Account-based marketing has been touted as the hot new thing in sales and marketing strategy. Just a quick Google search will show you hundreds of blog posts proclaiming that this “revolutionary” new tactic that is changing the nature of sales and marketing as we know it.
But if you look a little more critically at the core activities surrounding account-based marketing, you’ll begin to see that it’s really just an old idea wrapped in new packaging.
After all, selling to an account is nothing new. Don Draper was doing it when he targeted a certain car or cigarette company, and many of his real-life contemporaries in the 60s and 70s were doing it, too. In fact, it may be one of the oldest marketing tactics there is.
So why is everyone in a hubbub about this retro idea today?
A lot of it has to do with the conversation that account-based marketing is causing sales and marketing to have. Marketing is now being measured more closely on the activity it is able to generate among target accounts – largely because the data is more accessible now than ever before. With the advent of social media, website analytics, digital ads and more, marketing teams have a great deal of visibility into their account-specific activities.
However, this change in reporting structure is causing strain on many sales and marketing teams. The desire for more attribution and better results measurement is there, but the tools simply do not measure up. Most sales and marketing teams are using outdated, ill-conceived tools that don’t show them the data they need to truly track the effectiveness of campaigns. And this causes friction between sales and marketing, with one shouting for more targeted lead generation activity and the other unable to focus in on the activities that are most successful.
Despite this friction, account-based marketing might actually be the medicine that demand generation-focused companies need in order to cure their sales and marketing alignment problem.
Marketing must be aligned with sales, because typically marketing does not own the activity of targeting accounts. There must be clear communication between the two departments if marketing efforts are to be successful.
Account-based marketing is forcing sales and marketing to become more tightly aligned, in both their strategy and execution. And that might just be the major benefit we’ll see out of all of this fuss over an old tactic with a new spin.