Marketing Ops people typically are the unsung heros of their marketing organizations. They may not always be up on stage talking about the latest product announcement, or even tweeting about the latest press release on social media, but the company’s marketing engine wouldn’t be able to run without them. In fact, sometimes they’re tasked with so many projects that they wouldn’t be able to stay above water if they didn’t have hacks that increase their productivity.
One of these hacks carries more weight than others, however, and is essential to the success of all B2B marketing and sales organizations. Why? Because CRM systems haven’t adapted well to marketing and sales’s practice of selling to accounts and not leads. And it’s not new news…clients have been asking for this feature for years – just check out this thread.
The truth is that leads that exist in the CRM double as people and accounts and this throws off more than just your modeling. To solve for this problem, you need lead to account matching, or L2A. In a typical CRM setup, you have leads that are created that are not associated with any account.
With L2A, you are essentially building a tunnel to an existing account, so that you inherit fields from the account such as ADR Owner, Account Owner, Firmographic fields, etc. Here’s a diagram on how L2A typically works:
Now that we know how it works, let’s explore the reasons why it’s important. Here are the 4 reasons why modern marketing ops pros have learned that lead to account matching is essential to the success of their jobs.
Simplify Lead Routing
Whether marketing ops or sales ops is in charge of lead routing at your org, this can be a very challenging process, especially at larger organizations. Typically, accounts are segmented by geographical location, vertical or just round-robined between account executives. At some companies, each account executive is paired up with a sales development rep, while at other companies, the sales development reps are round-robined their own set of accounts, uncorrelated with AE ownership.
The problem with this approach in a lead-based world is that dirty data and/or improperly configured rules can cause your accounts to be routed to the wrong SDR or AE, and even worse, the SDR doesn’t realize that an AE has an open opportunity with an account and intrudes on a sensitive deal cycle.
This can all go away with L2A because leads are matched with one single account and inherit all the attributes of the accounts. That means you only have to keep the data clean in one place, and you’ll never have to worry about routing the lead to the wrong SDR or AE. You’ll also have much more transparency into exactly what’s going on at the account because all the communication and campaign information should be centralized at the account.
Streamline Website Forms
The example here is a real webinar form that I came across today. We’ve all seen forms like this. Studies show that each additional form field drops conversion by up to 10%. Now we all know that having good information is essential for SDRs to follow up with people successfully, but do you really need the prospect to fill out 9 fields just to watch a webinar? Of course not.
With lead-to-account matching, you could easily shrink this form down by 3 fields and get rid of country, state and zip code. You’d already have this information available to you via the matched account.
Build Familiarity at Key Accounts
People buy from people. If you can’t send customized emails to all of your prospects, the next best thing is to nurture them with content that is relevant to them. Marketo, Eloqua, Hubspot and a few others were all born on this premise.
Take it a bit further and you can make the argument that emails sent to your potential buyers on behalf of your sales development and account executive teams increase recall and make it easier for them to engage with buyers down the line. Problem with this is, it’s easier said than done and many marketing operations pros struggle with operationalizing this inside of their marketing automation. A main reason it’s so hard is because lead owners are disparate and not clean to begin with, causing the experience on prospects to be disjointed and seemingly a circus. One day, you get an email from one SDR, the next day, you get an email from an AE, the next day another SDR and even throw in a customer success leader in there for good measure. It’s not a good look.
But luckily, L2A matching eliminates this issue by centralizing everything at the account. Now all your prospects at one company will receive emails from the same SDR or AE of your liking. Call it magic or call it common sense.
Understand Engagement at the Account Level
By now, we’ve all heard of lead scoring in some way shape or form. If you haven’t, lead scoring is the practice of scoring individual leads to rank them on their propensity to buy. Typically, you look at characteristics such as company industry & size (firmographic), job title (demographic) and behaviors people have taken (I’m oversimplifying).
The problem with lead scoring is that everything is done at the lead level. At a recent CEB Summit, research was released that the modern B2B buying group now averages 6.8 people per team, up from 5.4. That’s a lot of leads to treat separately in your CRM. Without proper data at the account, this can be a challenge.
Because buying teams are getting bigger and bigger, it’s becoming harder and harder to do lead-based marketing for all the reasons mentioned in this article. You need to streamline things at the account level, so in order to see the full picture, it’s important to see engagement at a zoomed-out account view. See everyone who’s interacting, how they’re spending time and what they’re engaging with. Then reach out.
So there you have it. Marketing ops pros sure have it hard, but we owe it to ourselves to make our lives a bit easier with technology. Less time spent on worrying about making sure data quality is clean and routing leads to the right folks == more time spent chasing the accounts we really care about!