The debate on how to get sales and marketing to work better together has gone on for years. According to the results of the SiriusDecisions' 2015 State of Account-Based Marketing Study, alignment between sales and marketing has improved.
In fact the study shows wider adoption is expected with more than 60 percent planning to invest in technology for ABM to better align sales and marketing over the next year. Seventy-four percent of respondents are already working with sales to define account goals and plans, and 67 percent get help from sales on account insights.
The trouble seems to lie not in getting cross-departmental alignment, but rather in connecting the dots within marketing operations. The study revealed that marketers need better alignment among their peers. Respondents said just 46 percent are getting help with ABM from other marketing functions. Here are three rules for enabling better alignment within marketing organizations.
Identify the skills gap
The study revealed that 47 percent of companies surveyed say that they don't feel their ABM teams have the skills needed for ABM and that marketing teams need more support to succeed at ABM. To resolve this, first assess your marketing organization to determine people's strengths and weaknesses. Drill into specific areas of competence like social and mobile marketing, campaign analysis and predictive modeling, and leadership. The knowledge gleaned from this process will enable you to build highly effective teams with the right skills for the future. Next identify the gaps where you can build highly skilled teams, reward the high performers, and focus on the critical areas for development.
Organize around the customer
According to Peppers & Rogers Group, 81 percent of companies with strong customer experience competencies outperform their competition. Building an enterprisewide culture that understands the importance of customer experience and works together to deliver that collective goal starts with alignment. Once the customer-centric doctrine is embedded into an organization, alignment will happen organically.
Rethink project workflow
Most marketing departments' workflows are set up according to functions: strategy, advertising, researching, promoting, conducting customer surveys, branding, and public relations. All these responsibilities can be gathered in several main functions of the marketing department. To increase alignment within marketing and enable more account based marketing initiatives, organizations should restructure their project workflows according to customer accounts. Only then will companies be able to align marketing activity with account strategy.
Marketing's functions are radically transforming. By following these three simple rules, marketers will be poised to meet the market and consumer demands of the future.