this should be managed across a single revenue (marketing-sales) value chain. We call this integrated program approach a Closed Loop Marketing Architecture … and it works!
Marketing Automation has been around since the 1990s. Back then, the focus was on automating email marketing— managing the development and delivery of emails to target lists at scheduled times. Over the decades, software developers expanded the capabilities of Marketing Automation to meet the requirements of a variety of marketing functions and users.
Today, Marketing Automation refers to a broad range software technology for marketing and it is an important element of closed loop marketing. Its evolution has raised many questions about what it is, what it does, and whom it benefits.
We are launching an exciting new content campaign introducing our new Closed Loop Marketing Architecture (CLMA) in the next few weeks. This new content is central to our core mission – to deliver closed loop marketing solutions for complex sales. Companies with complex sales, including financial services, investment management and B2B are looking for ways to align marketing and sales and drive top-line growth. CLMA helps them achieve this.
Our team members are enthusiastic about the new campaign and want to author blog posts about dimensions of the CLMA.
However, many of them consider writing a blog post a daunting task!
It does not need to be!
So, how can you write a [great] blog post quickly?
Typically B2B sales are complex and considered. Evaluation and decision making follows multiple stages of learning and evaluation. B2B sales cycles are longer and purchases typically have higher dollar volumes and higher risk. B2B is often characterized by team selling to committee buying. Decisions involve various stakeholders and influencers including economic buyers, solution users, procurement specialists, domain experts, etc. B2B buyers self sell. Sales teams are no longer the single source of product information and benefits. Education has shifted to the web where buyers search products and ‘self-sell’. The buying and selling process is fundamentally different in B2B and marketing and sales must work well together around the customer buying process.
When implementing CRM and Marketing Automation, first align marketing and sales with a Revenue Systems Blueprint.
For 20 years, CRM (and now Marketing Automation) has promised to help organizations capture customer value. Businesses that attract, sell, service and retain the best customers see positive effects on growth and profitability. By delivering relevant experiences, customers engage more deeply, become more loyal, and act as advocates. As sales and win rates go up, cost of acquisition goes down, satisfaction increases. The longer the relationship, the more opportunities there are to cross sell additional products and services and build lifetime value.
But, as the diagram below illustrates, marketing technologies are expanding rapidly and cut across every dimension of the marketing, sales and PR ecosystem. It is not as simple as selecting a CRM or a Marketing Automation solution. Successful implementation requires alignment across different business areas, especially marketing and sales.
Effective sales pipeline management is vital to your business. Align your teams around a ‘lingua franca’ to better manage deal qualification, forecasting and the sales process.
We know the B2B sales pipeline is changing. Inbound marketing and emerging marketplaces (like 99designs, Thumbtack and BlurGroup among others) manage elements of prospecting and the lead generation cycle outside of direct sales. Marketing plays a bigger role to drive inbound leads into the sales pipeline and marketplaces can replace some elements of sales outbound prospecting.
In complex or considered sales, the professional management of the sales process from working lead to committed remains vital. It is important to get the sales team on the same page and using the same sales process. Quite often, we see companies that are not using a common language for the sales pipeline. Forecasting is much more difficult when we are unclear about the status of each deal and the stage in the process. Firms often over-invest in some deals and under-invest in others while colleagues who support the sales effort become frustrated when time is wasted.