In recent years, Account-Based Marketing (ABM) has, no doubt, become the coolest acronym in B2B marketing — and with good reason. B2B companies should only invest time, budget, and people on accounts they can sell to and ignore everyone else. It makes sense. And that is what ABM is all about, and why the B2B world has embraced it. But if you’re looking to up your cool factor and your B2B game, then get to know a new acronym, one that speaks to the next evolution of ABM, it’s called ABX and stands for Account-Based Experience.
First-generation ABM efforts didn’t deliver what Sales teams needed: hot accounts they could contact to drive revenue right now. Fortunately, there’s another way with ABX. And it’s as simple as A-B-C.
Here are my quick thoughts on the subject:
It’s not a daunting task. If you currently apply an account-based approach, chances are, you are already at least dabbling in ABX in your B2B marketing; you just haven’t formalised it on paper. ABX is a customer-centric go-to-market approach that takes into consideration the entire account buying cycle (not just the prospect’s path to purchase, but also the customer’s deeper loyalty) with brand experiences that delight — not deluge — your audience.
And that’s the key: It’s about creating — what our CMO, Jon Miller, calls — the magic moments in marketing. (When you get a moment, check out “Part 1: Why Account-Based Experience,” of Jon’s book, The Clear & Complete Guide to Account-Based Experience for more on the subject. I find it hugely compelling.)
We often hear that an account-based go-to-market such as it is (that delights the audience with content they want when they want) can only be reserved for a handful of target accounts. That reaching any more than that with personalised experiences is beyond the scope of ABX. I find this notion incredibly frustrating.
Let’s be clear: Magic moments are what everyone in your B2B revenue team wants for every account, not just for a handful.
Surely, if you are a large enough company with deep enough pockets and sufficient resources and time, you can indeed build a campaign or orchestrated play that’s personalised for a specific company. Perhaps you can even hire a consultancy to build it for you. You will no doubt get great results, and the salesperson looking after that account will be extremely satisfied and sing the praises of your Marketing team to anyone in earshot.
Does ABX extend past your top-tier prospects? If not, then are we really saying that as long as five accounts feel special, then it doesn’t matter if everyone else gets a generic, irrelevant brand experience? (I wouldn’t like to be the salesperson trying to sell to those companies, nor indeed, the contact on that side of the exchange. And I definitely wouldn’t want to be the marketer attempting to justify a massive budget on just a handful of target accounts.)
Chances are, if you can focus your go-to-market strategy on the one-to-one accounts, then you probably have hundreds, or maybe thousands more, good-fit accounts that can benefit from account-based plays as well.
Granted, you are unlikely to go as deep and personal as you would for the handful of strategic accounts. But if you could personalise by industry, size, region, or another type of characteristic, whenever you interacted with them, the effect on your opportunity pipeline would be impressive. And if you harness technology that allows you to scale with minimal resources and time, then, well, you might have a full choir of Sales and Marketing team members harmoniously singing a sweet song of success.
Here is Leanne Chescoe, my colleague in Marketing, who some additional insight:
Let’s put an emphatic full stop at the end of this sentence: ABX is a go-to-market strategy all B2B revenue teams should utilize for all target accounts, not just one or two.
From the demand generation marketer to the sales development representative — we’re all in it together. Reaching accounts at the right moment with the right messaging is an act that takes the orchestrated collaboration of everyone on the revenue team.
“With Orchestration, you run a proactive and coordinated series of personalised interactions, some automated and some human, that span the entire customer journey. Think of the marketer as an orchestra conductor. Each individual tactic is like an instrument (strings, percussion, brass, etc.), and it’s the job of the orchestra conductor to make sure they all work in harmony.” – Jon Miller, The Clear & Complete Guide to Account-Based Experience
In our webinar series, B2B Sales and Marketing, as Easy as ABX, we share how key roles on your team can apply the principles of ABX in a straightforward way that’s as easy as A-B-C. Taking place between July 15 and August 12, I’ll be hosting four role-based, 30-minute sessions with my colleague Leanne Chescoe, Senior Manager of Marketing. I hope you can catch them!
We cover how each of the Sales and Marketing roles below can apply ABX to their jobs, as follows:
Find which accounts are in-market, where they are on their buying journey, and what activities drive their engagement.
Unify data from Salesforce, marketing automation, and third-party sources to create a “single pane of glass” for your revenue team, for a more coordinated effort across channels.
Know which accounts are visiting your website or viewing your ads and what content is most interesting to them so you can prioritise outreach and personalise your messaging.
Find accounts that are in-market for your solution, and rank where your accounts are in their buying journey, prioritising them by their likelihood of becoming an opportunity within the next 30 days.
Don’t miss B2B Sales and Marketing, as Easy as ABX, for tips and insights on how to use Account-Based Experience to your advantage.