It’s no coincidence that some of the best ABMers out there started their careers in the world of Sales.
By name, you’d think Marketing experience is what makes for an Account-based Marketing guru. But names can be misleading.
ABM is much closer to Sales than you might think. It’s account-led, it’s focused on forging and nurturing relationships, and it’s wholly reliant on meaningful, human interactions with your target accounts.
Essentially, it calls for a marriage between Marketing’s creativity and Sales’ people skills.
In a recent episode of Let's talk ABM, we spoke with Mujesira Dudic, Director of ABM, Financial Services at Capgemini, about her transition from a Sales role to all things Account-based.
In the interview (full recording here), we discussed:
- How Sales experience makes you a better ABMer
- The difference between SaaS ABM and Consultancy ABM
- Why your Salesforce are your true ‘Dark Social’
- How ABM drives great inclusivity
So, without further ado, let’s dive into some of Mujesira’s key learnings from her transition into ABM.
7 key takeaways moving from Sales to Account-based Marketing
1. Integrate Marketing and Sales
Until now, Marketing and Sales have sat on two different sides of the room. Different planets, even! Until now, they have never been seen as connected.
But ABM changes that.
For Account-based Marketing to succeed, Marketing and Sales need to not only be sitting around the same table, but to become one team, striving towards one goal.
Essentially, they need to be joined at the hip, merging skill sets to guide each other throughout the buyer journey – from start to finish.
But, getting that communication right is arguably your biggest hurdle. A few exchanged emails and CRM tags aren’t going to cut it if you want true alignment. You need to stage regular meetings and check-ins to ensure everyone stays on the same page.
“I saw a world where we integrated what we were working on. We integrated our goals, and we focused our communication on the customer, rather than how we are putting things into systems.” – Mujesira Dudic, Director of ABM, Financial Services at Capgemini
2. Shifting mindset
Account-based Marketing is not a tactic. It’s not a Marketing toy or something you can pick up and drop as and when you feel like it.
It’s a whole mindset – which means it takes a lot of time and education to shift into the right gear.
It’s no longer about Marketing doing one thing and Sales doing another. Both teams are running Marketing campaigns so that both teams can sell, together.
But naturally, years of being programmed to believe otherwise is going to be difficult to undo, and may take its toll!
Which is why taking the time to re-educate and re-train your teams to tune into the ABM way of thinking is critical, in the foundational stages of your program.
“When you are in ABM rather than in, what I would say, standard Marketing or traditional Marketing, my vision is that you lean on the idea that the only Marketing you do for an account is done with the collaboration of the Sales team.” – Mujesira Dudic, Director of ABM, Financial Services at Capgemini
3. Tell stories that matter
That’s what your Salespeople think when you list off a bunch of seemingly meaningless acronyms and figures in your meetings. And rightly so!
As Marketers, it’s all too easy for us to get caught up in all the fancy jargon and metrics that, to anyone else in the organization, mean very little.
Your Sales team doesn’t care about MQLs or SQLs or CTRs. They care about account relationships, and how many deals have been closed. They care about revenue.
And while you might not always be able to report on those bigger metrics, you can certainly tell a story that builds up to it. Relationship-building, reputation... it all adds up to a bigger picture.
That’s not to say those other smaller metrics aren’t important – it’s just your job as a Marketer to give them meaning. Tell a story, and help other teams to see the whole puzzle, instead of a single piece.
“Sometimes, we have been surrounded by those reports and those metrics so much that we start to assume that they're default understanding for everybody. But they're really not.” – Mujesira Dudic, Director of ABM, Financial Services at Capgemini
4. It's all about education and patience
When starting something new, no one is ever a pro on their first try. Practice makes perfect – and ABM is no exception.
Your biggest task will be to bring every team up to speed before you launch. After all, as Marketers, you will have done your fair share of research before deciding to embark on an ABM program.
But your colleagues? They will quite likely be totally new to the world of ABM. And it’s up to you to ensure everyone gets on the same page.
This means having patience, and taking the time to really educate every corner of the organization, so they understand what ABM is, what it entails, what the desired outcome is, and what the plan of action will be.
To succeed, you will need the buy-in of every team: Sales, Customer Success, C-Suite, Accounts team... everyone. But you won’t get their buy-in if they don’t know what they’re buying into.
“Sometimes, we forget that the same amount of time it took for us to wrap our mind around how this is going to look for the company, what it's going to entail, what roles everybody is going to play – it's going to take the other people just as long.” – Mujesira Dudic, Director of ABM, Financial Services at Capgemini
5. See the bigger picture
ABM is all about empathy. And part of that is understanding where your company fits into the bigger picture. For your buyers, as much as you might want to think otherwise, your company is never going to be THE solution.
It is simply PART of the solution.
That’s not to say the services or products you offer aren’t the best in the market. It simply means that your target accounts are juggling multiple plates, dealing with multiple issues, and your company is only a small part of the bigger picture.
The sooner you understand that, the sooner you can offer an experience that really resonates with your buyers.
You can then drive forward messaging that is centered around the individual, and how you can make their life easier. Not making it about you, but about them.
“In a consulting company, you're really selling a relationship, you're part of the solution, you're never THE solution. It's about how you're structuring language as well and so much of it is how you're building trust.” – Mujesira Dudic, Director of ABM, Financial Services at Capgemini
6. Leverage your Sales team
Dark Social. Dark Funnel. Dark Iceberg.
Whatever you call it, it’s generated a lot of buzz for some time now in B2B. Being able to see the invisible, map out the ghosts in the buyer’s journey, reveal what’s hidden.
However, what many organizations fail to realize is that their Sales team can offer the best insight they have into the Dark Funnel.
After all, these guys are your boots on the ground. They’re in the trenches, they’re face-to-face with your target accounts day-in, day-out.
If anyone knows what conversations are being had offline or behind closed doors, it’s your Salespeople.
So, make sure you leverage that insight!
As Marketers, data fuels our very existence. So, the more data and insight you can get into your target accounts and your overall ABM program, the better informed you are to make the right decisions.
“Back in the day of launching ABM from scratch – intent data, dark funnel, however we want to call it – was instrumental. When you're talking about a million accounts, it's nice to have something show you the road.” – Mujesira Dudic, Director of ABM, Financial Services at Capgemini
7. Take time to build trust
What is a world without trust? And in our little world, what is ABM without it?
With a strategy as personalized and empathy-fueled as ABM, trust is what keeps the engine running. Without it, your program breaks down on the side of the road, with no gas station in sight.
However, it’s not just about establishing trust with your accounts. It starts within your own organization.
You cannot be fighting towards the same goals without trust between teams. Specifically that of your Sales team.
You not only need to invest time into getting your teams to trust in the process of ABM and what it entails; you also need to get them to trust you as a Marketer – they need to trust the decisions you make, the processes you follow, and the outcomes you are setting out to achieve.
Once you’ve established that, securing alignment will come much more naturally.
“What I think happens is, there's a lack of trust. And it's not about them not trusting ABM, I think it's about them not trusting YOU to be able to execute on ABM properly.” – Mujesira Dudic, Director of ABM, Financial Services at Capgemini
Got the ABM bug? We don’t blame you! Check out our brand-new podcast series, ABM Under the Hood, where our Heads of ABM dive into the inner workings of the ABM machine, sharing top tips and tricks for a successful program.