The Buck Stops at the CEO for Account-Based Marketing

By Sangram Vajre

When it comes to generating leads vs. account-based marketing, the buck stop at the CEO. Period.

Innovative B2B marketers and CMOs are rallying behind the idea of account-based marketing (ABM) because it’s a proven strategy to grow revenue. ABM is a new way of getting aligned with sales teams to engage best-fit accounts instead of being focused on BS metrics like marketing qualified leads (MQLs) or the number of people’s badges you scanned at a trade show booth.

That’s why we’re in the midst of the account-based marketing revolution. But is your CEO on board?

In order to fully align your organization for account-based marketing, the CEO needs to be bought in. No matter how much the CMO or the marketing team wants to do ABM, if the CEO isn’t bought into shifting from traditional lead-based metrics, then “account-based whatever” just isn’t happening.

If your company’s CEO still wants to see the number of leads generated thinking it will lead to revenue, then it’s time for a wakeup call.

Why It’s Up to CEOs to Pave the Way with ABM

For decades, B2B SaaS industry leaders have been misguided in their view of marketing as a lead gen machine. It’s also the reason why customer marketing hasn’t been a focus, but we’ll get to that later. First, let’s discuss the factors that have led to B2B CEOs’ heavy focus on leads.

  • The inbound marketing movement creating scalable ways to generate leads
  • Marketing automation to nurture, grade, and score contacts and prospects
  • Content marketing to engage people through thought leadership

All these factors have made B2B marketers look like lead generation machine, which is what they were supposed to be. With the explosion of B2B MarTech, the process looked like this: leads were qualified, then funneled through the sales process to become paying customers.

Now, lead generation made marketers appear to be heroes. A good CMO could demonstrate how a handful of those leads ended up becoming customers. But alas, Forrester found that less than 1% of leads generated ever turn into customers.

This means 99% of the leads created by marketing never see the green that the CEO ultimately cares about. Is this really what the CEO and board want to see? No! Execs want to see the ROI of marketing, or at least they should.

So it really comes down to the CEO, President, and/or executive leadership team to come to an agreement. If leadership says, “I want the marketing team to generate leads” and they are sticking to the MQL, SAL, SQL, metrics, then share that Forrester stat. For every 100 leads generated, only one “might” become a customer.

That’s gotta make some CEOs furious. I hope so.

It’s time to flip that funnel and challenge the status quo.

For the CEOs who care enough about the results beyond following the usual B2B marketing playbook — and those who are willing to try something new with measuring marketing’s metrics — get ready to thrive in 2017 and beyond.

I challenge every CEO out there to do away with MQLs and Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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