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The Key to Overcoming Internal Alignment Challenges When Scaling Your ABM Strategy

By Jordan Con
Apr 13, 2017

Implementing an account-based marketing strategy is no easy feat. But once it’s launched, life becomes a lot easier, right? Wrong.

There are several challenges that spring up when scaling an ABM strategy—transitioning it from a shiny new toy to a full and effective marketing strategy.

One of the biggest challenges is creating true alignment between Marketing and Sales. While marketing is in the name, Sales (and even Customer Success) plays a big role in executing an effective ABM strategy, too.

To seek some answers for how to overcome misalignment between departments, we went to Dave Rigotti, VP of Marketing at Bizible, for some input. He spoke on this topic in a webinar with the ABM Leadership Alliance that covered six major challenges with scaling ABM. See what his key to overcoming internal alignment issues is below the video of the webinar.


His answers have been lightly edited for clarity.

What’s the root cause of misalignment between Marketing and Sales when it comes to ABM?

ABM is not just a marketing activity, it’s really a company activity. I’ve been a part of companies that have fantastic alignment and companies that, frankly, have terrible alignment to the point where Sales and Marketing don’t talk to each other. There was a mediator that you had to go through. It was pretty ridiculous. What I have uncovered is that a lot of this stems from metrics. The goals of each of the teams. In all organizations, or most organizations, Sales is focused on revenue. That’s the only thing they care about and that’s how they are goaled and compensated.

On the other hand, a lot of marketing teams are focused on marketing qualified leads, or maybe opportunities, so they are incentivized to drive a lot of demand, but not necessarily a lot of revenue growth like the sales team. Aligning these two teams isn’t just great for culture—although that’s a really strong benefit—this is great for business growth and a must-have for any organization doing ABM.

What are the steps marketers should take to solve this misalignment?

Creating alignment with ABM analytics is pretty straightforward. Step 1 is to think about your goals and incentives for your marketing team. I strongly feel that this should be revenue. Marketing should be driving revenue and should be compensated on company revenue. You can take this even further and include churn and upsells if you’re doing customer marketing and really align not only Marketing and Sales, but add Success into the equation as well.

And the reason for revenue as the key metric is that’s what Sales cares about. Engagement or other top of the funnel metrics that you may be used to as metrics for ABM are leading indicators, like the MQL, just in the ABM world.

Aligning marketing to revenue is step 1.

Step 2 consists of three things. First, tracking all of the marketing touches—I call this “all journey.” Make sure you understand all of the journey and make sure you include the non-traditional channels in your measurement. A great example of this is mailers. A lot of the systems that were built a few years ago weren’t built to handle mailers as a channel. This is the “all channels” point of measurement. And then account-based tracking. If you’re selling to accounts, you need to measure everyone that is involved in the deal, so “all buyers.”

All journey, all channels, all buyers.

Here are two examples:

Complete-buyer-journey.png

Both of these are tracking multiple buyers, but the first one is tracking only to the opportunity. The second is tracking all the marketing touches all the way to revenue, including all the channels.

Audit your buyer’s journey, audit your marketing measurement, and look at how you are applying marketing touches to your performance goals. You want to look like the second example—tracking all your buyers, tracking all the marketing touches to revenue, and tracking and understanding insights for all channels.

What are some tangible benefits of overcoming internal alignment issues?

A great example of what happens when you start to think about revenue is that you start to do post-opportunity stage activities. I think the classic example here is field marketing.

For example, we were a part of the ABM Ignite road show last fall, which was put on by the ABM Leadership Alliance. A lot of us brought our open opportunities and even some customers.

If a marketing team was goaled to just the number of opportunities that they are generating, often they won’t be involved in sales enablement or really be doing any sales enablement at all, which field marketing is really a core component to.

I think you can take field marketing even further with sales dinners. When I go to sales dinners, I can tell which ones are run by Sales and which are run by Marketing. Generally, the companies that are running them through Sales, the marketing team doesn’t have a revenue metric, they’re goaled on opportunities, so they’re not supporting them in these activities.


To learn more about how to align your marketing team around revenue, be sure to check out our white paper on marketing attribution.Best Practices for B2B Marketing Attribution  The most comprehensive, yet concise piece of content available on the subject.  Download Now

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