The changing role of Marketing (Part 3)

How do we bring sales and marketing together in an era of buying dysfunction?

Today’s buyers are reaching out later, buying in groups and buying products that are good enough …

In part 2 of The changing role of marketing, we looked at how to avoid the risk of failed purchases as businesses increase the number of stakeholders involved in buying decisions. Today’s buying groups are made up of, on average, 5.4 people. The diversity of responsibilities, points of view and authority among these individual buyers creates conflict and buying dysfunction. So where to next?

“Smarketing”- An amalgamation of sales and marketing

Some would argue that marketing should be defined by sales goals and not leads. Let me explain. Traditionally, marketing has ‘owned’ the lead process, generated marketing qualified leads and then handing the baton over to the sales team.  The biggest cause of misalignment (friction?) between sales and marketing is that leads are unqualified or not quality leads that will generate real opportunities.  As a result, sales teams believe that Marketing doesn’t know what a lead is and so the divide (and frustration) between the two continues. The end goal must be the same – both sales and marketing need to be led by a common goal; increasing revenue.

The downfall of the traditional lead generation is here. It’s time to flip the funnel

If we agree that marketing should be driving more than leads (Forrester cite that less than 1% of leads turn into revenue and according to Hubspot, misalignment between sales and marketing wastes $1 trillion worth of marketing spend each year), then what?

There’s a significant shift in marketing momentum right now from a volume-based lead strategy toward account-based marketing (ABM). It’s a move that allows businesses to focus their resources in an efficient, purposeful way to expand business with current customers and develop relationships with ideal new ones. ABM is a marketing strategy that takes the traditional sales funnel and flips it on its head. Where traditional marketing would target as many prospects as they could, account-based marketing sees the marketing team lock onto specific targeted accounts; quality over quantity.

Moving from Lead gen to ABM

ABM isn’t new

Sales professionals have been running ABM programs for years. What has changed is the proliferation of new technologies, marketing automation and data tools. Access to predictive data helps us to identify who our buyers are and therefore accelerating true ABM in a way that we have never seen before.  Check out a previous blog I wrote called: Data is the new oil.

The 5 benefits of ABM

  1. Delivering increased ROI versus traditional lead-generation activities: (Altera Group).
  2. Engender better Sales and Marketing alignment: Marketo research says 67% of companies are better at closing deals when sales and marketing are lined up.
  3. One tailored message to the customer: ABM ensures that all account team members agree and align on priorities and message, breaking down silos. You create, in effect, a value proposition for each account.
  4. Trusted partners, not suppliers: ABM over time is very likely to help transition the customer perception of your company from a vendor to that of a trusted partner – you’ll have a status that is earned, not assumed. You’ll get a ‘seat at the table’ earlier in the conversation – and be invited into the meetings where problems are discussed, rather than just being put on an RFP list.
  5. Engagement and upsell: ABM is expected to result in the client having a broader awareness of your offerings, strategy and solutions, and is more likely to position and sell you across their organisation. (This is ideal considering we know that decisions are often made in groups).


If can no longer measuring our marketing success on marketing qualified leads (MQLs), we need new thinking about how we gauge our success.  Here are 5 metrics which make sense to me as defined by Engagio:

  • Coverage: do you have sufficient data, contacts, and account plans for each target account?
  • Awareness: are the target accounts aware of your company and its solutions?
  • Engagement: are the right people at the account spending time with your company, and is that engagement going up over time?
  • Program Impact: are marketing programs reaching the target account, and are they having a long-term effect?
  • Influence: how are the ABM activities improving sales outcomes such as deal velocity, win rates, average contract values, retention, and net promoter scores?

In an accelerated world of globalisation and volatility, risk-averse decision making and disruption, traditional marketing is seeing diminishing returns.  Nobody ever said a career in marketing would be boring! If you’re just starting out and wondering where to start, I’d be happy to share my experiences with you. I’ve used a few agencies over the years to support new ideas and ways of working.  Punch! ABM stand out and have a great methodology that is worth looking at.

What is ABM


Here is a short video clip on the 3 tactics of ABM from Punch!





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