Account-Based Sales And Marketing: New Tech, Old Principles

Account-Based Sales And Marketing: New Tech, Old Principles. Account-based marketing (ABM) is one of those buzzwords that I can't avoid in B2B marketing today. ABM is a new word for old practices like named account sales and marketing: account plans, territory management, field marketing, consultative selling, etc. I recently spoke to a sales rep for an ABM solution provider. I agree that adopting new technology to support your current business strategy is necessary, but this ABM seller was failing at one of the core tenets of ABM. Identify your entry points, expand your contact base, engage those contacts over time with relevant information and create advocates. Today there are prospecting tools like Zoom Info, Rain King, LinkedIn and Synthio that make this process more sophisticated, but long before these tools existed, good salespeople and field marketers were collaborating to identify starting points. Continued from page 1 Engage and expand the contact base. Engaging the customer and expanding within an account is something that has been practiced for decades by good salespeople and marketers as well. If understanding your customers’ needs, providing a customer-centric context for your product, and sales/marketing alignment are not at the center of the way you do business, ABM tools won't matter.

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Account-based marketing (ABM) is one of those buzzwords that I can’t avoid in B2B marketing today. If I’m to believe the hype, I should trash all demand gen tactics and adopt ABM. While tech providers and vendors try to convince us that ABM is a brand-new approach to B2B marketing, seasoned marketers will recognize that this is not completely true.

ABM is a new word for old practices like named account sales and marketing: account plans, territory management, field marketing, consultative selling, etc. These old “unsexy” principles are all foundational elements of account-based marketing. I remember putting these principles into practice early in my career. At the time, SaaS was not a word. The World Wide Web was not even commercialized yet. Yes, I am that old.

I recently spoke to a sales rep for an ABM solution provider. She explained to me that sales and marketing are totally different than 10 years ago and that her company’s latest technology would keep us from falling behind in the market. I agree that adopting new technology to support your current business strategy is necessary, but this ABM seller was failing at one of the core tenets of ABM. Ironically, she was “pitching” instead of “engaging.” She spouted jargon and features instead of asking and understanding. She recommended which pricing plan was right for me instead of discussing how her technology would fit in my business. I bought from her competitor.

So what we can as marketers learn from the core tenets of ABM? Understand your prospect. Engage your buyer on their terms — and on the subject matter they care about. It’s an ongoing dialogue, not a one-time communication. Decisions are made collectively and each person has different motives. There are many firms that have found ways to apply technology to these principles. That is indeed new, but the guiding principles are not. From this foundation,…

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