The relationship between marketing and sales can often be described as. . . well, competitive. And the idea that one is more important than the other, or that one “needs” the other, can certainly raise some hackles, especially when it comes to ABM.
An article from Marketing Insider Groups explains that proponents of account-based marketing (ABM):
. . . often cite that highly scored leads get ignored by sales because they are coming from companies that they don’t feel that they can sell to. The establishment of a target account list and adoption of an Account-Based Marketing strategy that leverages that list can serve to solve that problem. However, there is a tendency to take this too far — giving sales control of the list and a license to reject qualified leads that are not “target accounts.”
That means one team is not necessarily reporting to the other, but they are operating together. Organizations operating this way have one of two things going for them:
They have a true Chief Revenue Officer (CRO)
A CRO who’s not just an elevated VP of Sales, but someone who is truly looking after all aspects of both bookings and pipeline generation. Those organizations really get it because everyone is aligned around the same goals and has the same objectives.
This creates a clear alignment when moving through tasks like determining which accounts they’re going to target and how they are going to go to market against those accounts. These are just part of the natural notion of an organization like that.
If you have someone who oversees both the sales and marketing functions, plus renewals, upsells, and anywhere else revenue is generated within the organization—you might be a bit more successful with ABM right away.
The RollWorks blog explains ABM as “a highly-targeted approach. That means you’re spending both your time and resources on the most profitable accounts and improving conversion rates with a focused effort.”
This alignment of time and resources is much easier to coordinate and effectively implement when there is one person overseeing the whole operation.
They have a marketer with a strong understanding of selling
The other situation where an organization is generally very successful with ABM is when you have a marketer that either comes with having some sort of selling in their background or just really understands how modern selling is conducted and can speak in the language of selling.
Those two instances are where ABM performs the very best.
“As ABM is a full funnel activity, not just a marketing strategy, your team as a whole should be able to track and measure every aspect of your ABM campaign from first to last touch,” writes Ettie Greenwood on the Strategic blog.
“So instead of sales teams being solely focussed on deals and revenue and marketing only focussing on MQLs, opportunities and generating demand, both sides need to be aware of, and consider their joint impact through all stages of the funnel.”
So does this mean that Sales should be in charge of Marketing? Not at all. The two departments have an interdependent relationship: Sales needs marketing to provide marketing qualified leads in order to function. Marketing needs Sales to do their job well, so the company stays in business.
The two departments may have a strong rivalry, but one does not lead the other. They both require the other to function, and ABM should actually make that alignment much easier for both of them to function.
If you’re ready to learn how you can bring your marketing and sales teams together to run an awesome ABM program, get yourself a copy of How to Power Your Go-To-Market Strategy with FIRE to get started.