What’s it about sales and marketing that makes us want to pick one or the other?
Aren’t they supposed to be on the same team?
Then, why didn’t Deb from marketing ask sales if they wanted Starbucks too?
Not cool, Deb.
It can feel like an eternal struggle to harmonize sales and marketing. That’s why we asked a couple of industry titans about their take on sales and marketing alignment. Jillian Gartner, Director of Account-Based Marketing at Thomson Reuters, and Jake Dunlap, CEO of Skaled, offered their time to give us a better insight.
They both provide great practical tips for aligning sales and marketing in an ABM environment.
Here’s what we’re unpacking today:
- Establishing trust between marketing and sales
- Committing to ABM
- Developing a cohesive strategy
- Optimizing the strategy
1. Make it known that you’re on the same team
What better way to get sales and marketing on the same team than simply telling them they are? Of course, it’s not quite that easy.
To make it hit home that you’re all working towards the same goal, some tough conversations will likely have to take place.
Two methods that Jillian uses with her teams to open up about problems are:
- Choosing champions from both sales and marketing to help you bridge the gap.
- Administering surveys for each team to evaluate each other’s performance.
Choose some champions
Any underlying issues will need to be brought to the surface in order to foster a trusting and cohesive environment. Jillian suggests finding champions on both sides to regularly communicate with. These champions will be in charge of developing a bridge between marketing and sales.
Moreover, it will be up to the champions to isolate problems as well as opportunities for growth within marketing and sales. Because they’re more often working “in the weeds,” your chosen champions will have more focused perspectives of daily operations.
Use team surveys
Try administering a survey for each team to evaluate themselves and others anonymously. This is an excellent way to get people to open up about problems they wouldn’t bring up otherwise.
Anonymous surveys also help to isolate problems and opportunities. The champions you choose should be able to help you address any changes that result from the survey.
2. Commit to making ABM work
Is your whole team committed to account-based marketing? Your marketing team should be developing account-specific content that serves the sales team. At the same time, your sales team should be open to asking marketing for content and actually use what they create.
A marketing team committed to serving sales through ABM will…
… be aware of the actual revenue coming in from the sale, not just their MQLs.
… share successes with peers in sales.
… build sequences with sales.
… be constantly providing value for the sales team.
… be in tune with sales’ needs and pain points.
… let the sales team know that their pain points are acknowledged.
… develop educational content for sales to share and initiate conversations with.
… share the company’s standards for creating and posting content.
A sales team committed to collaborating on ABM with marketing will…
… have trust in marketing to create relevant content.
… share pain points with the marketing team.
… understand the company’s standards for creating and posting content.
… connect with all accounts on LinkedIn or the preferred professional platform.
… offer value to current and potential accounts.
… share successes with peers in marketing.
… build sequences with marketing.
… be honest about what content is/isn’t working.
If marketing and sales are both committed to ABM, it will make it that much easier for both teams to harmonize.
3. Understand that ABM is not just a campaign
Account-based marketing should not be treated as a one-time campaign. If both sales and marketing are truly committed, ABM will be the methodology you use to acquire and maintain accounts.
Once you acquire a new account, the ABM does not stop.
Marketing and sales need to continuously work together to offer current clients value. Each account should have its own tailored ABM strategy. What works for one client may not work for another.
If the accounts are qualified by marketing and sales, however, it will be worth it to develop custom ABM plans for each.
4. Have a strong optimization plan
Ongoing account-based marketing and optimization go hand-in-hand.
Throughout the acquiring and maintaining stages, marketing and sales should be testing and evaluating their processes. When analyzing a process, ask questions such as:
- In what ways did this process work?
- In what ways could this process improve?
- Is everyone comfortable with their roles in this process?
- Was all the necessary information communicated?
- Is the client satisfied?
By reflecting on your processes, marketing and sales can come together to optimize methods for the future. This way, each side has a chance to share any obstacles or opportunities for improvement.
Harmony is not impossible
By putting these four practical tips into play, you should be able to motivate sales and marketing to team up and continuously crush goals.