Over the last couple of years, we have seen sales and marketing convergence happen in hundreds of manufacturing and life sciences companies just like yours with astonishing results. In this webinar, we will share how your marketing and sales teams can converge to drive more business outcomes with account-based marketing.
Tav Tepfer (00:00):
Okay. Well, thank you. Thank you, everyone, for joining. This is a series that we're doing for ABM and this topic today is around the convergence of sales and marketing. So today I have Jonathan Alves with me to discuss the best practices in marketing and sales alignment. He works with several large manufacturers and has been instrumental in getting those sales teams involved with the ABM program. So thanks for joining me, Jonathan.
Jonathan Alves (00:57):
Thank you for the introduction, Tav. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening to everybody, depending on where you are in the world. It's a pleasure to be speaking with you today. As Tav mentioned, I've spent the last several years working with our global customers on how to better improve sales and marketing alignment, as it relates to the programs that they execute, specifically ABM, Account-Based Marketing. I know it's been a big question mark, for many years, for many marketers on how to better align with your sales teams to get the most out of your programs, to get the recognition for the work that you're doing.
Jonathan Alves (01:32):
That's been my mission over the last several years. The good news is that at Jabmo, we have several strategies, several tactics, several ideas to help you answer this question. So I'm really excited to be here today. I'm joining you from friendly Boston, Massachusetts in the East Coast of the United States. Before we get started, no, I do not know Mark Wahlberg or Ben Affleck, but they do visit the city quite often, but it's a pleasure to be here. And I'm looking forward to the discussion today. Thank you, Tav.
Tav Tepfer (02:27):
Great, great. Well, good. Well, thanks for joining, and I look forward to the discussion. So first I know that it's really important to select the right target accounts in an ABM program. So can you share how you help your clients select those for targeting?
Jonathan Alves (02:44):
Absolutely. This can often be an obstacle to getting started with an ABM or a digital targeting program. Which target accounts do I select? Which are the right fit? And so at Jabmo, what we focus on doing is thinking less initially about the target account that will be in the program and more so on the use case or the objective or the priority. This is a great opportunity to involve sales in the upfront discussion. We have several different interactive ways that we handle this in workshops, looking at word clouds, for example.
Jonathan Alves (03:20):
What word clouds can do, is you can throw a bunch of different ideas up on the board around different ideas, different topics, different priorities, different use cases. For example, are target accounts involved in renewal discussions? Are there expansion opportunities? Are there active opportunities that you're trying to get over the finish line? These are all different use cases that you can discuss. And from there you can map the appropriate account to that use case. So it takes away some of that guesswork and some of that burden on wanting to know where to focus.
Jonathan Alves (03:54):
The second thing that we really encourage our customers to do is gather an overall account list. Working with the sales team on which accounts are really important. We call this a key account list. So the key account list is a broad list. That's inclusive of all of the organizations that the business, that sales, that marketing that you believe are important and what we can do at Jabmo initially, before we launch any campaigns, is we can monitor the first party intent around those accounts, the digital engagement. We can show you insights on what these accounts are most interested in from a content or a topic standpoint, locations of activity.
Jonathan Alves (04:35):
There's a whole plethora of data that we can gather, and that can be really critical in helping you to select accounts for targeting. So there are a couple of different ideas there, and it can be really fun and interactive. And by getting the sales team involved in this discussion early in the process, their excitement grows, they're vested in it, they're happy that you're partnering with them and it sets you up for a lot of success.
Tav Tepfer (05:03):
Yeah, I think that's great advice. I see a lot of clients struggle with trying to get that target account list right in the very beginning. And instead, if they'll go to their sales team and just get the key accounts, the ones that have the most potential revenue, they can start thinking about these use cases and then align target accounts, the ones to send advertising to. So I like that. Get customers and key accounts from the sales team and then think about your campaign and then think about who to target. I think that's really a good practice.
Tav Tepfer (05:38):
So I know that once you pick those accounts, you know the campaigns, marketing is pretty good at knowing the campaigns they want to run, figuring out how to launch them, what that messaging is. But then when do you engage sales again? And how often do you engage them through the ABM program?
Jonathan Alves (05:58):
Yeah. So sales should be continuously involved in the ABM program from start to finish, but it really comes down to making sure that you're providing the right information at the right time to the right sales group. So at Jabmo, what we really focus on with ABM is moving a target account digitally through a buyer's journey from an early problem awareness stage to ultimately a solution and product stage. So in the early stages of that journey, this is a great opportunity for us to be able to monitor the spikes and increases in engagement with that early stage messaging. And what you can do is you can see the accounts that are reacting favorably to this messaging and spiking in terms of their activity. And you can provide those lists of account names and even the location of the activity to your inside sales, SDR, business development team to help them prioritize their outbound calling efforts.
Jonathan Alves (07:04):
This is also a great opportunity for those inside SDR, BDR teams to be able to validate some of the interest and activity that we're seeing digitally and position themselves as the experts because they're reaching out around relevant and timely topics that are being consumed digitally by these accounts. The other thing is, is we also want to incorporate, and we do incorporate, automated emails for the sales organization. So it's a great way to proactively push information to the sales team that helps show a prioritized list of accounts week over week that are showing an increase in activity, where the location of that activity is deriving and what content is resonating most.
Jonathan Alves (07:51):
So that also helps with those prioritization efforts early in that buyer journey stage if we're applying this methodology. Once an account, though, continues to move and evolve through that buyer journey process beyond the awareness and into the consideration to decision phase, this is a great opportunity now for us to be able to hone in on that specific account and produce a deliverable for the commercial team. This would typically be delivered to a key account manager or an account executive that has or owns that relationship with the account, but this deliverable, we call it a sales battle card, is a visual mapping that is representative of that account's digital journey stage by stage and their responsiveness to the different messages that began with early problem awareness and focused and ended on solution and product.
Jonathan Alves (08:47):
This insight, this battle card has been tremendously impactful for sales to then reach out to their known relationship contacts, to have a timely and relevant conversation around what is indicative of a potential project or opportunity developing. So this battle card is one of the other ways that you can use these insights, when an account becomes ready based on their movement through that journey to engage our sales team. And then the final thing that I would say to have, and this one is sometimes overlooked, is we meet with our day-to-day customers, typically the marketers in on a program every two to four weeks, and we continuously look at insights and results, but we also pulled together quarterly business reviews, QBRs.
Jonathan Alves (09:32):
So in these QBRs, it's a great opportunity to include your sales partners because what we can do here, and what we do is we look at the program holistically, the results that we have today, and then we can narrow and drive into specific accounts. This is an opportunity now for the sales team to see what we have done, our current program status and provide feedback and input on the next phase of messaging, feedback on what conversations that they've been having, and it's an opportunity, in some cases, to even pivot on the messaging based on the learnings that we have.
Jonathan Alves (10:07):
It makes a sales team feel very much part of the discussion. It makes the conversation very collaborative, and it's a great opportunity for each of the organizations to team up and continue the objective of moving these accounts ultimately to your solution and your unique strengths. You can also replicate these conversations with other sales folks and replicate the model. So if you don't have access to the entire sales organization, if you're only getting a few to participate in that QBR, that's okay because you'll learn a lot around the model that works and you can apply it across the board.
Tav Tepfer (10:43):
Yeah. And I could see how feedback from the sales team would be so valuable, right? And then to your point, the more you help a sales rep move the deal through their pipeline. They're going to be more willing to help you market to their customers or prospects. I think the thing I see most often happen is marketers want to share the engagement from stage one as if it's a lead when it's not quite yet an indicator that they're in the decision phase or even in the consideration phase, right? You're teaching them in stage one and stage two. So you're not really ready to get sales to reach out.
Tav Tepfer (11:25):
And then I can see in stage three how an SDR or a BDR, that'd be a great time to call and help them with more information. And then really when they get into that product level, solution level information and digging, then you get the KAM involved or the key account manager involved. And I think that's great. That's great insight. You mentioned that you want to align to metrics that are helpful to sales and help them know where they are in the sales cycle. How are you accomplishing that today?
Jonathan Alves (12:00):
Yeah, so metrics are really critical to prove the success of an ABM program. And there are, you know, marketing metrics, there are sales metrics, there are business impact metrics. We use many different metrics as an account moves throughout the buyer journey to indicate their readiness for a sales conversation, their readiness for the next stage of messaging. But ultimately we do want to focus on business outcomes. So once we go beyond things like reach and engagement, then we can start to look at areas around what products these accounts are most interested in, the location of this activity geographically, where it's driving from, and we can aggregate and summarize all that information.
Jonathan Alves (12:43):
But then moving beyond that, what we really encourage our customers to do is integrate our data with their CRM so that we can actually pull in opportunity, sales activity information into our dashboards. And what we do is we take a very scientific approach to help show the business impact by focusing on control groups and ABM group accounts. So control groups are accounts that are similar to the ABM group accounts, the ones in the program receiving the messaging. And we put a nice comparison together side-by-side to show the differences in reach, engagement, and then ultimately, pipeline opportunities. And we really focus on deal size and win rate.
Jonathan Alves (13:29):
And when sales sees this information at a high level on the dashboard, they get really excited. Executives get excited too, but sales gets really excited because they can see for a program that you ran how that ultimately impacted their pipeline, their opportunity and their win rates. And what it does is it creates more hand-raisers in your organization to want to participate, which then gives you the opportunity and the budget to do more programs with these teams. So using this analysis, using data, we're able to show tangible metrics when it comes to business impact and business outcome. And that's ultimately one of the big things that we're driving for that's going to be really helpful for you as you look to do more of these programs as marketers.
Tav Tepfer (14:17):
Yeah. And that makes sense, right? If you're reaching out in advance of them doing their research, you're shaping, their thinking in advance, with shaping the problem, helping them understand the problem. It makes sense that then you'll win more often because you shaped their thinking and pointed them to your solution. And it makes sense that the deals would be bigger because you're not waiting till the last minute and getting in a price war because they don't understand your differentiation. So that makes perfect sense.
Tav Tepfer (14:53):
Well, great. This has been a really great discussion. We do have a couple of questions, so I want to get to those. So one is, what interactions from accounts do you show to know that they're interested in your product and move them to that consideration stage?
Jonathan Alves (15:08):
Yeah. So one of the really nice things that we can do and we set up a program is, in addition to gathering your key accounts, we can also gather from you a list, a grouping of URL pages that are key. And we can group those URL pages by things like product. And then we can report back on which accounts are most interested in which products, and it's very clear to see. So we'll look at things like that in terms of content that's being consumed. And we'll try to make it as simple as possible. If we set up key URL pages and we name those pages and we group them, we'll also look at location of activity. If the activity is driving out of very specific cities and states, that'll also be an indicator.
Jonathan Alves (15:57):
And then recency and frequency of the visits, how many people? How often are they coming? How long are they staying on these content pages, right? Thirty, 60, 90, 120 seconds, and we'll aggregate all of that information to show you what that looks like. So there's several different data points that we use to help indicate when those accounts are interested and most interested in the product. This is all in addition to when you're running a campaign because we're going to, we're going to report on the message itself that's been delivered and the responsiveness to that message. So that's going to be an indicator as well.
Jonathan Alves (16:38):
And then we'll also look at the other digital channels for which people come into your website. So are we seeing in this phase of messaging an impact on people coming directly to your site or organically to these pages? That's a good indicator, as well. We will work together at the beginning of a program to establish baseline metrics. So we have a baseline level of engagement for how your key accounts are thinking about you today digitally. We'll launch the messaging and the program. We'll have grouped your key URL pages. And then we can report back on determining, has there been a threshold spike and increase, and are they ready for the next phase of messaging or are they later in the program and ready for that battle card, that sales conversation?
Tav Tepfer (17:23):
Yeah. And I'd say not all content is created equal, right? I mean, in the beginning, you're really seeing if your message resonates with those accounts. Maybe the problem statement's not right. Maybe they're not interested in that problem, or they don't have that problem. So you get that learning from a marketing standpoint. But when they really get into looking at a case study, trying to see how else solves the problem because they know the problem matters to them, that's when, when you start to get your SDR involved because they are considering how to solve it. If they start reading a white paper in detail, they want to know how to solve the problem. And then when they start going to your solution specifically, that's when the intent to buy, that's a signal that they're really interested in buying. So I think that's good.
Tav Tepfer (18:19):
Another question is, what data have you found most useful for marketing to share with sales in order to execute on opportunities?
Jonathan Alves (18:29):
Absolutely. So I think that there's several different data points that are really helpful and they're valuable at different stages depending on where the account is in a buyer journey if that's a program that we're executing. Salespeople get really excited to know location of activity, and they get really excited to know what content is being most consumed by their accounts. So when we work together and set up a program, having an understanding of what are the high value pages, product oriented, and if we can group them that way, we can show sales what products which are tied to those pages that their accounts are most interested in, in as close to real-time as possible.
Jonathan Alves (19:11):
So those are two really strong areas that sales gets very excited about. It also, in some cases, validates the conversations that they're having if they see the data being replicated digitally. So if they're talking about a certain product and they're correlating that digital activity to that product on the website by these different stakeholders at that account, it's a real big win, and it helps validate that.
Tav Tepfer (19:36):
Yeah. And I'd say this example of a battle card here, the sales rep does want to see that they've moved through the problems like, "Oh, they get that that's their problem, and now they're researching the problem. Okay. Where? Where are these people located," to Jonathan's point. And in this case, so this was Eaton selling to Abbott, and Abbott, their headquarters is in Chicago, but Temecula, California was the one that was actually surging. So the key account manager called the business team there in Temecula and found out they were having a project. They were doing a remodel there at that location. And Eaton had led them through that journey the whole way. And they were already sold on that, the halo lighting product and the smart technology because they'd been led through that journey. So it was a really nice win and salespeople like to see what they've consumed and from where so that they know how to reach out.
Tav Tepfer (20:43):
Another question is, can you do this for verticals like higher ed or healthcare, or do you need names of companies that we target? So yeah, we do it both for higher ed and healthcare, but we do use the names of, whether it's an IDN for healthcare or different collections of universities. We can do that as well, and we do the accounts that are underneath those bigger groups or the hospitals or whatever it might be, the universities. So absolutely works for the verticals, but we can help with the digging up of those names when they're grouped together.
Jonathan Alves (21:20):
I might also add to that question, too. Part of our solution would give you visibility into every company that we can identify that's coming to your website. So we'll de-anonymize visits to your website for every company that we can pick up, and then you can filter and see that by vertical. So if you're struggling or thinking about which account should I focus on? How do I build a key account list? How do I build a target account list? There is technology that can help you. And we can enable you to see that visibility and find out which healthcare organizations or which universities are visiting your site today. And you could potentially be putting them into a program.
Jonathan Alves (21:57):
So we'll help you build the list if you're starting from scratch and you're really struggling, or you're not getting the feedback. But I do think if I go back to the original point, if you involve sales in the conversation, they'll have a pretty good idea on what are high priority accounts and you'll be off and running.
Tav Tepfer (22:15):
Great, great point. Okay. Another question is at what stage would you recommend getting sales in touch with the prospect? So, yeah, and you say stage three, stage four. So yes, at stage three, we typically ask the SDR or the business development rep to reach out, and then at stage four, your higher level sales person, your key account manager, maybe a regional manager if it's a specific location like this to reach out.
Jonathan Alves (22:51):
I'd also add that it's important, and this is something that we partner a lot with our customers on and the marketing teams that we work with. It's about making sure that the sales team has the context of what they're looking at with this visual map and the awareness around what's happened. And what we do is we encourage the key account manager or the sales rep, if we're handing the battle card that has that relationship to use the information, to approach their known contacts and relationships topically about what's been presented and what the account has responded to. And what we find is that that creates a relevant and timely conversation with those folks because they have been exposed to this messaging digitally, and the wider buying committee has been exposed to this messaging digitally. So it gives them an opportunity to bring something that's very relevant to the table for those known relationships and known contacts.
Tav Tepfer (23:48):
And again, if you get sales involved in stage one or stage two, they're not going to find that information valuable yet. So they're going to actually move farther away from you, from alignment because what you're giving them is not valuable. So waiting until you really see a surge that is valuable to the sales team really does go a long way with getting that alignment.
Tav Tepfer (24:16):
Well, great. I mean, this has been a great discussion, Jonathan. I think it's not easy to get marketing aligned with sales or to get salespeople engaged in a marketing program, but we all know it's important, and I do think ABM can really facilitate those conversations by adding value. All the analysts, Forester, other analysts are really saying in 2022, it's the year of digital selling. It's moving ABM programs into selling digitally, which really means that the sales marketing teams need to be in lock step and be sharing and collaborating, and we're happy to, to help you do that.
Tav Tepfer (25:01):
So great. I mean, thank you very much for the time. We'll have an opportunity for you to reach out. We do run sales and marketing alignment workshops, and we do strategy for ABM programs. So we're happy to meet with you to learn more, and we'll follow up to see if you'd like to set up some time to engage your team. Thanks, Jonathan, really appreciate the insight and the collaboration.
Jonathan Alves (25:29):
Thank you very much, Tav. I look forward to working with you on collaborating better with sales and making you look like the heroes for your program.
Tav Tepfer (25:46):
Yeah. Well, great. Well, thank you. Thank you so much. And we hope to see everybody soon in our next webinar.
Jonathan Alves (25:55):
Thank you. Have a great day, everybody.
Best practices for target account selection & prioritization
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Driving business outcomes through convergence
Tav has worked with many of the world’s top 100 manufacturing and life science companies in building successful account-based marketing strategies.
Tav Tepfer, our Chief Customer Success Officer is joined by our Global Key Account Director, Jonathan Alves to discuss the great marketing and sales convergence and account-based marketing. This 30-minute live presentation is part of a webinar series aimed at demystifying ABM. Tav and Jonathan will discuss any questions and share their expertise with you during the webinar.