How Salespeople Can Be Account Based Marketing’s Secret Weapon

Some think sales has nothing to do with account based marketing. But here are three ways sales professionals can greatly improve their company’s ABM efforts.

March 8, 2017

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Because it’s called account based “marketing” (ABM), many assume sales has little to do with ABM. Yet salespeople can play a critical role in the success of ABM initiatives which, in turn, means more qualified leads in your pipeline. Here are three reasons why you could be the marketing team’s secret weapon.

1.Sales Can Access People and Information That Marketing Cannot

As a sales professional, you meet in person with prospective buyers, giving you the opportunity to find out more about the account’s initiative and who is involved. This access is beyond marketing’s reach. As you interact with prospects, you can ask critical questions to validate – or disqualify – an opportunity. Marketing’s only insight in this regard is gleaned through the prospect’s digital interactions with the company and content downloads. You can even seek out purchase influencers who are not online and not engaging with your content – again, an exercise that is beyond the purview of most marketers.

2. Sales Can Enable a Level of Personalization and Targeting Beyond Marketing’s Means

Poorly targeted marketing and broad-based marketing masquerading as personalized communication increasingly runs the risk of backlash. Just see what happened when one misguided salesperson sent a generic message to the CTO of Amazon without doing his homework. While the CTO changed the rep’s name so as not to publicly humiliate him, he did share the exchange on Twitter to express his frustration at receiving poorly targeted emails.

While we will continue to see advancements in “personalization at scale,” the truth is that effective personalization is still hard to execute at scale. Sure, marketers can now segment audiences and send messages that appear more personal than a few years ago, yet most buyers can easily discern a marketing-personalized message from an actual personal message. Buyers still value handwritten note-style messages, even in digital form. In certain situations, the salesperson should be the one to deliver these messages, making  them truly personal.    

3. Sales Can Incorporate Feedback More Quickly

Sales can pivot strategy more quickly and improvise more freely than marketing in response to buyer feedback and interactions. This can even include stopping efforts with an account entirely, such as upon learning that project funding has been pulled. Or it may mean tweaking an existing message or content asset to better speak to the target account’s concerns and priorities. Handling these one-offs in a timely manner is tough for the marketing team. But such individualized attention is part and parcel of a top-notch sales professional’s standard way of operating.

As a salesperson, remember your critical role as it relates to ABM. And when the marketing team brings up the topic, ask for a seat at the table. The most effective ABM strategy combines the best of sales and marketing to enhance the pursuit of high-potential accounts.

Want to learn how to your ABM strategy to the next level? Download our free eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Account-Based Marketing and Social Selling