It’s every account-based marketer’s worst nightmare: what if nobody’s actually doing anything with all that data you’re working so hard to collect?
Imagine it: you’re using an intent vendor like 6Sense or Demandbase to make sense of the dark funnel. You know all about the buyer activity that happens before your buyers even talk to your sales team. You’ve got form fills, site visits, ad engagements, third-party persona research … all the signs and signifiers that a particular buyer is exactly right for your sales pipeline. You diligently plug all of this information into CRM for everyone to use. Then what?
The Sales Engagement Problem
Unfortunately, it’s not just a nightmare scenario: it’s a reality for all-too-many otherwise canny account-based sales and marketing teams. After marketing delivers intent information, the feedback loop essentially closes. They don’t know whether sales even does anything with it, much less the results of what they do.
Sales engagement visibility: it’s the final piece of the account-based marketing puzzle, and it’s the one too many of us are still overlooking. It’s like your marketing team is using intent data to lovingly box up the perfect opportunity for your sales team, delivering it all gift wrapped and shiny right to their doorstep… and then forgetting to tell them they put it there.
You have everything you need, you just need to put it together. So why isn’t it coming together, and how can you bridge the gap? Well, we have some good news: we asked People.ai Global Accounts Director Susan Zuzic, who says the answer is (almost) as simple as it sounds. First, you just have to admit the problem is there.
Finding the Engagement Blindspot
“Most accounts I talk to believe they’re monitoring their sales engagement already,” Zuzic explains, “because they think their reps are logging everything they’re doing. And I know 100% that they don’t. I can say this with confidence, because it’s a pervasive problem everywhere.”
It’s not even necessarily that the reps aren’t inputting their engagement data, Zuzic says, so much as they don’t have the tools or the time to input this information in a useful, organized way. Instead, they do the bare minimum when they can, and they do it their own way. Sometimes it makes it to the CRM and sometimes it doesn’t.
Even when it does make it to the CRM, it often isn’t logged in a meaningful way. “You can go and reach out to someone, then record that you reached out to them,” Zuzic says, “but that isn’t necessarily engagement. Measuring engagement properly is tracking if people are responding back. If there’s some actual dialogue happening in the account. Because that’s the engagement that results in actual pipeline.”
The best way to input engagement data? Get a tool to do it for you. People.ai can monitor all sales activity and automatically send that data to the CRM in the form of engagement scores for all accounts. Sound easy enough? Well, Step 2 is even easier.
Sales and Marketing Data, Side by Side
“It’s actually frustrating how close a lot of us are,” Zuzic laments. “Typically companies surface intent and even send that data to the same place in their CRM as engagement. They literally just don’t have a place in Salesforce that allows them to write engagement next to intent, for a side-by-side comparison.”
When that comparison is out of sight, Zuzic argues, it’s out of mind. Marketing and sales teams know who their most valuable prospects are thanks to their intent tools, and (with the help of good engagement scoring) they might even know who they’re engaging with… but the left hand isn’t working with the right: they don’t know whether or not they’re engaging with their most valuable prospects.
“It’s so simple,” Zuzic says. “That could be a Salesforce report: just pull in the two fields (intent and engagement) and display them side-by-side. I could go create that report for someone right now, if they had the data.”
Unwrapping the Gift
So, what happens when you connect intent and engagement? You find what Zuzic calls the low-hanging fruit: “High intent, low engagement.”
“You can see the accounts you should be talking to that you aren’t talking to often.” Your sales manager and marketing team know exactly who to target next and how to target them.
“There’s something beautiful about the simplicity of it,” Zuzic says, “It’s all right there. You’re just taking control of your success, building your pipeline, giving your whole team visibility into that final mile of the journey.”
Ultimately, account-based marketing lives and dies based on effective teamwork. It doesn’t matter how much data your marketing team collects OR how skillful your sales team is if they’re not working together. Combining your marketing team’s intent data with your sales team’s engagement data is the wildly simple way to make both teams work together, build more pipeline, and start to see ABM really work.
For more information about how People.ai’s tools can facilitate interconnected ABM, get in touch.