Saturday, April 13, 2024

Mind the gap: Building a bridge between marketing and sales with predictive analytics

The success of account-based marketing depends on collaboration and alignment between marketing and sales. Both teams must agree on goals, metrics and methods before they can implement an impactful account-based marketing strategy. Collaboration is imperative to success but difficult to accomplish considering the already labor-intensive and process-detailed workplans for each department.

The good news is that the right technology can help. Predictive analytics can help teams realize the full potential of collaboration and achieve account-based marketing success.

Aligning Goals

Focusing on account-based marketing bridges the divide between marketing and sales by providing real-time insight into the target accounts that each team shares. When sales and marketing are provided new visibility into the actual, current pains of the target organization, the customer becomes the center of the conversation. ABM – and this new level of visibility – requires that both sales and marketing keep the emphasis on deepening engagements at an account level. Concentrating on the account and engaging with it in meaningful ways throughout its buyer journey keep sales and marketing teams on the same page.

However, even with the same high-level goal of strengthening key target account relationships, the day-to-day, on-the-ground goals of sales and marketing teams may differ dramatically. This means that work can still become siloed and disconnected between marketing and sales. Sales teams tend to want more highly qualified leads than marketing can always deliver because marketing operates higher in the sales funnel.

One of the most essential ways predictive analytics helps mitigate silos between the two departments is by delivering these more qualified leads. For instance, my team found that leads delivered through a predictive analytics platform have a 197 percent higher chance of conversion. When marketing-qualified leads start to look a lot more like sales-qualified leads, everyone can operate with the same lead generation goals.

Determining Metrics that Matter

Account-based marketing metrics can look very different from the metrics that mattered to marketers several years ago. Marketers are laser focused on determining the correct recipe of tactics to spark engagement, while sales departments remain 100 percent focused on getting the highest qualified opportunity possible. To bridge this gap, ABM execution details must be present in the workflows of the sales team. Embedding a full view of all the marketing touchpoints, alongside customer engagements, helps improves the quality of the sales outreach by being able to reference recent customer engagements. 

Both sales and marketing teams can find value in documenting not only qualified leads and closed deals, but also client retention rates and customer satisfaction scores. High-quality ABM reaches target accounts throughout the buyer journey, and ABM success should be measured by metrics that span the sales funnel and customer lifecycle. After all, the goal of ABM is deepening engagement, and that looks different for each account depending on where it began. ABM is a marathon, not a sprint. While there are many short-term victories, ABM gets better with time as sales and marketing teams work together to refine their efforts.

Collaborative Orchestration

The final piece of the sales-marketing ABM puzzle is implementation. Once both departments unite around their shared goals and ways to measure success, putting the strategy into action requires a joint understanding of the best ways to hit the right targets with the most impactful message. Luckily, predictive analytics remove nearly all of that guesswork.

By providing a much more nuanced picture of demand, predictive analytics makes it simple to determine which messages will best resonate with target accounts, and through which medium.

What’s more, with machine learning built into a predictive analytics platform, it can learn from past tactics, resulting in increasingly smarter, more effective account-based marketing. This reinforces the need for a shared understanding of metrics that matter. When sales and marketing teams both understand that ABM fueled by machine learning only gets better with time, everyone wins.

Amplify the Impact

For too long, marketing and sales teams operated under different ideologies and raced toward different finish lines, preventing mutual success. ABM strategies help to reduce, perhaps overcome, this legacy obstacle.

The shift from traditional marketing campaigns to account-based marketing strategies offers great opportunity for both departments to meet in the middle and work toward symbiotic goals. The emergence of predictive analytics only strengthens the ability for marketing and sales to work from common ground.

When marketing and sales teams collaborate, both departments achieve greater success and the impact of their work multiplies.


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James Regan
James Regan
James Regan's decades of experience across sales and marketing in both blue-chip corporations and startup environments led him to found MRP with Kevin Cunningham in 2002. As MRP's CMO, Jim keeps MRP on the cutting edge of marketing services and works on the architecture and execution of MRP's internal marketing efforts. He also oversees the management of MRP's growing team of internal marketing managers, marketing coordinators and account executives, coaching, training and constantly challenging the team to excel.