What is Account-Based Experience?
(And Why ABX Matters)

The Next Generation Of ABM — Driving The Performance Of Your B2B Goals

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Account-based experience (ABX) defined

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

It’s a customer-centric rethinking of an account-based go-to-market — one that combines the engageability of inbound marketing with the precision and targeting of account-based marketing.

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Reevaluating the lead — how ABX gets you qualified leads

Traditional GTM processes — and technology — are built around the lead, the individual buyer who progresses along your funnel until becoming a “marketing qualified lead” (MQL), and is then passed like a baton from marketing to sales.

But in every complex B2B deal, there are many buyers involved: the decision-maker, the end user, the influencer, the CFO, the procurement department, and so on.

Gartner and CEB research found the average buying team includes 5.4 people, and larger technology purchases can have 12 or more. There’s a reason why it’s called “business-to-business” not “business-to-lead.”

Most B2B companies today recognize that we’re not marketing and selling to a lead. We’re marketing and selling to an account.

And that’s why so many companies have adopted an account-based marketing (ABM) approach.

Salespeople never talk about how many leads they’ve closed. They talk about how many accounts they’ve closed.

This is where ABX comes in

Sales has always used an account-based approach. And with the rise of ABM, the marketing team started to get onboard.

But, by its very nature, traditional ABM focused on identifying valuable accounts and attempting to engage them, regardless of whether the time was right or if they were interested in hearing from you at all.

And that’s exactly the kind of customer experience buyers hate.

This is where account-based experience (ABX) comes in. It’s all about engaging business buyers with relevant messages, delivered in a trusted way, on their own terms.

ABX is a fundamental, customer-centric rethinking of how companies go-to-market. It combines the engageability of inbound marketing with the precision and targeting of account-based marketing, rooted in an intense focus on the customer at every stage of the buying journey, using intelligent insights to know when and how to engage and what to say to each account.

ABX defined. In under 2 minutes.

5 reasons why account-based experience matters

ABX doesn’t invalidate your current ABM or lead-based strategies. It makes them stronger — by adding the critical principles of customer experience (CX). This infographic lays out the key reasons why B2B marketers should evolve their go-to-market with ABX. The time is now!

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5 Reasons Why ABX Matters

In a way, ABX is a specific discipline within customer experience (CX). CX has been all the rage, and for good reason.

The impression your customers have of your brand as they move through the buyer journey is the key driver of revenue, retention, and satisfaction. Businesses that invest in creating great experiences grow revenue 40% faster, improve retention by 70%, and increase customer lifetime value 1.6x more than other companies.

Account-based experience takes the same principles of good CX — trust, empathy, and relevance at every stage of the journey — and applies them to the account-based world.

In fact, one of the fundamental principles of ABX is recognizing that our buyers live in a world of information abundance and attention scarcity, making any form of interruption marketing ineffective. Instead, companies need to build trust with potential buyers, identify the “magic moments” when customers are open to engaging, and then orchestrate the perfect interactions across sales, marketing, and customer success teams.

The end of account-based marketing?

Account-based experience doesn’t invalidate account-based marketing. In many ways, ABX simply takes the best practices that have emerged around ABM and added the critical concept of customer experience. Regardless of what you call it, an account-based go-to-market is simply the right way to approach B2B.

end of abm?

The implications of attention scarcity

To say that modern buyers are overwhelmed with information is a cliché. And yet, it remains more true today than ever before.

Buyers are deluged with content
Waving the “content is king” banner, B2B companies have deluged our poor buyers with even more information: blogs, ebooks, webinars, product reviews, videos, emails, phone calls, and so on. Companies fight with each other to get the buyer’s attention, and so the battle escalates. The result is a “tragedy of the commons” – when everyone tries to get the customer’s attention, the customer gets a terrible experience, and nobody wins.

Buyers are harder to reach than ever
They don’t want to be marketed to. They don’t want to feel sold to. And they will let you know by opting-out, tuning-out, and tossing-out any unwanted interruptions. They’ll do everything they can to stay anonymous and avoid forms since they know it’ll just lead to unwanted emails and phone calls.

Buyers do their research before they talk to sales
It’s no longer news that buyers want to do their research anonymously before talking to sales. But the key change is that 10 years ago the vast majority of the research happened on our own websites, so we could observe the behavior. Today, buyers that want to avoid being emailed or called are doing more of their research on third-party websites — which is hidden to traditional marketing automation scoring.

Buyers spend less time with suppliers and more with each other
Gartner research finds that B2B buyers spend only 17% of the buying process meeting with potential vendors1 — which gets shared across multiple vendors, meaning each one may only get 5% or 6%. In contrast, they spend almost a quarter of the time meeting with other members of the buying committee.

Aligning experiences to the account journey

All this puts B2B companies into a remarkable quandary. On one hand, we want to respect our buyers and not interrupt them with unwanted outreach. On the other, prospects are conducting much of their buying journey on their own, online, anonymously.

If we wait for the prospect to fill out a “contact me” form, we’ve waited too long. The prospect has learned a lot, formed opinions, and may have a preferred vendor (likely not you) in mind. Or worse, a competitor closes the deal before you even have a chance to engage. Ouch!

Account-based experience resolves this dilemma by aligning your go-to-market efforts to the account journey. With ABX, you know where the account is in its decision process and create the right experience each step of the way.

Is a qualified account aware of your category but not engaged with you? Build awareness and trust in your brand, leveraging social proof and avoiding anything salesy or aggressive. Account-based advertising can play a big role here.

Is an account engaging with you, but not yet showing buying intent? Nurture your budding relationship with thought leadership that educates and reinforces your brand value, ideally helping them to identify solution criteria and prioritize trade-offs.

Marketing qualified account
Is an account showing signs of being in-market? This is the “magic moment” when sales should reach out to multiple personas in a deeply relevant and helpful manner, supported by marketing air cover (personalized content, ads, direct mail, trials, etc.).

Already engaging with your sales team? Help the account complete the B2B buying job with tools to compare vendors, validate their thinking, and build consensus with the broader committee. Third-party validation like case studies, reviews, and analyst reports work well here. Marketing is uniquely qualified to engage the broader committee in a scalable way, including account-based advertising.

Now’s the time to deepen your relationship by showing your appreciation and offering how-to or best practice content, driving adoption and helping the account see additional opportunities to use your solutions.

Account-based experience = Modern marketing

ABX lets us work with modern buyers on their own terms, anonymously when they want that, helpful and relevant when they are ready, and always based on trust. It’s a much better customer experience, and it delivers way better long-term results.

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Account-based experience: The next generation of ABM

You keep evolving as a marketer. Your go-to-market strategy should too! Take a seat and watch a virtual introduction to account-based experience, the next generation of ABM.

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