The age old conundrum for B2B business leaders: 

How do you get sales and marketing singing from the same hymn sheet? 

Having personally sat across a number of roles between marketing and sales, it is no surprise to hear that aligning these two functions is still an ongoing issue. 

One of the greatest challenges lies in the pursuit of different objectives. Sales is predominantly driven by revenue, whereas marketing is overwhelmingly focused on lead generation.

Conflict can arise when these targets are not strategically contributing towards each functions' interests and thus will likely lead to a "you vs us" culture. You no doubt know the rest...

By virtue, account-based marketing coordinates internal resources to target specific accounts and therefore requires a collaborative effort. Furthermore, when executed effectively, it will deliver mutually beneficial outcomes. 

By targeting specific accounts, namely your "big game", you can begin to market to these organisations in a personalised and tailored format. 

The 3 stages below breakdown how you can begin to perform this effectively across an organisation: 

1. Plan - working backwards in terms of outcomes will enable you to focus on what's important. If you have a revenue objective, determine how each function will contribute toward this. 

By identifying your key accounts, look at the contacts you want to influence. For marketers this means being innovative and creative when it comes to exciting and educating these individuals. It is important for marketers to remain relevant to the business reminding them that you are not a cost. 

For sales it is important to utilise the data to hand when identifying target accounts, i.e. closed/won reports, look into the granular data and understanding why your customers are buying to determine you ideal customer profile.

2. Deliver - how can you get access to your key accounts? 

This requires marketing and sales to work in tandem. 

Find out which events prospects are attending, follow them across social media - one technique we have found effective at Passle, is that Claire Trévien, who heads up Content Marketing, supports sales by writing engaging content about target accounts. 

The delivery phase is about executing the plan, opening up conversations and nurturing key contacts. 

3. Track - finally, tracking will help you determine ROI when it comes aligning marketing and sales efforts against the business objectives you were working toward. 

Monitoring engagement and added value to the buyers journey within your target accounts avoids the pitfalls of tracking vanity metrics. You can see this pitfall highlighted by Connor Kinnear here.

Ultimately, defining your go-to marketing strategy in a targeted fashion will help reduce your sales cycle, especially where the nature of the sale is technical and complex. Furthermore, it will appease internal conflict as both sales and marketing will be working toward the same objective and across the same targeted accounts.

Want to know where to start with account-based marketing? Here are 6 steps to make it a success.