Why Sales Enablement is Key to an Account-Based Marketing Strategy

Written by James Self

Mar 26 2018

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In this post, we discuss why sales enablement is an important part of ABM.

Sales Enablement and Account-Based Marketing

In an account-based marketing (ABM) campaign, how and who you target depends largely on your starting point (or programme type), which in turn is dictated by your organisation's ABM maturity.

For example, at Strategic we have identified four tiers of ABM maturity:

  • ABM 1 to 1 - This is 'person based marketing', targeting specific individuals within an account.
  • ABM Lite - This is 'people based marketing', often targeting specific job titles within an account or vertical.
  • Inbound to ABM - This is persona-based marketing; ideal to target within a vertical and identify high-value, high-propensity accounts.
  • Inbound -  This is persona based marketing, where campaigns market to unknown accounts via organic and paid channels.

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If you’re conducting an account based marketing campaign, depending on your ABM starting point, one of your first tasks will be to identify your accounts (or personas), and start to expand the insight you have, to better tailor your campaign. 

Related: What is Account-Based Marketing?

To see ABM success, it’s important to engage accounts, and particularly the decision makers within your accounts, in the right way - via the right channels, at the right time, with account-bespoke content and propositions. 

Sales enablement is core to achieving this precise engagement; your marketing and sales teams must be truly aligned at every step for marketing to adopt the right strategies - and for sales to have the data they need to engage effectively. 

The right account data will be used to inform everything from bespoke sales propositions to account-specific content, to engagement channel selection - having a sales team enabled with the right marketing insight and assets is core to conducting strong, resonant ABM campaigns.

How Sales Enablement and Account-Based Marketing Fit Together

Before a sales professional connects with a lead, they must be enabled with the business intelligence and marketing insight to know exactly what makes prospects tick.

The technology, channels and mindsets we as buyers use when making a sales decision has changed. Today, we expect to purchase on our own terms. We want to engage with brands on our own choice of channels and on our own timescales.

To be successful, modern sales professionals must recognise this and act accordingly - particularly when engaging decision makers within key accounts.

Having access to the right data is core to helping sales teams build a better picture of their prospects. So before a sales professional connects with a lead, they must be enabled with the business intelligence and marketing insight to know exactly what makes prospects tick; they must have a data-backed understanding of who that individual decision maker is, recognising their unique challenges, interests, stage in the buyer’s journey and what they might be considering as a solution. At a top level, this is sales enablement.

Related:What Does It Mean To Be A Digital Salesperson In 2017?

Sales Enablement Within ABM

Account-based marketing campaigns target high-propensity, high-value accounts, particularly where markets are narrow, lead times are long, and account decision makers are many.

Here, for sales professionals to engage effectively, it’s important to have a sales enablement process in place as the right account data will be used to inform everything from bespoke sales propositions to account-specific content, to engagement channel selection. Having a sales team enabled with the right marketing insight and assets is core to conducting strong, resonant ABM campaigns.

Related: Prepare Your Organisation to Adopt Account-Based Marketing

Importantly, to ensure successful engagement, sales and marketing teams MUST be completely aligned in order for both teams to have the insight needed to:

  • Identify the accounts that are right for ABM tactics
  • Create bespoke ABM content that will resonate uniquely with each decision maker within the DMU
  • Engage and nurture at the right times, in the right ways and through the right channels.

Using Sales Enablement To Engage Key Accounts

Effective sales enablement will help your sales team develop account trust and personalise engagement for stronger relationships. 

Related: How To Enable Your Sales Team With Strong Content

Account-based marketing is transforming the way we engage with buyers.

Of course, great sales enablement does more than just enable sales teams with insight and business intelligence on key accounts. It’s a strategy to support a more personalised, relevant experience with your brand. So, as developing in-depth account relationships is a core goal of ABM, effective sales enablement will help your sales team develop account trust and personalise engagement for stronger relationships. 

Having the right technology in place - an integrated marketing automation platform and CRM - is important here. Both your sales and marketing teams must have access to shared insight about account decision makers as individuals, as this will:

  • Allow sales are to understand the best, personalised messaging, channels and propositions to engage with
  • Help marketing develop account-bespoke strategies and content

Lastly, it’s important to remember that in ABM, every account decision maker will have different challenges, priorities and preferences. Ensuring your sales team are enabled with as much lead data and insight as possible - from all relevant channels and sources - is core to developing truly bespoke, resonant campaigns.

B2B Marketing Zone