If All Sales is Account-Based, Why Isn’t All of Marketing: Bridging the Sales and Marketing Communications Gap

This article, written by Madison Logic’s CEO Tom O’Regan,
originally appeared in MarTech Advisor.


A strong relationship—one that yields results in shared objectives—demands solid communication. When it comes to sales and marketing teams, many B2B organizations are not there yet.

Sales and marketing still reside on opposite sides of a great gulf. Sales stand on one side, and marketing on the other. They communicate by throwing messages tied to rocks. But the messages don’t always make it across. Some fall into the void: leads, prospects, feedback, accounts, data, all of it, can be lost forever. A bridge spanning the two teams is needed, so that information can shuttle back and forth, and the overall organization can succeed.

When this bridge is in place, a strong joint relationship emerges. Sales has a list of accounts they want to target (and rationale as to why) and that they can share with marketing. At the same time, marketing has rich data about these accounts to cross-reference and help sales truly build meaningful account engagement. This two-way flow (just like a bridge), is the only way to succeed in jointly delivering well-targeted account-based sales volume.

Let’s further imagine an organization where this metaphorical bridge is in place. The sales team often possesses the keenest insight. With a pulse on the competitive landscape and knowledge as to which companies are appropriate for products and services, sales comes to marketing with a reasoned list of accounts they want to target.

Meanwhile, marketing identifies the accounts and roles within these accounts most likely to be receptive to messaging (and which messaging to use according to role). Marketing builds highly informed, comprehensive data-driven programs to activate targeted display advertising and lead generation.

As leads proceed through the funnel from prospects, to marketing qualified leads, and finally to sales qualified leads, marketing can provide sales with the information/data on exposure, response, engagement and specific actions or intent signals that can fuel meaningful conversations. This forms the bridge necessary for strategic Account Based Marketing (ABM).

Even with the bridge in place and a two-way flow of information, with revenue targets steadily climbing, sales needs account information at their fingertips and a certain level of dynamism, as well as automation to penetrate accounts at scale. However, a recent Demand Gen report study revealed that while more B2B marketers are using ABM than ever, some are still stuck in 2004, using Excel to segment accounts. Technology is necessary, for one, to integrate CRM into the process. But further, in the best of all worlds, marketing automation meets data-driven marketing, display, content syndication and lead generation, in a comprehensive ABM solution.

For example, a sophisticated marketer whose work I have gotten to know quite well uses an integrated approach, maintaining an always-on messaging strategy to engage the right accounts with the right message at the right time. By integrating her media activation platform with her CRM instance, she can synchronize the messaging to her target accounts based on the continuously evolving opportunity stage of each account.

In the early stages of a buyer’s journey, she employs easily consumable content: videos, infographics, and as they progress, the content becomes increasingly granular; 50% of the way in, it’s time to send a case study. But it varies, so CRM integration relieves the struggle of building lists, allowing her to develop a precisely targeted strategy of what to deliver to each account and exactly when.

Finally, this CRM integration gives this marketer the ability to focus on strategy and increasing ROI, rather than managing the logistical complexities of manually changing account lists on a regular basis. This persistent approach ensures her account lists are updated in a near real-time basis, and has been key to driving a significant increase in her marketing team’s ROI.

Think of all the great bridges (Golden Gate, Brooklyn). Historically they filled a great need, allowing for easy passage between two shores. They are icons that stand the test of time. When the bridge between marketing and sales is built, your efforts will stand the ultimate test facing marketing execs today: delivering real ROI for the entire organization.


Bridge image courtesy Jeroen van Abeelen.


If you liked this post, please read Tom O’Regan’s
first post in the Sales and Marketing alignment series.