Sales Management

The Many Benefits of Account-Based Experience (ABX)

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May 21, 2021

5 mins read

The Many Benefits of Account-Based Experience (ABX)

The Many Benefits of Account-Based Experience (ABX)

The benefits of account-based experience (ABX) are clear and well-documented, including:

  1. Zero waste
  2. Much bigger wins
  3. Better close rates
  4. Improved post-sale expansion
  5. Marketing & sales alignment
  6. A better customer experience

So what is ABX?

Account-based experience is a go-to-market strategy that uses data and insights to orchestrate relevant, trusted marketing and sales actions throughout the B2B customer lifecycle.

That’s a packed statement! Let’s break it down:

  • GTM strategy: A fundamental strategy that spans all your go-to-market efforts; not a simple campaign or tactic.
  • Data and insights: Uses research and AI to know when and how to engage, and what to say.
  • Relevant and trusted: Engages business buyers in a trusted way, on their own terms.
  • Marketing and sales: An orchestrated process across marketing and sales (plus sales development, customer success, and any other customer-facing team).
  • B2B customer lifecycle: Touches all aspects of the full customer journey including brand, pipeline, opportunities, and post-sale retention/expansion.

Pull it all together and ABX lets us work with buying teams on their own terms: anonymously when they want, helpful and relevant when they’re ready –– and always based on trust. It’s a much better customer experience and it delivers much better long-term results, including:

1. Zero waste

Focus your time and resources on accounts most likely to drive revenue

ABX is a super-efficient strategy that targets 100 percent of your time, budget, and effort on the named accounts your company decides have the greatest potential.

“ABM aspires to be ‘zero-waste’ marketing. It’s a model that targets only the companies and contacts that are likely to buy your product and that sales has pre-committed to try to close.”
– Joe Chernov, CMO Pendo

2. Much bigger wins

Unspam Your Brand

Big deals build big businesses

ABX consistently drives larger and better deals –– those that tend to stick around longer and become more even valuable over time. And with an account-based strategy, you’re more likely to have buy-in from a wider team, to lock out or constrain competitors, and to reach higher into the account. When ABX wins, it wins big.

In a study released by the ABM Leadership Alliance, companies that implemented account-based strategies saw an increase of 171 percent in their average contract value (ACV).

SiriusDecisions Command Center data shows that 91 percent of respondents say deal size is larger for ABM accounts, and 1 in 4 say it is over 50 percent larger. It also found 30 percent of marketers that worked in an account-based manner reported greater than 100 percent engagement increase with their C-level targets.

3. Better close rates

Increase your win percentage

Because it actively targets all of the buying influencers and decision-makers in an orchestrated way, the systematic discipline of an account-based GTM significantly outperforms the unaligned approaches of the past. The SiriusDecisions “2017 State of Account-Based Marketing Study” found that 91 percent of responders said ABM accounts had a higher close rate, with 2/3 of responders reporting more than 20 percent better close rates.

Organizations report, on average, a 48 percent higher win rate from their account-based efforts, and create opportunities in 21 percent of target accounts. (TOPO)

4. Improved post-sale expansion

Increase the lifetime value of your best accounts

Many companies get more revenue (and revenue growth) from current customers than from new ones. With large deals, it’s all about land and expand. An account-based strategy applied to existing customers delivers smart, personalized account orchestration for a greater share of wallet and higher margin.

84 percent of marketers said ABM offers significant benefits to keeping and expanding existing client relationships. (Alterra Group)

5. Marketing and sales alignment

Tightly integrate your revenue teams

By definition, ABX requires sales and marketing to focus on the same accounts with clear and agreed-upon criteria, sharing information and orchestrating their interactions. Less friction. Better ROI.

Tighter alignment between marketing and sales is the primary value demonstrated from ABM today. (Forrester)

6. A better customer experience

Create the trusted, relevant experience customers demand

ABX focuses on engaging with buyers with the right approach for each account at each point in their journey. And it’s coordinated, with all interactions synchronized across channels so you look like one company with a single, compelling story. Buyers appreciate that.

58 percent of marketers in the ITSMA and ABM Leadership Alliance’s 2017 ABM Benchmark Study said that ABM plays a major role in making their entire company more customer-centric.

“Rising customer expectations are the most disruptive trend in business today. Companies that differentiate their customer relationships on the basis of account-specific insights and responsiveness raise customer expectations and create competitive advantage.”– IDC

“ABM delivers the highest Return on Investment of any B2B marketing strategy or tactic. Period.”

Maturity matters!

The most experienced ABM programs are much more likely to drive significant improvement in key measures of ABM success.

As reported in ITSMA and ABM Leadership Alliance’s 2020 ABM Benchmark Study, respondents with mature ABM programs were more likely to report that significant improvements of their performance metrics could be attributed to their account-based program. For things like branding, pipeline, relationship coverage, and revenue, 42 to 52 percent of the most experienced respondents reported improvement compared to just 9 to 20 percent for all other respondents.

In other words, invest in your ABX program for your long-term goals. But don’t get intimidated.

Ready to implement ABX?

There’s no rule that says you need to practice only an account-based approach or only traditional demand generation. Instead, think of it as a spectrum. On one end are companies selling only to the Fortune 100. The vast majority of their efforts are going to be account-based. On the other end are companies selling into the SMB (small and mid-size business) market. The majority of their efforts are going to be focused on-demand generation.

Most likely, you’re somewhere in the middle, so you’ll want to balance the two strategies. In fact, 64.9% of companies are currently using a mix of account-based and traditional demand generation programs. (Demandbase ABM Outlook Survey 2018)

So if you’ve been living in a lead-based world, adopting an account-based strategy may seem daunting. But just like when starting any new strategy, pursue an incremental approach — think big, but start slow and gradually increase your speed as you gain confidence and experience.

You’re bound to see that ABX will outperform every other growth strategy you’ve had.

Excerpted from Unspam Your Brand: The Definitive Guide to Smarter GTM™ with Account Intelligence and ABM/ABX

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Jon Miller

Former CMO, Demandbase

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