An Innovative Approach for Aligning Marketing with Sales

An Innovative Approach for Aligning Marketing with Sales

Not all clients are created equal.

You’ve witnessed this first-hand as a B2B marketer.

The number of prospects that tell you they’ll get back to you but never do, completely ignore your pitches, or outright unsubscribe from your email list is enough to dishearten the most motivated marketer.

But you’re not disheartened, are you?

Well, if you are, you’ve come to the right place.

Inbound marketing tactics promise a return, but potentially not for years to come. Outbound strategies, on the other hand, are invasive, disruptive, less effective than inbound, and risk harming your brand’s authentic voice.

One representation of this lies in the fact that the average email click-through rate across all industries hovers around 1%-3%.

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For you — the marketer who needs qualified leads and steady income — what gives?

Marketing tactics and strategies seem to come and go just as fast as the next iPhone.

Here’s what you don’t need: a prospect list full of unqualified leads.

In fact, you need just the opposite: a list of people who are pre-qualified.

You need engaged, interested, and promising prospects.

Enter account-based marketing.

What is account-based marketing?

Account-based marketing might just be the next revolutionary selling tactic. The reality is that most prospects don’t respond to your emails and your offers, because — let’s be honest, here — they aren’t your ideal client.

If they were, they’d be buying your product.

This means that you don’t need to maintain a shoddy click-through rate on your advertising campaigns and email list.

You just need a better list of prospects.

Account-based marketing qualifies prospects before they ever get on your list.

In other words, account-based marketing is the sweet and promising marriage between inbound and outbound marketing. With it, you reach out to prospects, but only those who’ve you determined are most likely to buy.

This allows you to personalize the message you send to your prospects because you’re only sending the message to your ideal client.

Which is good. Because 75% of customers prefer personalized offers.

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And that same principle applies to B2B marketing, which is exactly why an increasing percentage of B2B companies are using account-based marketing.

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Account-based marketing flips the funnel on its head. First, qualify leads, determine if they’re viable prospects, and then market to them.

This saves you money on your paid advertisements since you’re targeting prospects that are more likely to purchase and it saves you heartache from that cold emailing hell you find yourself stuck in.

But how do you do it?

What’s the innovative strategy that this article promised to present?

It all boils down to 5 steps.

1. Determine who you’re going to target.

The first step in your account-based marketing journey is to determine who your ideal client is.

After all, if you don’t know your ideal client, you can’t market to them in the way you want to.

Segment generally and get increasingly specific.

Start by asking yourself these questions.

  1. What industry does your ideal client work in?
  2. How old are they?
  3. What’s their income like?

Then, once you have some of those general demographic questions answered, get more specific.

  1. What does your ideal client do on the weekend?
  2. What are their hobbies?
  3. Are they married? Do they have kids?
  4. Do they like their job?

That might seem overly specific, but the truth is that the more specific you are about your ideal client, the more targeted, and thus successful, your marketing campaign — whether inbound or outbound.

Think of your ideal client as an individual person when you’re crafting a marketing strategy. Take into account their personality, what they like to do, what they’re struggling with, and how old they are.

The more specific, the better. Personalized emails increase click-through rate by an average of 14% and conversions by 10%.

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And list segmentation, one of the cornerstones of personalized marketing, promises a serious increase in clicks.

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But these personalization techniques are only possible once you understand your ideal client — better than they understand themselves.

Once you have your ideal client nailed down, deciding on the best marketing outreach tactic should be a breeze.

2. Decide on the best way to target your ideal client.

The way that you market to your qualified clients will be determined by who that client is and where they spend their time.

If your ideal client, for example, is 50 or 60 years old, then Facebook probably isn’t the way to go, as social media use deteriorates with age.

But perhaps direct mail would work.

On the other hand, if your ideal clients are entrepreneurs in their 20’s and 30’s, then Facebook Ads and even Instagram Ads might be the best fit.

An SEO strategy surrounding your blog is almost always a good direction for marketing to your ideal client.

There are just a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.

First, a blog content SEO strategy is a long-term game. It usually takes several years to rank the way you want to rank in Google.

Second, your rankings will only be as good as the keywords you choose to target. When it comes to inbound marketing, keyword research is going to be the crux of finding your ideal clients. Spend lots of time determining exactly what your ideal clients are typing into search engines.

Organic traffic sees a whopping 14.6% close rate.

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But it’s going to take a long time to start receiving that traffic. So definitely do it, but don’t expect many results from it at first.

And remember, to keep it account-based, do an appropriate amount of keyword research and only create content for your ideal client.

Whether inbound or outbound — depending on who your ideal client is — focus ruthlessly on that single customer avatar and don’t stray from the path.

Your qualified client will tell you how to market to them. You just need to listen.

3. Experiment to find what works best.

Your marketing strategies are worthless without proper experimentation.

What do I mean by experimentation?

Well, what I don’t mean is A/B testing.

A/B testing is the tactic of a marketer who’s trying to find subtle psychological cues that promise higher conversions and click-through rates.

But we’re not talking about the color of your CTA button or the power of using the word “get” instead of “try.”

We’re talking about account-based marketing. And account-based marketing tests don’t involve testing button copy and color. It involves testing the people who’re on your prospect list.

In other words, instead of testing your marketing strategy, you test the people on your list.

The top marketing challenge for companies is generating more traffic and leads.

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Everyone wants business. But to get more business, you need to target the people who will actually buy your product.

And keep in mind, sometimes the person who interacts with your brand isn’t the same person that will actually make a purchase.

You’re not targeting for engagement or other unhelpful data boosts. You’re targeting people who will convert.

But to target people who will convert, you need to learn as you go. Your first attempt at account-based marketing won’t be perfect, which means that you need to pay attention to who’s converting, who isn’t, and how you can iterate your marketing strategy upon that data.

On all of your channels – including who’s converting via social media.

Sadly, a shocking 60% of small business owners aren’t able to track ROI from their social media activities.

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Don’t be in that 60%. Take the time to analyze the people who purchase your product.

Because, in the end, regardless of what your customer avatar says, the person who converts is your ideal client. And you need to target more of them.

4. Follow up with leads.

Wanna know something depressing?

Regardless of how many leads a business gets, a shocking percentage of marketers and salespeople suck at following up.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. A staggering 48% of salespeople never follow up with a prospect.

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25% of salespeople follow up once and then quit.

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12% of salespeople follow up twice and then quit.

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And only 10% of salespeople follow up three or more times.

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If the fact that just under half of salespeople never follow up with a prospect doesn’t scare you enough, consider this: only 2% of sales are made on the first contact.

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Unfortunately, that’s when most salespeople give up.

This illustrates exactly why following up with leads is so important. Don’t assume that because you’re targeting your ideal client, you don’t need to follow up. That’s just as much of a lie as the idea of inbound marketing bringing in leads within a month of implementing.

Your ideal client isn’t someone who buys without forethought — that person doesn’t exist. Your ideal client is the person who is most likely to buy with gentle and appropriate prodding.

In other words, even your ideal client needs convincing.

How do I know?

Well, let’s talk about where the other 98% of sales happen. 3% of sales happen on the second contact.

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5% of sales are made on the third contact.

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10% of sales are made on the fourth contact.

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And here’s the big surprise, 80% of sales are made somewhere between the fifth and twelfth contact.

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This means that your ideal client will probably be the person who converts somewhere in between the fifth and twelfth contact. Don’t give up until you’ve hit at least 11 follow-ups with a client.

In fact, as a few rules of thumb, stick to these tricks with your follow-up strategy.

  1. Keep track of how many times you’ve followed up with each prospect.
  2. Follow up at least 11 times before quitting.
  3. Redefine your ideal client based on the people who buy in between the fifth and twelfth contact. This is your golden zone. Market to these people.

However you do it, your business will survive on tactful salespeople who follow up graciously with the people who are most likely to purchase.

And since you’re spending less time on low-commitment, unqualified leads, you’ll be able to follow up and give the necessary attention to the people who will actually buy your product — with some prodding, of course.

5. Interact with prospects at every chance you get.

Too often in businesses, customer service and marketing are separate.

The customer service representatives sit in one corner of the room connecting with clients, prospects, and leads on a personal level, while the marketers are in the other corner, discussing the best way to reach those people.

It’s horribly ironic.

The smart marketers will consult their salespeople and customer service representatives to better understand the people who they’re marketing to.

But, let’s admit, it’s easy to get busy, A/B test everything you do, and call it a day.

And while a solid A/B test might increase conversions by a few lucky percentage points, nothing quite compares to better understanding your ideal client.

There are a few different ways to go about it.

First, live chat works wonders for connecting with the people who visit your website. If you pay close attention to these people, it will inform you about exactly who your marketing efforts bring in.

You can then ask yourself if these people are the right people. If they’re not, go back to step one and two to discover who your ideal client is and the best way of marketing to them.

Additionally, live chat allows you to discover the exact questions that your ideal client is asking. You can then use these questions as a part of your content marketing strategy and keyword research efforts.

Here are a few options for your live chat service. Check out Influx


And Zendesk.

You can use the exact same strategy for your phone service and email interactions.

However you do it, don’t build a business where marketing and customer service are separate. Marketing has a lot to learn from the relationships that your customer service department builds on a daily basis.

Ignoring that fact will make your marketing journey a whole lot more difficult than it needs to be.


You’re sick of cold emailing and unsuccessful, untargeted marketing. Of sending campaigns to the masses and getting a crappy response.

But you now know that those results aren’t a surprise.

The less targeted your marketing, the less people that connect with your message. But it’s not your message that’s the problem, it’s the people you’re sending that message to.

Most marketers aimlessly revamp their Ad Spend, button color, and landing page copy, with little to no improved results.

They sit there, wondering why that online test that said a red button improves conversions isn’t working for them.

Well, the color of your button only works if you target the right people.

Account-based marketing starts by targeting the right people.

All you have to do is start with account-based marketing.

Brad Smith

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