How to Improve Marketing & Sales Alignment

How to Improve Marketing & Sales Alignment

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The most important thing in any relationship is communication. For too long communication between marketing and sales has been strained at best, and this well-reported disconnect has hamstrung efforts on both sides. However, according to a new study by the Marketing Technology Council, the space between the two disciplines may be closing.

The study indicates that contemporary marketing is increasingly driven by sales with nearly 70% of B2B marketers claiming that “driving traffic and leads” and “acquiring and retaining customers” are their two biggest business goals. This emphasis makes sense. Fifty-four percent of the same marketers identified the #1 thing sales is demanding is “more leads.”

Given this demand, marketing is rising to the challenge. According to the study, the average number of martech products per company is now 16, with 20% using more than 20. The list is heavy in lead gen/nurturing with 70% of B2B marketers employing events and content marketing technologies, 56% using marketing automation, and 25% applying account based marketing (ABM).

Sales & Marketing Alignment

Over the next year, we should expect to see ABM adoption increase as sales and marketing teams realize that the technology encourages their collaboration.

Savvy ABM begins with collaboration. When sales provide marketing with an account list that identifies the companies it wants to pursue, it gives marketing a game plan. But, it would be a mistake to target this list blindly when data exists that can prioritize the list into two buckets: 1) those demonstrating research activity around relevant topics, and 2) those that are not currently demonstrating activity.

The two buckets should be treated very differently with messaging aligned to each. Bucket 1 demands messaging and content that is helpful, informative and relevant. Bucket 2, while not currently demonstrating in-market signals, should not be ignored. This is a branding play, for now. As Bucket 2 moves into the research phase, as some will, you want your brand to be top of mind.

The Proof is in the Metrics

The Marketing Technology Council study shows that a scant 7% of B2B marketers have ABM analytics as part of their martech stack. What this means, at least for the respondents of this survey, is that 7% of them are doing ABM right.

ABM without measurement, as we have written on this blog before, is like a tree falling in the forest. If no one’s around to hear it, it doesn’t make a sound. In the same way, if you’re not measuring your ABM you’re not really doing ABM.

The original blog post goes more into specifics, but for the sake of this one, let’s boil it down to one salient fact: the best ABM metrics will help you show sales how you are influencing their target accounts. Not only that, it will help them understand when an account is ready for a call, and when it still needs to be nurtured. In this way, sales and marketing are working in synch, both expectations and goals are aligned.

Finally, the Council’s study ultimately revealed that 50% of B2B marketers feel that there simply are “too many technologies to keep up with.” But as ABM providers begin to straddle the lines of some existing technologies, we may very well see the martech stack grow smaller in the coming years.

Image courtesy Flazingo Photos.


Download our How to Get Started with Account Based Marketing ebook and see how you can set your sales and marketing teams on the road to alignment.

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