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Understanding Account Based Marketing & Account Based Selling


Create and prioritize handraisers in a sea of pre-MQLs
Create and prioritize handraisers in a sea of pre-MQLs
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Building Pipeline
Published 07/04/22
5 minutes read

Account based marketing (ABM) has quickly become a best practice for marketing to high-value target accounts at scale. If you are selling a complex solution that touches multiple business units within a large company, you likely employ some version of account based marketing to drive engagement with your target audiences and ultimately win new customers. When executed successfully, your ABM efforts can positively impact customer retention and even upsell revenue.

What Is Account Based Marketing?

Account based marketing is a B2B marketing tactic where Sales and Marketing collaborate to target key strategic business accounts. In essence, high-value accounts or prospects are identified, key stakeholders in these businesses are targeted, and a marketing strategy is implemented leveraging various channels to appeal to specific personas and speak to their unique needs.

A fully optimized ABM strategy includes an account based selling approach to complement the account based marketing activities.

What Is Account Based Selling?

Account based selling is a highly personalized strategic sales prospecting process that allows Sales teams to target multiple stakeholders within key accounts. Adopting an ABS approach will help your team hit quota, close more deals, and see higher ROI on your Sales campaigns.

Marketers use account based marketing techniques to ensure high-value target accounts are identified and engaged. One of the most important aspects of a sound ABM strategy is measuring key metrics associated with the interactions and behaviors of your audience at the account level rather than at the individual level. This will help you understand how multiple stakeholders at an individual company are engaging with your content. A company that is more highly engaged with your content is likely further into the buying cycle than one that only has one or two stakeholders interacting with your brand. Looking at the account holistically can help to identify where your prospect is in the buying cycle, can identify specific pain points, and can even provide insight into the individuals who are making decisions about your solution. This detailed data will help develop an account profile and reveal key buying-team role-players, such as end-users, advocates, recommenders, management influencers, and financial decision-makers.

Why Is Account Based Marketing and Account Based Selling Important

ABM and ABS have a common goal: revenue! Since topline growth is such a clear goal, one might assume that account based marketing and account based sales activities would be naturally aligned, with frictionless cooperation between these two functions. This is a valid assumption, but there must be a thoughtful plan in place to make certain that account based marketing and account based sales tactics are implemented cohesively in order to support the overall company objectives.

Account Based Marketing and Account Based Selling: The Handoff

A seamless handoff between your ABM efforts and your ABS efforts is critical to achieving meaningful results. For this handoff to work effectively, the Sales organization structure, outreach tactics, and key metrics need to be well established.

Team Organization

It is important to organize your Sales teams in a way that allows team members to focus on core activities without constantly shifting priorities to achieve disparate goals. Accordingly, many Sales teams are organized as follows:

  • Sales Development Reps (SDRs): responsible for setting demos, qualifying accounts, and ensuring account data is modeled correctly in CRM
  • Account Executives (AEs): responsible for closing new business and managing sales pipelines
  • Account Managers (AMs): responsible for customer retention, expansion, and upsell efforts

This specialization not only helps your team members focus, but it also provides your prospects and customers with specific points of contact as they progress through different stages of the buying process.

Consistent Content = Success

An account based selling approach will require your Sales teams to craft highly customized messages for key stakeholders on a regular basis. These messages will contain product videos, slide presentations, and customer testimonials. Sales and Marketing should work closely together to develop this content to ensure the messaging is consistent across all platforms.

Supporting your customer-facing teams in this manner will lead to faster response times to customer inquiries and increased audience trust. Your customers and prospects will notice when your Sales teams deliver content that supports a cohesive buying experience. They will appreciate the consistency of the message and begin to consider your team members as a resource to help them make decisions pertaining to your solution.

Measuring Inputs

An important facet of account based selling is scaling the gritty details of engaging prospects at the account level. While it is difficult to generate a report on the quality of a relationship with a specific account, it is possible to know how frequently accounts are being contacted, by whom, and with what type of content—if we measure the right activities. Account based marketing metrics focus on measuring audience engagement activities. When considering account based selling, we should measure outbound Sales activities such as:

  • Number of calls across roles within accounts
  • Number of non-automated emails to prospects
  • Number of accounts covered
  • Number of demos held

These activities are the granular inputs that drive the most important outcomes: pipeline generated and deals closed.

Getting Started With Account Based Marketing & Account Based Selling

Now that you know how to think about the difference between account based marketing and account based selling, you may wonder, “What’s next? How do I get started?” The following short list will help you develop a plan to get started with an account based marketing and sales strategy.

  1. Identify relevant accounts. Document your ideal customer profile, and identify which accounts should be targeted.
  2. Develop a content strategy. Create content that engages key stakeholders at a variety of stages in the buying cycle.
  3. Measure outcomes. Decide which metrics will be used to gauge account based marketing and sales impact.

Account based marketing goes beyond the standard practice of just having a Marketing team generate a lead and pass it along to the Sales team to convert the lead into a customer. It is an approach that aligns Sales and Marketing objectives to build relationships with your audience in a manner that is targeted, cohesive, and engaging.

Learn more about how Conversica AI Assistants empower Account Based Marketing and Sales for your business.

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