Ty Heath is global lead for the B2B Institute at LinkedIn and the author of Marketers of Tomorrow: A Step by Step Toolkit for Inbound Marketing.
She’ll also present at this year’s MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum: Her session there is called How to Combine Account Based Marketing and Social Selling on LinkedIn.
I invited Ty to Marketing Smarts to talk about social selling and account-based marketing (ABM)—which, she says, is actually one facet of a broader approach she calls “Marketing and Sales Orchestration” (MSO).
Here are a few highlights from our conversation (and sneak peeks from the upcoming B2B Marketing Forum):
For ABM to work, teams outside of marketing need to get on board (02:20): “It takes more than just Marketing to take on a successful investment in account-based marketing…. The moniker leaves out Sales, it leaves out other folks in your organization that are there to help create the experience needed to deliver on that strategy. At LinkedIn, we’ve rebranded it, and we talk about it from a standpoint of ‘Marketing and Sales orchestration’ or ‘MSO.’ So: bringing into alignment your marketing and sales team, product, and other individual contributors and leaders who put together what that journey ultimately looks like for customers that we’re interested in influencing with account-based marketing.”
“We want to make sure that Sales is included in that strategy. Marketing is a great place to lead that strategy from, but be thoughtful about who else you’re bringing into that conversation, primarily Sales. Because as you implement your account-based marketing plan, it’s salespeople that are often the ones talking to customers, that are leveraging the content created by marketers, and building those relationships over time. So if marketing isn’t connected with Sales or talking with Sales about how things are going, and there’s not that two-way communication, we’re not getting as much as we could be out of that investment.”
Account-based marketing requires change management (04:06): “What people don’t get is that [implementing ABM] is actually a change management initiative. We’re looking at an entire shift in an organization to maximize the potential around an account-based marketing campaign. When we think about it, we want to have the shared objectives agreed upon at the organization. What are we trying to achieve through this programming?
“And in order to deliver on strong account-based marketing efforts, it also requires better insights. So exchange between Sales, Marketing, Product, and other teams about what is going to solve a customer’s challenges or what are the opportunities they could take advantage of. It’s also about having proper accountability and work flow to deliver on the initiative.
“We often think about Marketing, Sales, and other groups operating in silos when we could get so much more if there was an agreed upon workflow. I always wonder, ‘Why can’t we just talk more?’ A lot of these teams that are implementing these programs aren’t even speaking to each other. So Marketing is creating content in a vacuum, and then you have salespeople who are taking it out to market when it could be so much more powerful if we had that regular input going back and forth.”
Don’t think “account-based marketing,” think “marketing and sales orchestration” (05:56): “I think of account-based marketing as a big piece of Marketing and Sales orchestration. It’s required to get account-based marketing done and get the most out of it. Thinking broadly about what account-based marketing is, it’s popping up more and more. It’s a hot topic.
“But account-based marketing has been around forever in this definition: ‘We are interested in influencing, building strong relationships with companies that we want to invest more deeply in, companies that are high-potential for us.’ That thought process and that objective has been around forever. It’s just about thinking strategically about how you’re going to influence the highest potential customers and do it in a coordinated way, bringing the whole team along…
“So when we think about what companies should invest in ABM, there are varying degrees to which you can make that investment, whether you are a large enterprise-level organization or a small company that might be interested in thinking deeply about ‘these are some prospects that look like they are within my ideal customer set and I want to figure out how we can build stronger future relationships with those companies and reach them.”
Investing in marketing and sales orchestration is worth the effort, because organizations that are aligned can show up to a 208% uplift in marketing revenue (08:43): “We have a series called ‘The Art of Winning’ on LinkedIn that talks about the benefits of having stronger alignment in service of your customers as you’re investing in account-based marketing programs. And we’ve seen really great results. Part of that is because we need to first think about where we are in terms of delivering on campaigns.
“Automation is great, but when it’s done thoughtfully. And the movement for selling needs to transform towards relationship-building rather than cold-calling. That’s why social selling is so powerful. So when you can bring those two things to your account-based marketing efforts in a coordinated way, you’re able to realize amazing benefits.
“For example, in the research that we did, we found that companies that are more aligned in service of the account-based marketing campaigns they are trying to pull off can experience up to a 208% uplift in the revenue contributed by marketing. And the reason for that is, through the efforts for alignment in production of that campaign, your sales and marketing people are able to break into more accounts. And of those accounts, you’re able to close more deals. So that 208% may seem like a big number, but when you think about all of the small pieces, and how you’re able to achieve more wins, both in terms of getting into accounts and closing more deals, then it makes sense. But it does require making that investment.”
When Sales and Marketing work in isolation, they both miss valuable revenue opportunities, but technology can help bridge that gap (10:57): “One of the things we realized is that a lot of times our marketers are not reaching with any of the content we’re creating and work we’re doing, we’re not reaching any of the connections that our salespeople have. And we know this because, on LinkedIn, we can see the overlap. Because we have access to both LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager and Sales Navigator, so we can see that overlap.
“And we’re realizing that Marketing is often not targeting the folks that salespeople are identifying as being their strongest leads they want to reach. It is one of those things, going back to change management, and making sure that those organizations are speaking more, but that it’s also being led not just from top down but bottom up within each organization and your teams.”
Start small, but do something (25:40): “The main thing is, given all of this information, what are some ways that you can get started? Even taking an incremental step of having your marketing team meet more often with the sales team is going to deliver improved impact in the marketing programs that you’re delivering on.
“Doing things like starting to eliminate the silos between your departments. Getting more buy-in from your CEO to invest in account-based marketing…. Rethinking your processes for reaching a customer both with Sales, Marketing, and other folks is going to take you a little bit farther.
“And then starting to prioritize digital maturity, whether it’s an upgrade in your technology to get a better sense of customer fit or customer intent, that’s all going to be helpful…. Just get started with something small, because it’s going to pay off.”
To learn more, including how you can use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to make your account-based marketing more effective, visit SpectacledMarketer.com and register for the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum. (Use the code B2BSmarts to save $150!)
Ty and I talked about much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!
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Music credit: Noam Weinstein.
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