Whether your organization is fully bought into account-based marketing, is still operating on a primarily lead-based strategy, or has some combination of the two, building awareness, credibility, and trust with your future customers is a primary responsibility of marketing. And it can also be a challenge.
On top of that, “alignment” with sales is something that constantly needs massaging when it comes to revenue and opportunity goals, target accounts, leads, processes, and just overall communication. Often times, marketing needs to build trust with sales before it can focus on building trust with customers. And as an unbiased marketer, I can say that the problem never originates with us. Right? Ok, maybe not.
Phononic, a startup in North Carolina that is literally changing the way the world cools things, was facing sales and marketing alignment as a challenge even though marketing was hitting its lead goals — and then some. But through operationalizing an ABM strategy that aligns with sales’ goals, Phononic is driving explosive growth on their path to going public.
Bridging the Credibility Gap with Prospects
Initially, the biggest challenge for the Phononic team was building credibility with their audience. Thermoelectric technology has been around a while, but not in this current state. Still, people who know about thermoelectrics (not me, by the way) have had bad experiences with thermoelectrics. So Phononic needed to prove to its target market that their technology was different and better.
“A big part of what Terminus allows us to do is deliver our message in a targeted, ‘we show up everywhere’ way,” said Daniel Englebretson, Director of Integrated Marketing at Phononic. “It builds credibility for the brand and makes our presence feel more real to the market.”
Changing Sales’ Perception of Lead Quality
Because Phononic was focused on rapid growth across several verticals, its initial lead-focused strategy was driving more than enough leads. Great success, right? Unfortunately, if your sales team is so overwhelmed with quantity that they can’t determine quality, delivering a ton of leads doesn’t really help.
Thus, the Phononic marketing mavens were up against another challenge. In addition to building credibility with future customers, they also had to build credibility with their own sales team to prove marketing could deliver the people sales actually wanted to talk to.
With their old lead-based approach, there was the age-old conversation with sales of “was this lead really qualified? Was this really the right point of contact at an account?”
But account based marketing changed the dialogue. Now, Phononic’s marketing team could actually collaborate with sales to identify which accounts they should target. This opened the door to more conversation on what messages and tactics the marketing team was using to warm prospects up for sales.
Confrontation was transmuted into collaboration.
And the proof was in the numerical pudding! Web visits from high-fit accounts went up 78 percent after Terminus implementation. And now, using Terminus Sales Insights, sales actually has a super-simple way to know when and how to reach out to an account by seeing exactly when they visit, how many people visit, and which content they’ve engaged with — right from within Salesforce.
This has also boosted their sales email and call response rate by focusing energy on accounts that are already primed and engaged with the Phononic brand.
Surprise, working with sales works
Daniel says this new alignment with sales’ target account strategy has built that trust back. “Now, it’s easier to say, ‘These are the accounts you wanted me to target, these are the departments at each account you wanted me to target, and here’s how they’re engaging.’ It helps sales understand how marketing is helping them engage those accounts.”
The team at Phononic is working with sales to target the right accounts, engage those accounts with a relevant message, activate the sales team when the time is right, and collaboratively measure the success that both teams are seeing. That’s moving beyond mere alignment and into sales and marketing integration.
A Different Way of Thinking About the TEAM Framework to Account-Based Marketing
Target, Engage, Activate, and Measure are easy ways to think about operationalizing an account-based marketing strategy across departments and roles. But every organization’s needs and challenges are somewhat different, so it’s important to build on the TEAM framework with a strategy that works for you.
Here’s how Daniel thinks about TEAM:
Target: Align and operationalize marketing and sales efforts around a unified target account strategy
“One of the first important things to do is simplify account targeting. Then, build tactics based on that segmentation, then use naming conventions to understand the reach, then use dynamic segments to qualify and move people in and out of tactics.”
Engage: Create and orchestrate engagement with your ideal customers
“It’s very important to be buyer journey centric when you’re building content. You want to make sure that anything you’re creating fits a stage in the buyer journey, and that you’re mapping that content back to personas.”
Activate: Work in lockstep with sales to create and win more deals using account level engagement data
“The Terminus platform transforms the relationship between sales and marketing, enabling alignment and building internal understanding. That’s been significant in shaping how I interact with sales.”
Measure: Drive pipeline, revenue, velocity, and deal size for all your account lists
“Terminus is so wide-reaching, and it really touches everything we’re doing. It’s one thing to say; it’s another thing to see it. We’ve had sales cycles that used to be nine months that are now one month.”
And one last Terminus tip from Daniel: “Previously we would just drop an email campaign or we would start a call campaign or we would do a social campaign. What we found was that if we launched Terminus digital ad tactics two weeks in advance, we saw significant climbs in conversion rates across all the different channels.”
Want more tips on aligning with sales around the right accounts, the right message, and the right results? Talk to a Terminus expert today.