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Alignment in Account-Based Selling with Jon Miller {Hey Salespeople Podcast}

You may know Jon Miller as the founder of Marketo, but he has since made strides as Engagio’s CEO and Co-Founder.

According to Jon, the relationship between marketing and sales should be less of a lead handoff and more of a soccer game. Jon shares his actionable advice on how to bridge the gap and encourage open communication for selling success.

In this episode, Jon and Jeremey discuss the evolution of account-based selling and how it has changed the way that sales and marketing should work together. 

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Listen here, and keep reading for some of the highlights from this episode below.


Who Should Own the Target Account List?

Jeremey: There is this aspect of someone needs to decide whether or not this is a good account to engage with. Marketing I would presume would actually do that, right?

Jon:  I don’t agree with that, but we will come back to that. 

Jeremey: Someone should decide, but I would like to come back to that.

So someone should decide then you trigger the campaign, the direct mail gets executed, then the other series of touches get executed, and so on.

But let’s circle back to that.. who should own the target account list?

Jon: The best practice I’ve seen is something that I call marketing-driven, but sales owned.

Marketing basically generates a spreadsheet that has all the possible accounts in the territory with all the relevant data about how closely they matched to the ICP.

Then, the sales rep can pick from that list the ones that they think are the best.

Marketing is guiding sales.

Jeremey: We think of marketing as owning the account universe, but marketing defines it and works with sales. Obviously, on the ICP, they source the accounts and they do have the data. Then they tier the accounts. Within those tiers, the salesperson can decide, yes, I will or no, I won’t engage the account.

Where I think the disconnect happens is marketing focuses on a certain set of motions and a certain amount of spend that they’ll do on tier-one or tier-two or tier-three accounts. They’re going to do that no matter what.

Jon: Absolutely. What I would hate to see is marketing is spending money on a tier-one, tier-two, or any kind of target account. Then the sales still would have the discretion to say, “Oh, I’m going to work that or not.”

Jeremey: You taught me something today. We have to fix that problem.

Coaching Reps for Prospecting Success

Jeremey: Let’s say I was a skeptical CRO or CMO for your business, for Engagio. How would you teach me something I didn’t know? What do you coach your reps to position when they engage prospects?

Jon: We aren’t the perfect example, but we try to push the cutting edge of this because of who we are.

We have had some success with industry-specific messaging. We work with, for example, a fairly large number of cloud security vendors. In that case, we’re able to use the success of a number of our customers to talk about the challenges they uniquely faced. How they kind of moved it forward.

Another example of one that we did that was an industry-specific play was around open-sourced companies moving upmarket. There’s a whole pattern of companies there that all have a similar business problem and a similar pain.

A lot of companies struggle with this because what you’re talking about here is something that feels a lot like product or solution marketing. Tying that motion into the account-based selling function is where a lot of the magic happens.

Jeremey: Have you had a good example recently where you were evaluating a purchase, where someone was able to get to you with a valuable industry or business insight?

Jon: High personalization is useful for 250k, 500k deals. For the price points that we sell in, a tactic that we see work extraordinarily well is just combining any direct mail with the sales development function.

Send a package to multiple decision-makers or influencers at the account. One of the things that we send in our package is a printed copy of my book, The Clear and Complete Guide to Account-Based Marketing.

Then we’ll stick posted notes on a couple of the key pages that have information that we think is going to be relevant to that particular persona.

Then you put the cover letter on and say, “Hey, we highlighted these pages for you.”

When the package gets delivered, that triggers the cadence to reach out to those groups of people.

THERE’S A LOT MORE AFTER THIS! Listen to the full podcast for more.


If you have a passion for the art and the science of sales, are looking to further your career, or just want to hear some great, practical tips, ‘Hey Salespeople’ is the podcast for you. Subscribe so you can follow along as Jeremey interviews the brightest minds in modern sales to bring you immediately actionable advice. Listen and subscribe here.

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