Podcast: Inbound to ABM w/Fes Askari @Strategic IC
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Great companies realize that to be successful, generating inbound inquires is key. Great companies also realize that to get big fish, they need to have a targeted outbound or account-based strategy. In this episode, Fes Askari talks about his work as a strategic consultant helping organizations set up and optimize full funnel strategic sales.
Fes Askari is the head of inbound sales at Strategic IC, and they focus on a full-funnel approach around inbound leads and account based marketing. They work at an international level with clients in enterprise technology, professional services and pharmaceutical sector.
The Communication Context Builds Your Conversations
The key challenge that both sales and marketing teams are running into right now is that they need a context behind their conversations with customers, told us Fes.
“Traditionally, at particularly the enterprise level, sales teams are very used to talking about their brand, product or service. But when it comes to inbound marketing, and inbound sales, it has to be much more about the buyer. It has to be about their challenges, and aligning your solutions to their pain points,” added Fes, in the Playmakers Podcast.
Once sales teams are trained to take advantage of data, insights and the context in which the buyer approaches a company, they can engage in meaningful conversations. To do this, you must be able to respond to a few questions about the leads:
- Where is this lead in the buyer’s journey, in which stage (awareness, consideration, decision)
- What are the right leads to talk to, when to talk to them, which channels are best for communication
- What kind of conversations should you have with your prospects
“Is the lead is in an awareness stage, and they need some more information? Or is more middle of the funnel, and they’re looking for different types of content and tours at that stage? It’s really about shifting the sales process. We are helping sales teams understand the context behind who they’re talking to,” added Fes.
Make the Content About Them, Not About You
Once the context of the communication is understood, sales and marketing teams should focus on improving their messaging. Marketing collateral needs to be about the customer, not about your product or your brand. It should be about how your product solves their problem.
“I think context is one of the key items that should be talked about on a regular basis between sales and marketing. What we find is that sales have really valuable conversations with prospects and customers. You need to pull those conversations into your marketing collateral.”
“The more relevant those conversations are with sales, the more relevant it is going to be for marketing. We need to shift from changing the marketing content from brand and product focus to being about the buyer challenges,” explained Fes.
How to Align Sales and Marketing
To truly understand the issue of context, there needs to be perfect alignment between the sales and marketing teams. And while sometimes these two don’t see eye to eye, it’s worth having common meetings to make sure there are no silos.
“The first level would be education across sales and marketing. So often, we work with clients who, although they’ve got great marketing processes, maybe they don’t really talk to sales that often. They’re siloed teams, and they just need to understand the types of questions that they need to be asking the sales guys to get the most value from the sales conversations, and processes.”
“The flip side is, also, in the sales team they’re not asking marketing for personalized content. They don’t know that that is available to them,” explained Fes.
Understanding Your Customer
Many companies dealing with high volume leads are adopting a lead scoring system to prioritize responses. Without understanding the customer however, lead scoring is redundant, added Fes.
“If you have existing customers, who are the most profitable? Who are the ones that have the best lifetime value, the lowest churn? You should have some prioritization for those profitable customers. If you don’t have existing customers, what is the value proposition you’re taking to market? What is the best fit for those customers?”
Other potentially valuable information are the commercial driver, or their personal motivation for a customer. Are they career hungry right now, or just trying to do more business?
Understanding the personal motivation for your customer can certainly give you a lot in terms of what messages you should send.
Data Driven Sales and Marketing
We asked Fes to give us his number one tip for inbound sales and marketing. Surely enough, his response was to take the time and build your data. Statistics can always tell you what story your customers want to hear.
“The number one tip is to back it up with data. A lot of companies that we talk to, they think that they know their buyer personas. They create very top-level buyer personas. Their gut feeling is, ‘Our buyer personas buy through this channel, and they do X, Y, and Z.’ And I always tell them: ‘Let’s see the data. Show me the data. Show me evidence of what you’re saying here. And if you can’t do it, let’s go and find the data. Let’s figure it out,’” recounts Fes.
Using the power of data and the experience of sales reps and marketers, you can find the winning strategy to reach your goals, concluded Fes.
Listen to the Playmakers Podcast
Listen to the podcast with Fes Akari to learn more about inbound sales and Account-based Marketing. You’ll learn about:
- How to build an ABM Light campaign for lead nurturing
- What are the main challenges of Account Based Marketing and how to overcome them
- What is the one thing that you need to be successful at ABM
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