How to upgrade from ABM to account-based everything

1. December 2020

30-second summary:

  • Account-based marketing (ABM) has been an excellent strategy for creating more personalized marketing efforts, but it’s time to move beyond this to create more cohesion across teams. Departments across a business should all be aligned on the customer journey.
  • Account-based everything (ABX) ditches the siloed approach and helps align departments, identify and sync tactics, and segment personalization efforts.
  • ABX opens internal communication lines between departments to ensure consistency when interacting with a customer and make for a more personalized connection at every touchpoint, regardless of the team members involved.

Account-based marketing (ABM) isn’t the new kid on the block anymore. Today, over 80% of B2B organizations say they use an ABM model.

Then, 2020 happened — and ABM is no longer enough by itself. Account-based strategies can’t stop once an account is closed-won.

B2B marketing and sales professionals are facing many challenges this year, including limited customer and prospect budgets, as well as the elimination of traditional marketing tactics like in-person events and meetings.

These challenges make personalization — a key tenet of ABM — more difficult to execute. And with companies going all in on digital marketing tactics, it’s almost impossible to stand out from the virtual overkill.

The business landscape has changed and B2B marketers must evolve to drive business revenue from a changing customer base. Historic ABM practices didn’t always include existing customers or encourage the importance of continual account-based tactics after an account is closed-won.

Within this evolution, marketers have the opportunity to retool their ABM by applying similar approaches to the entire revenue funnel to create an account-based everything model (ABX).

Why ABM is no longer enough on its own

2020 has shown marketers that there’s no more luxury of using textbook, standard marketing strategies to engage customers. WDan’ith less money to spend, customers are carefully picking and choosing how they use their budget.

If your engagement efforts don’t speak to customers personally, efforts will fall short. In fact, 85% of business buyers said the experience a company provides is just as important as its product or service. More than half of customers (54%) also indicated that companies should expand customer engagement methods in response to the pandemic.

Customer expectations are at an all time high and it’s up to your organization to rework its playbook to meet those expectations. Using account-based tactics solely for marketing is only addressing a small fraction of what customers are looking for as a buyer.

Instead, every relevant department in your organization’s customer journey needs to come together and understand the impact their team can have on the customer experience — which is where ABX comes in.

Welcome to the account-based everything era

Shifting to ABX is a complete change from the reactive, controlled customer acquisition methods associated with your typical account-based marketing strategy. ABX encourages proactivity, adaptability, and heightened personalization.

And with the right approach, you can effectively switch to ABX and engage decision-makers, generate revenue, and drive customer retention as a result. 

1) Align with key departments on purpose

Before executing an ABX-based strategy, your marketing team must align with other key departments that make up your organization’s revenue funnel. For most initiatives, the two main teams marketing should align with for ABX are sales and customer experience (CX) or client services (CS).

Aligning with these teams will establish the goals and audience for your ABX campaign. But to determine what you’re trying to accomplish and who you are trying to reach, you must work with these teams on your campaign’s purpose.

For example, are you looking to drive retention of the top one to two percent of your existing customer base? Or are you aiming to drive new business from companies that fit the same profile of your middle-tier customers?

Determining purpose will help specify your customer segmentation of which prospects and customers fit your ABX initiative. And once those segments are identified, you can use their profiles to create relevant, personalized buyer experiences and set specific account-based goals for each segment.

It’s also important to note that some of your ABX strategies may stretch beyond sales, CX, and CS. Some initiatives may include the product and engineering teams to ensure your target audience’s needs and desires are met on truly every level of the customer experience.

It’s also important to leverage centralized data and unified pipeline reporting to see what everyone in the funnel is doing to work towards your goal. So, if your objective is to increase customer retention by 10% each quarter, consistently hold meetings with relevant teams to assess what’s working, what isn’t, and what needs to be adjusted for relevant outreach and follow ups.

 2) Identify and sync tactics

Given that your ABX efforts will cater to audience segments, high-impact tactics like direct mail, e-gifts and executive outreach allow for more direct contact with prospects and customers. These tactics are also proven to yield promising results — campaigns including direct mail are 27% more likely to deliver top-ranking sales performance.

Once you identify the initial outreach, work with your sales and development teams to determine the appropriate follow-up tactics. Outbound tools such as email, phone calls, and direct messages on LinkedIn are integral parts of the ABX approach, as they help build a holistic customer experience.

Broad reach marketing tools like display ads, LinkedIn ads, and content syndication can also augment the high impact and outbound tools used in your ABX campaign to unify messaging. In fact, one study found that businesses achieved 40% conversion rates when direct mail and digital tactics were combined.

It’s also critical to work with your sales and CX teams on the proper timing for outbound follow-up tactics. Leverage these teams’ customer engagement knowledge to sync the timing of your ABX campaign perfectly for the most effective results.

So, if you send out a customized mailer to a select group of executives, consult your sales teams on how long the cadence should be from delivery to follow up to achieve the best possible response rate from those prospects.

3) Segment personalization efforts

The use of ABX includes everyone in your revenue funnel, which means outreach doesn’t always need to begin with marketing. Everyone in the funnel should always be on the lookout for potential personalized engagement opportunities.

There are three different levels of personalization ABX can provide based off your goal:

  • One-to-many: A more evergreen, yet personal, outreach tactic like sending a Starbucks e-gift card or relevant white paper, or using targeted digital ads and email messages to reach lower-tier customers (bottom 50%) in your ABX initiative
  • One-to-few: Customized SWAG items like t-shirts, sweaters or sweet treats to reach mid-tier customers (middle 30%); works well as a post-webinar engagement now that virtual events have replaced in-person conferences
  • One-to-one: Highly customized and personalized sends for top-tier customers (top 20%); effective tactic to use as a “thank you” to customers up for renewals in the next quarter

One-to-one personalization should be reserved for high tier customers and timely, unique engagement opportunities. So if your CS team is aware that the unified goal is to engage existing high revenue clients that are up for their yearly contract renewal, they can watch for real-time personalized engagement opportunities.

Let’s say the CS team hears a customer’s dog barking in the background on a conference call. Through ABX, they can work with your marketing team and the sales department on sending a dog toy from Amazon the next day to create a personalized experience for the customer.

These kinds of actions can resonate with your target audience as they consider the renewal of your business, since 83% of Americans feel positively about receiving packages. In the end, ABX enables you to adapt the revenue funnel from marketing to any other team department while still achieving the campaign’s purpose.

This year will determine whether your organization pivots to ABX or sticks with the current siloed methods of ABM. By aligning on purpose, syncing the right tactics and using multi-level personalization, you can leverage ABX to generate real revenue and meet the expectations of today’s customers.

The post How to upgrade from ABM to account-based everything appeared first on ClickZ.

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