ABM is Bridging the Gap Between Marketing and Sales in the Public Sector

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The goal of any marketing plan is to generate qualified leads that convert to sales. Therefore, by definition, every marketer’s biggest customer is their salesperson.

However, despite both departments working to generate revenue, marketing and sales teams often operate as separate entities with both parties pursuing different leads in conflicting manners. More than half of marketers and salespeople reported a divide between their teams in Walker Sands’ State of Martech 2019 report. This misalignment creates a rift that can affect corporate performance, cost money and resources, and negatively impact the organization’s messaging.

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Agency-based marketing is a strategic approach in which sales and marketing teams collaborate to target and nurture business in specific government agencies. In the business to business market, this tactic is simply called account-based marketing. According to a survey by Act-On, ABM is linked to improvements in close rates approaching 300%. Similarly,  ITSMA reported that 84% of marketers saw significantly higher ROI with ABM than with other marketing initiatives.

The key principle of ABM is a marketing and sales partnership where both parties fully collaborate, from inception to product delivery, for an integrated approach. To function properly, ABM also requires executive buy-in and organizational alignment between the c-suite, sales, and marketing departments.

The most successful agency-based marketing campaigns begin with a preliminary meeting between the marketing and sales teams to conduct account planning. Both parties will collectively establish the target government agencies, create timelines to access these agencies, identify alliances within the channel, and develop clear success metrics.

Salespeople typically boast a more intimate understanding of the customer and their challenges. ABM enables insight-led marketing where marketers bear the onus of conducting an in-depth exploration of the target agencies and their current messaging capabilities. Equipped with this research, marketers can bring valuable data on the customer to the sales team – effectively earning their place at the table.

The U.S. government has several public websites that offer significant insights into every agency and invaluable details such as specific goals, challenges, and pain points. Marketers can leverage these resources to create assets that align specifically with the mission of their target agency.

Performance.gov is a centralized performance reporting portal that offers a window into federal agencies and their efforts. Each agency’s page provides an overview of the agency, its mission, priority goals, and links to its strategic objectives, strategic plans, performance plans, and reports.

The Federal government sets priority goals which are near-term, implementation focused leadership priorities and strategic objectives that reflect an agency’s comprehensive outcome over the term of an administration. Marketers can harness these agency objectives to create webinars, solutions briefs, or blog series that detail how their product or service specifically addresses the target agency’s strategic goals and objectives.

For example, the Department of Justice’s priority goals for FY 2020 – FY 2021 is to combat cyber-enabled threats, to combat the opioid crisis, and to prevent and disrupt fraud. Marketers interested in targeting the DoJ can align messaging in earned media and content, to highlight their expertise and how their product/service addresses cybersecurity, identity theft, or the drug epidemic. The website also features the delegates responsible for these priority goals. Marketers can leverage this insight to connect with these individuals on LinkedIn, track their upcoming speaking engagements, and potentially utilize their quotes in marketing materials.

The hyper-targeted, metrics-heavy campaign approach of ABM offers a regular feedback loop that reinforces better communication and synchronization between sales and marketing. This strategic refinement builds a stronger customer relationship that will ultimately increase an organization’s efficiency, credibility, customer service, and expertise—which are the key values ranked highest by government decision-makers.

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