Account Based…Partnering? Let’s Talk About It.
There’s been a ton of chatter about bubbles lately. Tech bubbles. SaaS bubbles. Marketing bubbles. Stock bubbles. Housing bubbles. A lot of people are really hoping there’s a PokemonGo bubble.
But in all seriousness, how do you know whether something really is too good to be true? A fad or here to stay? Temporary or timeless?
When it comes to B2B sales and marketing, I see a ton of strategies and tactics come and go. Even more end-up riding endless waves, going from hot to cold and back again as mediums change and attention spans get shorter. Think “direct mail.”
The latest trend…or wave…is Account Based Marketing. Oh, and Account Based Selling. Well, at least they were until former Marketo CMO and current Engagio CEO and Founder Jon Miller killedboth terms in favor of what he calls Account Based Everything (ABE) — “the coordination of marketing, sales development, sales, and customer success efforts to drive engagement and conversion at key target accounts.”
The fact is, Account Based anything is getting serious attention in the B2B space these days. Most of the sales and marketing executives I talk to regularly, specifically in the SaaS and Cloud space, are making big investments in ABE. I’m talking six and seven figure investments. Meanwhile, SaaS players like Miller’s Engagio and Atlanta-based Terminus have quickly become leaders in terms of helping companies implement, execute and track ABE’s fundamental tactics. Even more traditional marketing automation and lead generation platforms such as Marketo and DemandBase are putting their own spins on it.
Why? Well, because companies say it’s working — especially for companies focused on selling to the Fortune 5000. Which, I’m assuming, is most of you (us). In fact, research firm ITSMA reports that ABM alone delivers the highest ROI of any B2B marketing strategy or tactic. And according to Alterra Group, 65% of B2B marketers agreed that ABM provided significant benefits for attracting new clients.
But here’s the number that really caught my attention: According to Kissmetrics, 96% of companies utilizing ABE are doing so ONLY via their direct or inside sales teams. Which begs a few questions:
- Is there a place for Account Based Partnering? And if so,
- How can the strategies and tactics of ABE be applied to partner programs?
- Who, amongst the vendor and partner, owns what role?
- How can it be measured?
My thoughts (especially after 1:1 conversations with both Jon Miller and Terminus CMO and co-founder Sangram Vajre) is an emphatic YES. In fact, you could even argue that adding the rightpartners and resellers (more on that later) to the mix of ABE could push its ROI through the roof because of economies of scale alone.
Imagine taking the fundamental tactics of ABE, templatizing them for channel partners, multiplying their reach via the partners’ marketing efforts and sales teams, and shortening the sales cycle by utilizing their existing relationships with prospects and customers you would be engaging coldly if all alone. And, measuring every single aspect of it for each of your partners.
Sound too good to be true? Well you’re right — IF you’re thinking in terms of traditional channel programs and legacy channel technologies like PRM and “through partner marketing automation” (TPMA). But with the right technology, the right integrations and the right strategy — you’d be foolish not to include Account Based Partnering in your growth plans. And together with Engagio, Terminus and others, we’ll show you exactly how at CO:LLABORATE 2016.
I originally published this here on July 27, 2016.