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  • Josh von Scheiner

Dynamic ABM: Making Marketing & Sales Friends Again

We talk to a lot of B2B companies. Increasingly, we see two problems pop up again and again:

  • Brand marketers at the largest companies are completely separate from the sales team.

  • Everybody has an ABM program but the effectiveness of that program is decreasing.

As more companies employ ABM campaigns, they have become less effective - everybody is being targeted with their own personal marketing campaign. As a result, many of the companies we talk to are expanding the reach of their ABM programs. Programs are being created that target 300 companies. In essence, we see companies with two different groups both running brand campaigns. Yikes.

It doesn’t have to be a problem though. There’s enough room for everybody to play in the sandbox. We just need to coordinate. Cue the drumroll because we have the top four things every business-to-business brand needs to do to build a more effective ABM-powered marketing program.

1. Everybody Needs to Tell the Same Story. It sounds incredibly simple but it’s the biggest area everybody overlooks. The marketing team tells a really pretty brand story but doesn’t communicate the value of the product. The sales team sells product benefits but forgets to tell people why they should care in the first place. Both groups do what they can to fill in the missing pieces. Seldom do they coordinate with each other. Potential clients see all of this, get confused and tune it all out. Ouch.

Two things need to happen. First, everybody needs to understand without a doubt what the company stands for, why it exists, and what it sells. This isn’t limited to marketing and sales - finance, product development, etc - everybody needs to know these things. It means that at a minimum with no coordination, at least all the messages that a company puts out into the world will all build on each other and support the company.

The second is there needs to be a clear understanding of the handoff between groups or marketing activities. When does a company need to hear general branding messages vs specific product messages? Well, on to the rest of the list!

2. Start Big. Start at the Top. Instead of drafting a small number of key targets, start with a larger list of potential targets and create a content plan that targets all of them. This is a branding campaign. Flex those biceps, show some leg, make it sexy! The only goal is to get people excited. This is the opener, not the closer.

Most importantly, measure, measure, measure. Clicks, time on site, engagement rates - these are all insightful data points that help the marketing and sales teams to know who’s listening and what they care about. Make that 1st person data sing!

3. Handoff Time! The awareness is there, the excitement is high. In essence, the door has been cracked open. The tools exist to know who’s interested and what they’re interested in. Time to talk ABM. Why create target lists in a vacuum when instead, we can go after warm leads. We know who they are and know what they’re interested in. Nobody should be cold calling and nobody should be guessing. Sales can build on what branding has already established. The story builds.

4. Hand That Hot Potato Back. Sales has been talking to potential clients. About what? How have they responded? What separated the Yes Please’s from the No Thank You’s? Ad Tech is calling this Zero Party Data and it’s gold. Collect it, analyze it and it feeds not only product development but the next round of brand marketing. Maybe that company on the fence needs a little more inspiration. Maybe the company that said no isn’t a great sales prospect now but they’re still a great marketing one. A light touch keeps you top of mind. Eventually, should they come around, you’ll see it in your 1st person data and can put them back on the ABM list. Keep the cycle going until the sales closes.

Bring together your sales and marketing teams and put some pep in that ABM step. Bonus: you’ll know how to judge the success of your branding programs in a specific way. Excited but need a little help? If only there was an agency one could call...

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