Last year at Turtl, we conducted some research with Forrester to find out what sales really thinks about marketing and content-driven outcomes. We found some pretty interesting results, but here’s a few of the big ones:

  • Sales are 21 percent less likely than marketers to say marketing is a key driver of business growth
  • 94 percent of marketers face challenges with generating insights
  • 36 percent of marketers say they don’t know which content they produce is the most impactful

Who better to shine a light on how to fix these figures than professionals who work closely with both sales and marketing? Most importantly, these professionals have a wealth of experience working in account-based marketing (ABM) for companies like DXC and Capita.

We spoke to Dorothea Gosling, Director of Marketing Programs, Pursuits & ABM at DXC technology, and Kate Owen, former Director of Strategic Client Marketing and Industries at Capita. Here are the top 3 things they advise marketers do to close the marketing-sales gap and improve account-based marketing.

These comments were made during a recent webinar hosted by Turtl titled: ABM Experts on Content Insight: How to Prove Marketing Value and Close More Deals. If you want to watch the full webinar, you can view the recording for free here.

1. Make sales your partner, not your enemy

“Do we have a business that has a parallel marketing universe and a parallel sales universe, or are they joined up?”, asks Dorothea Gosling about the disconnect between account focused marketing and sales.

Let’s not beat around the bush anymore; It’s about time marketing and sales talked about their differences and stopped pretending to live in parallel worlds. The Forrester study shows that sales considers marketing to be useful in supporting the early stages of the funnel. After that, sales find marketing less efficient when it comes to driving the final stages of deals. The task for marketing is to join up with sales to ensure that it’s a team effort. That doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing on everything – but it does certainly mean working towards a common goal.

Both Kate and Dorothea agree that the way to move forward is to have a less polarizing view of the two departments. At Capita, Kate describes how the marketing team is built to have revenue targets – not just marketing-qualified and sales-qualified leads. Consequently, this helps sales and marketing stay on track and view their efforts as cumulative.

2. Use data wisely

“It’s not about speaking numbers on return on investment, it’s about translating the data into something sales can use”.

Every marketer knows the value of collecting data and statistics. Click-through rates and engagement statistics are definitely worth paying attention to. What’s tricky though, is translating these metrics into real insight. Bridge the gap between sales and marketing by thinking about how to turn marketing data into actionable insights sales can use for their outreach.

“[Marketers] face challenges because it’s extremely difficult to make the jump from data to meaningful information. We’ve been experimenting with this [at DXC] for 5 years. It was hard to do anything meaningful with it. This client scores a 95 – what does that actually mean? How can sales action that?”, questions Dorothea.

3. Play the long game

“Building [content] marketing that has credibility is a longer-term play,” comments Kate on the importance of creating the right content for your highly specific audience in ABM. She argues that the co-creation of content is key to this. However building relationships with people who can produce the kind of content you need takes time.

ABM remains such a buzzword because content created specifically for targeted account strategies is easier to tie directly to business goals and objectives – something content marketing historically struggles with.

Therefore, Dorothea summarizes that account-based marketing is “an opportunity for marketers to get more business savvy in terms of the language they use to talk about top and bottom-line impact. And it helps create materials that resonate with our customers. That increases the credibility of marketing with our sales partners and then that trust is built with the realization that they [marketing] actually add value, they do something that helps us shorten the sales cycle, and this leads to a more successful organization.”

A round-up:

In short, Kate and Dorothea’s top tips for marketers who want to prove marketing value and close more deals are:

  • Don’t be dependant on too much data
  • Work in collaboration with sales
  • Start with your end-goal objectives
  • Strive towards joint targets

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