“Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: “Wouldn’t you like to have that?” Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people?”
– Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
Who buys into YouTube advertising? I wonder what I am to a marketer, a creator, in line with their business strategy. Is my click a decisive lead, or am I just another impression? You have to ask: who really benefits from producing these? YouTube, of course. The channel owner. A designer. The marketing department. But, beyond that, I get the sense that my interests aren’t being considered from the point of view of somebody trying to build a brand. There’s something sad and disengaged about a campaign that pans broadly for any glimpse of human interaction. Ads aren’t about making money anymore. They’re about getting views. They’re about justifying a budget. And the result is that there’s no incentive to target a specific audience. Everything just feels a bit half-arsed.
At the heart of this issue is a disconnect between Marketing and Sales. If your marketing strategy ends at getting your voice heard, then why should it bother working overtime to push those leads towards a sale? Why invest into the complicated needs of a single prospect when you can digitally fingerprint one-hundred thousand in a day?
Drift in business is a major concern for all of us. Isolating the priorities of departments has led to a situation in which the incentives that drive business no longer apply. In a system where the end goal isn’t revenue, it is acceptable to stop at being heard. Being listened to isn’t in your remit. It doesn’t matter if you’re attracting impossible leads, because you’re not in sales. You don’t have to think about stage 2. It isn’t your job.
So what’s the solution?
Line-up with the objectives of sales, and hone in on the audience that will make everybody rich.
Today, 50% of marketers identify that Lead Generation’s biggest challenge is in improving conversion rates from the lead to the sale. Revenue generation is now the key indicator of a successful marketing campaign according to a majority 57% of marketing influencers. The marketer isn’t around simply to tell fish which worms are on offer; they have a duty to understand their client, and to pass on the relevant information that will make a sale.
In short, I’m suggesting a merger of departments around a clear set of account-orientated objectives. It’s ABM strategy in shorthand. Staying on top of the game involves making sure everyone knows what it is that your fish look for in a worm before you start thinking about where to cast a line.
This starts when you narrow down your addressable market to targets you know you can help. Simple value-based selling should give you a rough idea of your worth, and in turn provide a clearer Ideal Customer Profile. Complex sales start to look a lot simpler when everybody is operating around a so-called ‘single point of truth’. Consider the perks of reducing everything to a single database. Share the same references, the same businesses cases, the same typeface. Rather than overloading yourself with a million un-qualifiable impressions, start with one. Try to see the world through his eyes, as a fish. And then, with all this new information, with all your new relationships, with your consistent Calibri size 12, watch as your conversion rates go from 5% to 95%, and people coming back.
At its core, ABM might be understood through two simple principles: understanding that your client is messy, disjointed and complex, and understanding that you can’t afford to be.
If you want your marketing team to stay relevant and sharp, it’s time to align.
The process from start to finish is meant to be quick and harmonised, with minimal overlap and all the relevant information going where it’s needed. You begin a campaign by looking to assess the values and needs of individuals making up a target market. Knowing how your challenges line up with your resources allows you to plan a little further ahead into the future. In the end, a decent system should be simple and utilitarian, working on preparing the best tools available for problems as they arise. Breaking yourself up into distinct departments is a way to ensure that you don’t create lasting relationships with your customers. The idea is to make everybody aware of the destination before you all start paddling in different directions. It may sound obvious, but the mentality is more sophisticated than firing out a new advert every sixth months in the hope that somebody new might take the chance.
Recent research by ITSMA and the ABM Leadership Alliance showed 87% of marketers favoured ABM over other initiatives for Return on Investment. Bad sales & marketing alignment, meanwhile, is estimated to cost B2Bs 10% of their yearly revenue. This shift in practice is seemingly here to stay. As of 2016, over 70% (of over 200 companies) of B2Bs use ABM programs, sales-marketing alignment increasing from 34% to 83% from the year before, and nearly 60% looking to invest in technology services last year.
As university undergraduates pass every year with studies in ABM strategy, the spray-and-pray YouTube-ad lead-gen-focused approach starts to make less and less sense. The marketers of tomorrow are growing up with a commitment to getting results through a simple process of align, win, refine. Take a leaf out of their book. Don’t lose sight of your goals out of obligation to convention.
Transform the way you approach accounts with our free Smart Account Plan trial.