People don’t buy the best solution; they buy from people they trust, and solutions they can understand. Account-Based Marketing and Sales Enablement need to align and become an extension of the existing sales process. When they do, sales reps become Social Sellers who are able to engage with targeted prospects and supply them with powerful and insightful content that aids in their decision journey.
Bridging the gap between Account-Based Marketing and Sales Enablement
What is account-based marketing (ABM)?
Account-based marketing (ABM) is simply a marketing approach that concentrates sales and marketing efforts on a defined set of targeted companies and selected stakeholders. Marketing’s role is to provide powerful and insightful content to the sales team and train sellers on the best way to utilize the content to grow awareness and stay in front of prospects.
What is Sales Enablement?
Sales enablement is a structured system (tools, training, technology, processes) designed to help sales reps successfully engage with prospective buyers throughout the sales process by equipping sales organizations with the right information, content, and tools.
What is Social Selling?
Providing Sales People with the content, tools, and training they need to engage strategically with buyers in social media.
To help you establish a social selling system for your business, Vende has developed our Social Selling Action Plan. It’s yours free right here. Within its pages, you will find a step-by-step plan and tips for engaging prospects at key moments in the decision process.
Why is it important to tie these together in today’s B2B selling environment?
Today’s decision makers are in control of the buying process. Because of unlimited access to knowledge and information online, buyers are self-educating and learning about their best options on their own. In the past, they relied on trusted sales reps and other knowledgeable resources.
As a result, according to IBM, B2B buyers are 57% through the buying process before they engage with a sales person. Gartner predicts this will grow to over 80% in the next couple of years.
B2B buyers are “anonymous prospects” during this phase, since they are “in-market” but not engaged directly with a sales rep. Account-based marketing and social selling are critical at this stage since you can provide useful information online that will aid “anonymous prospects” while they are in self-educating mode.
When they engage with your content, you are not only educating, but also passing trust about your brand and the sales rep who shared your content. In the orange shaded area below, you can see how account-based marketing and social selling can influence both “anonymous prospects” in research mode as well as “known prospects” after they begin to directly engage with your sales team.
Tips and Best Practices for Aligning Account-Based Marketing and Sales Enablement
Utilize technology to get sales reps involved – Your sales team can offer exponential access to key decision makers and influencers by sharing your content with their connections. This is critical for reaching “anonymous prospects.”
However, sales reps are busy meeting with “identified prospects,” building proposals, and closing deals in the real world. Adding one more activity can be difficult to accomplish. However the proven benefits make it worth the effort:
- Reach “anonymous prospects”
- Content is seen by exponentially more decision makers
- Improved relationship and rapport building between the buyer and seller
- Showcases your thought leadership and unique features and benefits
Vende has developed a social selling app-driven system to easily integrate this activity into your business. Our program allows you to tee up the right content, give the sale reps a chance to review, edit, and approve via the phone app, then with a single click push the content to their social connections.
Leverage advertising to get in front of targeted buyers – Social and programmatic advertising has given us better access to targeted prospects than ever before. Specifically, LinkedIn has really upped their game. Today they offer sponsored content, InMail, retargeting, lead gen forms, crm targeting, and audience targeting.
It is important to build a multi-channel media plan for each stage of the funnel.
Target messages for content and ads for right level – Leveraging your sales reps and social advertising is the key to getting the right information to prospects, however, delivering the right message to multiple stakeholders within targeted accounts is at the core of account-based marketing.
On average, there are more than 6 stakeholders involved in a B2B decision today. Develop personas to target your message and content to everyone involved in the process including decision-makers, managers, and even knowledge workers/influencers. Check out our blog on the best ways to connect the dots between the audience and the value you provide by developing concise messaging for each targeted persona.
Tying it all together
For your company to win as much business as possible in 2019, connecting with more contacts within targeted markets and delivering valuable content with the right message is key.
To successfully align account-based marketing and sales enablement, build your plans around these three pillars: be there, be useful, be accountable. Social media has made being there, easier than ever by giving us greater access to decision makers. It’s up to us to be useful, by providing valuable information while helping buyers understand our offering. Being accountable ensures there is a payoff and your company receives a positive return on effort.
Use the concepts outlined in this blog and the infographic below to develop or tune your account-based marketing and sale enablement systems and help your sales team become social sellers in 2019!
Can We Help?
Do you need help developing a successful account-based marketing program? We offer strategic planning, social media advertising, social selling training, and sales enablement tools that can help you win in 2019. If you are interested in learning more, sign up for a complimentary initial consultation/discovery meeting. Schedule yours today and let’s see if we can help.