Have you ever discussed Account-Based Marketing (ABM) with a sales leader? In our experience, for many of them – including several CSOs, CROs and CEOs – the potential of ABM is still not well understood or even on their radar as a key revenue driver (and yes, we know this is not a representative sample!).
They’re not sure they should even care about it: “Sounds like a marketing campaign,” we’ve heard more than a few times.
The answers to “Why should I care?” and “Why should I lead?” are straightforward:
- Sales leaders can get the valuable resources and content they need to close key deals
- Sales leaders’ insights and guidance is vital for selecting the right accounts and engaging them most effectively throughout the customer’s journey to purchase.
Sales leaders should take notice: Account-Based Marketing now accounts for nearly 30%* of B2B marketers’ total budgets and is growing (+21.3% year-to-year*). (*ITSMA & ABM Leadership Alliance 2019 ABM Benchmark Study)
This is a lot of money plus people and content that can help dramatically in closing the highest-value opportunities.
The time has come for sales leaders to jump from learning to leadership when it comes to account-based sales and marketing approaches for their top accounts. This holds for both expanding business within current clients and for winning new accounts in the opportunity pipeline.
We’ve specifically been using the term “account-based sales and marketing” rather than ABM (Account-Based Marketing) because, in practice, when account-based approaches are most successful it is because they are truly, measurably jointly owned and operated by sales and marketing.
But sales leaders as account-based sales and marketing leaders? Why?
Any sales leader will tell you that they need help closing large, complex deals with long sales cycles.
Today this need for help closing large deals is particularly acute. From Gartner:
“The typical buying group for a complex B2B solution involves six to 10 decision makers‚ each armed with four or five pieces of information they’ve gathered independently and must deconflict with the group.”
“Gartner research finds that when B2B buyers are considering a purchase‚ they spend only 17% of that time meeting with potential suppliers. When buyers are comparing multiple suppliers‚ the amount of time spent with any one sales rep may be only 5% or 6%.”
(Source: Gartner CSO Update, “The new B2B buying journey and its implications for sales”)
More people are involved in the decision. And those decision makers are spending less time with sales reps.
This is where account-based sales and marketing comes in: it’s how to become part of the customer journey toward making a decision before they even contact you! And it helps you engage multiple decision makers over the course of the entire journey.
Further, we know that account-based methods increase deal sizes, win rates, conversion rates, and make decision makers more willing to buy:
- 90% of marketers that use ABM have seen larger deal sizes. (Sirius Decisions)
- 86% increased their win rates vs. traditional Go-to-Market plans. (TOPO Account Based Survey 2019)
- Individual customer stakeholders who perceived supplier content to be tailored to their specific needs were 40% more willing to buy from that supplier than stakeholders who didn’t. (CEB in Harvard Business Review)
- 91% of orgs have better conversion from pipeline to closed as a result of using ABM approach. (Sirius Decisions)
- 85% of marketers said ABM significantly benefitted them in retaining and expanding existing client relationships. (Marketo)
On top of this, companies that have achieved sales and marketing alignment deliver:
- +32% increase in revenue growth (*Aberdeen Group Report)
- +38% higher win rates (*Marketing Profs Survey)
Sales leaders, still not convinced? Your sales and account knowledge is critical for success for an increasing amount of B2B marketing spend (that could be helping your own efforts). We know you’re focused on delivering the best customer experience and developing enduring customer relationships. So finally, we offer this:
- ABM helps reduce up to 50% of sales time wasted on unproductive prospecting.
- 30% of teams that worked in an account-based manner reported greater than a 100% engagement increase with their C-level targets. (Sirius Decisions)
With a well-designed process and the streamlined management system to run it, a sales leader should find, ultimately, that the time taken to lead is time extremely well-spent. The proof will be in the uplifts in revenue, ROI, and relationships. What could be more compelling?