o, another Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and your marketing team and salespeople are still trying to find the perfect match. We’re not talking about romance here. Like everyone else, your marketing and sales teams know there are a ton of apps that can play Cupid if they’re looking for love on their own time, so we’ll assume they’re swiping left or right after hours.
But they’re still trying to find the perfect match to convert business opportunities into sales. Is there a Cupid for that? Marketers typically set the tone at the top of the sales and marketing funnel, wooing potential customers with passionate content at every stage of the customer journey, like modern day Cyrano de Bergeracs.
If everything works out just right, their efforts create a lead that sales can convert into revenue at the bottom of the funnel. But modern business (like modern love) can be complicated, especially on the business-to-business (B2B) side. Sales cycles tend to be longer, prospective buyers conduct independent research before you even know they’re interested, and more people are involved in purchase decisions.
ABM: Better than Cupid at targeting customers
Many B2B companies have responded to these challenges by adopting an account-based marketing (ABM) approach. This strategy lets them target companies in a much more focused way, creating the type of content beloved by the customer, expanding the seller’s footprint in customer organizations and creating long-term relationships.
Instead of targeting an entire industry, an ABM strategy lets you create content for a specific organization. You can drill down to the customer level and target prospects according to their role and where they are on the buyer journey. You can generate relevant content with unparalleled precision, which is why ABM is so popular. What’s not to love?
But while ABM allows you to pinpoint customers precisely, you need a matchmaker to link leads to an account, and then you’ll need to match the linked leads to the right salesperson or team for follow-up. And you’ve got to be able to accomplish all of this within the context of the CRM system. That’s a lot of matchmaking. But the first order of business is to connect your sales and marketing teams.
Marketing vs. sales: We’ve grown apart…
If there’s a disconnect between marketing and sales, an ABM strategy won’t work as well. To ensure alignment between the two teams, you’ll need to play matchmaker by encouraging your marketing and sales ops teams to meet on a regular basis. Marketing and sales should collaborate regardless of whether they use ABM, but teamwork is even more critical for the success of that strategy.
Another way to bring marketing and sales together is to create a single source of data truth. Sales relies on the CRM as their defacto revenue record. CRM data is credible in the C-suite too. If your company’s CRM system isn’t already in your marketing solution stack, it should be. With marketing data in the CRM, you can generate reports that are trusted throughout the organization.
So, to align marketing and sales, you need to consider the human angle — frequent meetings between the marketing and sales operations teams to make sure everyone is on the same page — and also the technology angle. A single source of data truth that resides in the CRM is a critical element.
Better than Tinder
Once your marketing and sales teams are collaborating effectively and in agreement about the numbers, it’s time to take the next step and find a product that can play matchmaker on a deeper level. There are products on the market that can automate lead-to-account matching, lead-to-contact conversion and lead-to-salesperson assignment.
Look for a matchmaker technology with fuzzy matching capabilities so that if one contact works at Acme Corporation and another’s employer is Acme, your software product can put two and two together and figure out they work at the same company. Also, make sure your software is customizable so that you can set the matching rules.
A product that lets you identify and target accounts that have the greatest impact on revenue and provides complete transparency into past activities and performance metrics is also key. Features like this allow you to make the right connections so you can intelligently handle inbound leads and send accounts messages that capture their heart, whether it’s Valentine’s Day or Groundhog day.
Market executives have a lot of matchmaking to do – connecting customers to messages, leads with accounts, marketing with sales, datasets with platforms, and leads to salespeople. But that’s what it takes for peak performance. With an ABM strategy, the right matchmaker is better than Tinder.
Bonnie Crater is the Co-Founder and CEO of Full Circle Insights