If you’ve ever done a search for published account-based marketing content, you may have noticed a glaring omission: The content consistently lacks input from Sales Ops and other people in the sales hierarchy. ABM content is almost exclusively written for Marketing execs, and it often lacks a basic understanding of how Salesforce even works. This content rarely discusses the impact of an ABM strategy on territories, compensation, or even simple things like determining top accounts using Salesforce data. There are even organizations out there—some of which I count as clients—that don’t allow sales reps to create accounts. So it can sometimes seem like ABM lives in isolation from the overall Salesforce structure.
In my opinion, most ABM assessments (even good ones like this one from Sirius Decisions) highlight the incompleteness of the conversation. The example above says “In the pilot phase, pay particular attention to how the various marketing functions…are supporting each other on the ABM pilot accounts” and poses the question “Are sales teams making ABM a leading topic of sales meetings or participating in regular ABM meetings…?” I see a few challenges here: Sales reps have been targeting accounts for decades, so it’s not actually new. I’ve routinely seen Sales tell Marketing to stay away from their accounts. So you can’t start from the perspective of managing the Marketing team and then aligning Sales with Marketing.
The entire ABM conversation seems to miss the fact that sales organizations already own the account. So what Marketing (usually the Marketing Ops team) is really doing is trying to align with Sales Ops to better understand target accounts and how to work with them. This part of the conversation is completely missing from the discussions I’ve seen.
This is one reason I recommend using native tools, because they ensure the Salesforce account record is the focal point of the model. I’ll be talking about this in future posts, so stay tuned!