How to leverage partners for ABM success


What if you could double down on your account-based marketing (ABM) initiatives? By involving partners in the account-based marketing strategy, you have the potential to double your budget and the number of helping hands. Most organizations don’t think about this, but we did––and it’s working!

ABM results increase ROI, with 97% of marketers reporting that they achieved higher ROI with ABM than with any other marketing initiatives. 

What is account-based marketing (ABM)?

Marketo defines ABM as “a focused approach to B2B marketing in which marketing and sales teams work together to target best-fit accounts and turn them into customers.”

Fundamentally, ABM consists of targeting, engagement, and measurement. Build these aspects into your program’s foundation, and you’ll be set up for success. Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Well, yes and no. Tactically, quite a few more steps require consideration, and even more when engaging with a partner. 

The tactical side of account-based marketing

Understanding the buyer, the first step in ABM, includes understanding if the buyer has the desired value for your organization and if they are a good fit overall. Next, you need to understand intent. Timing is everything in sales, and especially so in an account-based approach. Ensure the time is right when reaching out to a prospective buyer. 

Plan how you will approach the buyer. Create informed playbooks to ensure all touchpoints are being met. Then translate the process into platforms and ensure that the data points and martech stack align. This allows for understanding of intent and ensures you respond in a timely manner. Train and align the marketing and sales team to understand this process fully and completely.

What does account-based marketing with a partner look like?

Partnering with others on an ABM strategy requires a few minor (yet critically important) tweaks to the above process. In this next section, we will highlight our partnership with 6sense as an example of a successful ABM partnership. 

The buyer

Our partnership with 6sense was a natural fit. We found we both focus strongly on how marketing technologies can help our customers succeed––and how we can all grow together. We also naturally aligned on who our ideal buyer was, as any buyer of theirs should in turn also be a Shift Paradigm customer (and vice versa). 

The systems

When working with separate systems and separate websites, start by deciding on a lead scoring system with your partner. Decide how you will track intent, and mutually agree that both parties will watch for hand-raisers.  The informed playbooks will remain a critical component but will also need to capture input and touchpoints from both parties. 

As service-based organizations, we both agreed to focus our efforts on those users in the purchase decision or consideration stage of their journey. Representatives on both sides of the fence collaborated regularly and looked for opportunities to co-sell in this space. Prioritizing which accounts to approach based on the data sourced from the intent signals also proved successful.

Taking action with your partner

Integration naturally becomes an added element of the process and platforms phase of working with a partner. Be sure to clarify who is responsible for what (and when), especially considering you are dealing with different CRMS, tech stacks, websites, etc. Assigning responsibilities ensures everyone is on the same page.

The Shift Paradigm and 6sense teams did not experience any issues here, as we are both action-oriented. 

The final and most time-intensive step of this process involves aligning cross-functional teams and receiving executive buy-in on both sides of the fence. 

Where do I start?

For the first step of the partnership, remove any blockers that are standing in the way of a successful business relationship. These blockers could include the reporting structure (within either organization), budget differences, or not aligning to the overall marketing strategy. Next, identify pilot partners. Work cross-functionally to determine the best partners with which to launch. 

We recommend focusing on high-quality partners that you want to work with to achieve mutually advantageous goals. We have not encountered any blockers in our partnership with 6sense due to our natural alignment.

Is using partnership to support our ABM strategy the right move for our organization?

Engaging with the right partner should be a win-win for both parties, leading to more budget, more engagement, and more revenue. When done well, leveraging partnerships to support an account-based marketing strategy makes for great buyer experiences at every stage of the account journey. 

If you would like support with an ABM strategy, talk to the Shift Paradigm team today.

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How to leverage partners for ABM success

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