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The Secret to Account-Based Marketing Success

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Account-based marketing is rapidly gaining steam in the B2B world. About 90% of marketers recognize the value of account-based marketing (ABM), rating it as "extremely" or "very" important to their overall marketing efforts, but a recent study shows that only 20% of companies surveyed have a full ABM program in place.

That gap is primarily due to a lack of knowledge and limited resources. Most companies are unsure how to start rolling out an ABM program. Lead-to-account matching is a crucial step in a successful campaign.

Understanding Lead-to-Account Matching

Lead-to-account matching lets you match new and existing leads to their proper accounts. Without it, ABM falls flat. Why? Because in today's enterprise, marketing teams are engaged in many different activities and campaigns.

When the leads start flowing in and get passed on to Sales, there is a good chance that the sales team does not already know the history of the lead. For example, is that target account already a customer? Has progress already been made on the deal?

Most marketing and sales organizations do not have tight alignment and open communication, so correctly matching leads to their parent accounts is all the more important. A total of 50% of Sales's time is wasted on unproductive prospecting, and sales reps ignore 50% of marketing leads, according to a report from Marketo.

Misalignment not only results in lost productivity but also in lost business opportunities. MarketingProfs found that organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing functions experience 36% higher customer retention rates and 38% higher sales win rates.

Benefits of Lead-to-Account Matching

Lead-to-account matching prevents Marketing and Sales from stepping on each other's toes, which is frustrating internally, looks sloppy to potential customer, and can result in lost deals.

Moreover, ABM requires strengthening the connection between Marketing and Sales, so organizations can engage each prospect as a "market of one," meaning with a collective decision-making process and close focus on individual accounts. Lead-to-account matching makes that alignment possible.

Lead-to-account matching also powers key activities to allow Marketing and Sales teams to more effectively manage accounts and target leads.

A prominent use case for lead-to-account matching is prospecting for new leads within an existing account. A system to firmly connect each individual discovered to its parent organization allows companies to use the entire external universe of lead information in searching within a target account for quality prospects intending to buy.

Lead-to-account matching allows Sales to discover every stakeholder who may impact the buying cycle, and it also provides multiple avenues into an organization, increasing the connections sales can use to close the deal.

A key case impacting the Marketing side of the house is opportunity tracking and measurement. In particular, attributing inbound leads correctly requires lead-to-account matching. Lead-to-account matching lets you know with certainty whether a new lead represents a new opportunity for your sales team, and it allows you to give credit to the proper marketing campaign or lead source.

Companies that sell into organizations with multiple global or domestic offices often turn to site-level lead routing to their sales reps. That's because the best lead to target isn't always located at headquarters, and territory mapping may need to reflect physical locations of individual decision-makers. Companies in this situation must incorporate lead-to-account matching to figure out who the appropriate regional sales teams are and what larger opportunity individual leads may represent. Lead-to-account matching in this case can also allow marketing to engage in high-value geographically-targeted marketing efforts.

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Lead-to-account matching enables organizations to have all the information they need to successfully target and engage potential customers.

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Doug Bewsher is CEO at Leadspace, a company that brings in sales leads and scores them to better help marketers determine which ones to prioritize.

LinkedIn: Doug Bewsher

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  • by Matt Benati Thu Jan 21, 2016 via web

    Great article, Doug. I agree that matching leads with accounts is important for success. One best practice for Salesforce is to convert leads into contacts (under a unified account). This enables sales and marketing to see the entire account and its members, as opposed to only seeing disconnected leads. In turn this insight increases Sales' ability to accelerate opportunities to closed-won business.

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