Account-Based Marketing For Dummies
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Pipeline acceleration is also known as sales velocity. Using the formula for velocity (distance / time), your company wants to generate as much velocity as possible to see a revenue opportunity move through the sales pipeline to becoming a Closed/Won customer. An acceleration campaign is used in collaboration with marketing to help generate velocity and move a deal through the pipeline.

Before technology, salespeople had to do a lot of manual work to accelerate deals through the pipeline. This involved taking clients to fancy dinners, sending gifts, and wooing executives to buy from their companies. Marketing supported these activities by sending direct mail or hosting events.

With account-based marketing, there are several ways to launch a pipeline acceleration campaign. Because you have aligned your sales and marketing teams as one cohesive "smarketing" team, you have more resources to create effective campaigns. The goal is to develop a multi-touch strategy to engage with the right contacts in your opportunity accounts.

Your goal should have associated success metrics. The success metrics for a pipeline acceleration campaign are time and engagement. With your pipeline acceleration campaign, did you see the following?

  • Decrease in sales cycle: The amount of time it takes from the first touch ("click") to the account becoming a customer ("close"). When your typical sales cycle takes 90 days, your goal for a pipeline acceleration campaign should be to shorten the number of days to close an account.
  • Increase in engagement: The amount of activity with contacts in your account. The activities are recorded with your marketing automation system. Using marketing automation, you can see an increase in the score for your contacts. The score increases when contacts are engaged in more activities, such as downloading content or attending webinars.

The goal for pipeline acceleration campaigns is to decrease the amount of time it takes to close the deal, and increase the amount of engagement with all the contacts in the account. Your "smarketing" team, working together, can make these goals a reality.

Ask your "smarketing" team these questions before launching a pipeline acceleration campaign:
  • Who are the influencers, decision-makers, and "champions" in the account? When you're selling a product to an IT department, this is the IT manager, his supervisor, the department head, and any additional contacts you have connected. Your "champion" is your primary point of contact who will be a "power-user" of your product or service.

This is why it's important to capture an organizational hierarchy, noting which of your contacts in an account can influence the purchase decision.

  • When do you want the deal to close? In your CRM, the sales account executive should have assigned an anticipated date for the deal to be closed. Based on this date, how many days, weeks, or months do you have? This is the timeline for your acceleration campaign, and also helps you track your goal of decreasing the time to make a sale.
  • What needs to happen? Working with the sales account executive, determine what questions need to be answered. Are contacts in the account concerned about training, or implementation? Are there objections that need to be overcome, such as pricing or contract terms?
  • How can you engage the contacts in the account? Which channels are appropriate to connect with contacts? In your marketing automation system, you can see a record of activity. Strategize how you will connect with each contact who has a stake in the purchase decision. Consider the following items for the context of your relationship with the account:
    • What's worked so far to engage contacts. Have they attended webinars or downloaded content? Did you send direct mail? How was it received?
    • The job titles of the contacts. When you know your "champion" is a marketing manager who read all of your content, what else can you send him or her?

    • What's been done to engage the decision-maker. When the marketing manager's director or CMO hasn't been engaged (from your marketing automation system, you know they haven't read much content), how do you engage your champion's boss?

About This Article

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About the book author:

Sangram Vajre has quickly built a reputation as one of the leading minds in B2B marketing. Before co-founding Terminus, a SaaS platform for account-based marketing, Sangram led the marketing team at Salesforce Pardot. He has spoken on the topic of marketing technology around the world and is the mastermind behind #FlipMyFunnel.

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