Every day on LinkedIn there is a post with a long comment string discussing how some prospecting methodology is “dead” – cold-calling, social-selling, etc. These provocative arguments dominate our LinkedIn feed. It’s understandable because cracking the code of prospecting in today’s world is the holy grail. The real message here is that prospecting is hard and many techniques in isolation are frustratingly inefficient and ineffective.
In 2017, Account-Based is moving from cool idea to reality. The results for early adopters have been exciting – 82% of organizations executing account-based marketing for 1+ year(s) are meeting or exceeding their objectives (TOPO research on behalf of ABMLA). As their peers see success, more organizations are moving to account-based.
For many (this author included), culture has been relegated to an HR topic, not something a sales or marketing leader would take time defining and enforcing. That mindset is changing.
I get asked quite often for my learnings in launching TOPO. With 3 years of hindsight, I believe there were 4 critical tactics that allowed us to launch quickly into the market and grow our business out of the gate. For some context, TOPO was bootstrapped and Scott and I (the founders) made a “No Top Ramen” agreement, which meant that we would build this business to make money immediately. This pact drove urgency to get out into the market, and forced us to make quick but solid decisions that were also realistic since there was only two of us. There were some bad decisions, but there were four that stood out that any business starting out can execute.
Orchestration is the sequenced coordination of different activities, programs and campaigns across marketing, sales development, sales and customer success to drive engagement with multiple stakeholders in target accounts. Orchestration is key to a successful account-based strategy.
In an earlier post on the TOPO blog, Sales Enablement Best Practices: Sales Process is the Foundation, author Robert Koehler describes the TOPO Sales Enablement framework. One of the key elements of the framework is content enablement, which will be the focus of this post along with the different types of sales content.
For the last year, TOPO analysts have researched Account-Based Everything (ABE) programs across marketing, sales development, and sales. The purpose of this post is to present a number of plays that sales organizations execute today to drive conversion as part of their evolving role in an ABE-driven organization. Before exploring these sales plays, it’s important to understand the Account-Based Everything strategy and how it affects sales’ approach.
The B2B sales and marketing universe has been writing and talking about buyer personas and the buyer journey for the last ten years. Many organizations have built buyer personas and attempted to map the associated buyer journey. For those organizations that have partaken in the buyer persona exercise, their results far exceed those organizations that have not. However, buyer personas are still very subjective and include a lot of opinion. The next step for many organizations is the opportunity to quantifiably narrow in on the personas that have a higher propensity to buy. Predictive analytics provides the opportunity to use a wide set of data to do this.
Predictive analytics is one of today’s hottest B2B marketing technologies. Fueled by drivers such as big data, SaaS delivery models, and data-driven marketing and sales, predictive analytics garners a tremendous amount of attention, particularly given how few customers are in actual production. While the hype can sometimes be excessive, early adopters are realizing demonstrable ROI as they use statistical modeling, machine learning, and scoring technologies to identify and prioritize accounts, leads, contacts, and customers at specific points in the marketing and sales funnel. It’s this demonstrable ROI that’s causing more and more marketing organizations to look at predictive analytics as a new, non-negotiable element of their marketing technology stacks.
Latest research reveals Account Based Platforms are core to marketing tech stack. Earlier this month Demandbase raised $30 million in its latest round of funding. After starting in 2006 as the “iTunes for contacts,” the company has pivoted and morphed over time into one of the early leaders in the emerging Account Based Marketing (ABM) stack. As a matter of fact, Demandbase was one of the first vendors to start talking about Account Based Marketing in 2011. Its funding is further validation that Account Based Marketing is one the biggest trends in B2B sales and marketing. At TOPO, we have been tracking and researching Account Based Marketing for the last two years and have seen a surge in analyst inquiries over the last six months. Now, an ABM technology stack is emerging.