Christopher Strandell has worked in Sales for some 10 years, and is today Sales Manager at Vendemore. We've asked him 5 critical questions on the topic of account-based advertising, marketing, and sales.
Why use Account Based Advertising (ABA) to drive B2B sales?
Christopher: "B2B sales tend to be a rather complex process and the sales cycle can stretch over many months or years. The decision usually involves many people in different positions, levels, and units. It's hard for a Sales team to maintain presence and stay top-of-mind during the process, and it's hard to reach all decision influencers to position oneself as the natural choice. This is where ABA can bridge the gap and support the Sales team's job."
During a rather long sales cycle, when do you think it's appropriate to launch an advertising campaign?
Christopher: "Ideally one should run the campaign throughout the sales cycle. When applied optimally, advertising can both mirror and drive the sales process in synch with the account manager's daily work. The Sales team is working the account from early on to closed deal, so why shouldn't marketing? The key would be to change the advertising message to continuously mirror the phase of the sales process."
Would Account Based Advertising work towards any type of customers?
Christopher: "There is no limitation as such, I think. Vendemore's clients use ABA towards new prioritised prospects, towards existing clients when aiming to grow the account, as well as towards current pipeline where a deal is in sight. The key is to advertise towards those accounts that Sales prioritise."
How can you know that an advertising campaign is successful? What KPI's should be measured?
Christopher: "Frankly, as a Sales representative, I'm not very interested in the traditional 'marketing KPIs', such as click through rate (CTR). I prefer to measure the business results, e.g. increased sales or larger market share. Then again, as the sales cycle is often long in B2B, the marketing KPI's provide an understanding whether we're progressing with the customer. I'd recommend to measure both the target accounts' engagement with the display and the accounts' traffic to the website, to understand how their interest and engagement develop over time. These insights provide a lot of ammunition to Sales and helps to smoothen the sales process and prioritise the Sales team's time and focus."
Why do you think it's so difficult for many companies to get a good collaboration between their Sales and their Marketing teams?
Christopher: "I'm really not surprised. If Marketing runs activities towards the entire customer base, Sales people won't be that interested. If Sales and Marketing jointly agree on what accounts to prioritise on the other hand, the dynamics would change. Marketing activities should be planned to mirror the Sales team's priorities and adapt a more account-based approach. If the two teams drive in the same direction of course the outcome will be greater."
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A digital display ad campaign can be a very efficient marketing tool to build awareness and trust in a company. For B2B companies, a display ad campaign can be the first step in an Account Based Marketing effort. So how can you ensure that the ad will liv