What Do Football & Account-Based Marketing Have in Common?

What do account-based marketing and football have in common?

You might not expect marketing and football to have much in common, but they’re a lot more similar than you would think!

To do this, you must make sure your whole team works together to execute plays that move the ball — or your prospective customers — down the field and into the proverbial end zone.

It’s All About Teamwork

Just like with recruiting in football, building your A-team is crucial to closing more deals in B2B. In order to do this, your sales and marketing teams must be more closely aligned than ever before.

In the past, sales reps and marketers have had different goals. Sales has been quota-driven, doing everything they can to close deals and drive revenue. Marketing, on the other hand, has traditionally focused on generating as many leads as possible to fill the sales funnel. This misalignment between sales and marketing is notorious for creating friction in the buying process and creating a rift between the teams.

Just like in football, you want your whole team united to work together. Although offense and defense are completely distinct parts of the team, it is important that each player understands all aspects of the game and communicates with the other players and coaches about every play and tactic they plan to execute.

The same goes for your company. Successfully converting your dream accounts into customers starts with a conversation between marketing, sales, and other key stakeholders within your business.

The Team’s Goals Are Everyone’s Goals

With account-based marketing, everyone on your smarketing team has a new, common set of objectives:

  • Determine your ideal customer profile (ICP) and identify companies that fit that profile
  • Engage the entire buying committee at your target accounts on the channels where they are active
  • Advance those accounts quickly through the buying process using coordinated plays

[ctt template=”1″ link=”hznd3″ via=”yes” ]”#Smarketing teams have 3 objectives: target, engage, and advance accounts — together.” #ABM[/ctt]

Meet the Smarketing Team

You know the makeup of a football team — but who should you draft to your smarketing team? You don’t have to go out and hire a bunch of new employees for your account-based marketing program to succeed. Chances are, you’ve already got all the players you need.

These are the key roles in building your A-team for account-based marketing:

  • Business/Sales Development Reps – Your SDRs/BDRs are critical to the success of ABM. They’re your offensive line for demand generation, responsible for working with your marketing team on both outbound and inbound ABM efforts.
  • Sales Database Administrator – This data guru is responsible for keeping the contact and account information in your CRM up-to-date and managing day-to-day sales operations. This is crucial because ABM cannot succeed without clean data.
  • Marketing Operations Manager – You’ll also need someone to manage your marketing automation platform and all your marketing operations. This person will be in charge of calling plays to help move your target accounts through the marketing and sales funnel.
  • Content Manager & Graphic Designer – These storytellers will work with marketing, sales, and customer success to supply collateral, activities, and digital media for every stage of the account’s journey.
  • Account Executives – No surprise here: your account executives are the sales pros who will ultimately score the touchdown, or close the deal.
  • Customer Success Managers – That being said, account-based marketing is about more than just closing deals. You’ll need client experts who will help your customers succeed and turn then into brand advocates.
  • Executive Stakeholders – Of course, none of this is possible without great team managers who understand the value of smarketing. You’ll need buy-in and support from leadership at your organization, whether that’s your CMO, your VP of Sales, and/or your CEO.

When a team wins the Super Bowl or a National Championship, it isn’t just the offense or the defense who gets the recognition (and the ring); it’s the whole team. Likewise, the future of B2B marketing is one team. Best-in-class B2B organizations recognize that a fractured approach to sales and marketing isn’t the way to close deals; it’s all about smarketing.

You Need a Playbook

In order for your smarketing team to be successful, you must communicate, share goals, and play to your individual strengths. Just like you wouldn’t want to throw your best quarterback into the defensive end position right before game time (or really ever if you know what’s good for your team), you must focus on each department’s individual strengths, then combine them to efficiently work together. Each team enables the other.

How? You need to create a playbook.

In football, of course, a play is a strategy used to move the ball down the field. In ABM, a play is a strategy that will get you closer to a business goal. In other words, ABM plays are goal-oriented smarketing activities.

There are twelve ABM plays every B2B company should have in their playbook. The graphic below lays out the primary goal of each play — demand generation, pipeline velocity, or customer marketing — and the approach to ABM that each play is compatible with.

Account-based marketing plays matrix

Check out these resources to learn more about creating your ABM playbook:

More Ways to Win as a Team

Get more resources for winning as a smarketing team and closing more deals with ABM. Download the Blueprint to Account-Based Marketing Campaigns to learn more about building your A-team, creating your playbook, and executing results-oriented campaigns that drive business growth.

Blueprint to account-based marketing campaigns