Using ABM to Create Social Proof for your Salespeople
The persistent focus on ABM in the B2B marketing industry today is so pervasive, it’s impossible for me not to think about the other ways that the industry might be shifting or how ABM might be infiltrating the practices we’ve grown so comfortable with. The whole concept of ABM is that you have a finite universe and that that’s a good thing. It’s transforming the way you market, but how can we use it to transform the way we sell?
In traditional sales, your salespeople have BDEs because more manpower = more sales. Judging by what we’ve learned from ABM and from going narrow and deep rather than shallow and wide, it’s hard to justify that this methodology can stand on its own legs anymore. What with the way sales-marketing alignment is evolving, I’ve been considering the potential impact of not only giving them a top BDE but also an ABM expert – or a team of experts — that could execute personalized marketing tactics to create them the type and volume of content they require to establish themselves as thought leaders so they attract sales as opposed to search for sales.
Marketers have long touted the benefits of “social proof,” the idea being that people tend to trust the opinions of the masses, especially masses of a similar ilk, so getting a lot of likes on Facebook or people tweeting about your company or good reviews on Amazon is the proof that what you have to offer has value and merit. Naturally, we want this for our company, our products, and our services, but as sales and marketing get much more personal, we need this for our top salespeople – our people on the front-lines of deal-making – too. Having a team of ABM experts would be able to make this happen.
Unfortunately, the fact is that executing the efforts required to generate this social proof is the last thing your top salesperson has time for. Most of them struggle to even keep their LinkedIn page up to date, so it’s not really reasonable to expect that they’d have the time to curate lists of industry-leading articles and content, e-mail those out to a personalized list of their top prospects, write their own blog, run their own webinar or podcast, or any of the other things necessary to establish a degree of thought leadership. They have a number. The best ones have such a focus on that number that there is quite literally not time for anything else. A BDE alongside them can help prospect and nurture and schedule and follow up, but that salesperson’s expectation of what they receive from the marketing department is no longer aligned. The demands of content, branding, and driving company-wide thought leadership to the external audience are so great that no marketing department can support these individual needs of your top-tier salespeople.
I can’t get the idea out of my head: an ABM expert…an army of ABM experts alongside an army of BDEs pushing the top salespeople way beyond their goals. My hand in the fire? This is the future.
James Regan is CMO of Market Resource Partners, a provider of end-to-end marketing and sales software and services. Jim is responsible for keeping MRP on the cutting edge of marketing services and works on the architecture and execution of MRP’s internal marketing efforts. He oversees the growing team of marketing and sales talent, and he enjoys constantly challenging them to excel.