In strategic account planning, having a long-term account strategy is essential, as is forming a relational strategy, which we have discussed in the first two parts of our series. When you combine those two things, you can develop an Account Based Marketing (ABM) program that will truly set your organization apart.
It’s common for sales teams to only look at known opportunities. That’s a logical perspective if you are only trying to win familiar projects (such projects will most likely have a decision timeline within 12 months). However, if this is the case for your sales team, you are only looking at one piece of the puzzle, which means you are missing out on initiatives and goals. There is a gap here.
The Bigger Picture
We challenge our clients to fill in this gap and think beyond known projects or the upcoming pipeline to find or create opportunities. It’s beneficial to discover the company’s initiatives and goals and develop new ideas you can bring to the table as a salesperson.
If you look 24 to 36 months out and try to lead the customer buying process, you can provide insights connecting to significant trends in the marketplace. You can then introduce big ideas to help keep companies at the forefront to lead their markets. But unfortunately, this process is often complicated for sales teams to do independently.
Account Based Marketing
Enter Account Based Marketing. ABM is a solution many corporations are using these days, often driven by marketing and supported by technology. However, ABM needs three legs to the stool: sales, marketing, and product to be most effective.
Sales and Marketing
But often, sales are not always adequately included. As mentioned, sales teams need to do the heavy lifting to build relationships and navigate through organizations. This effort gives them significant insight into the organization’s top people and what’s important to them. For example, they find out that “Mr. CTO” is interested in learning about three particular topics, and he is very early in his buying cycle. But marketing doesn’t always include sales departments when gathering insights and instead puts out unrelated content and ads about other topics that are not of interest to “Mr. CTO.” In addition, most companies neglect to factor sales into the equation to connect everything.
Salespeople should communicate with marketing about the insights they discover so that marketing can do its part by putting out appropriate content and ads.
This holistic program allows you to understand the company’s strategy and develop a pipeline for what will happen in the next 24 to 36 months. With these tools and processes, sales teams can discover business opportunities. There may not be a project yet, but you are creating connections that will help the customer achieve the goals they are developing initiatives for right now.
Engage with us! We are interested in hearing your thoughts and ideas.