Today, over 80% of B2B organizations report using an ABM model. Account-based marketing (ABM) is no longer the new thing. Account-based strategies cannot stop applying once an account is closed-earned.
B2B marketing and sales professionals are facing many challenges this year, including limited budgets for customers and prospects, as well as eliminating traditional marketing tactics such as events and in-person meetings.
These challenges make personalization – a key principle of ABM – more difficult to execute. And with companies dabbling in digital marketing tactics, it’s almost impossible to steer clear of virtual overkill.
The business landscape has changed and B2B marketers must evolve to generate business income from an ever-changing customer base. Historical ABM practices did not always include existing customers or encourage the importance of ongoing account-based tactics after closing an account.
As part of this evolution, marketers have the opportunity to revamp their ATMs by applying similar approaches across the revenue funnel to create an Account-Based Everything (ABX) model.
Why ABM is not enough on its own
2020 has shown marketers that there is no longer a luxury of using textbooks, standard marketing strategies to engage customers. WDan with less money to spend, customers choose and choose carefully how they use their budget.
If your engagement efforts don’t speak to customers personally, the efforts will be in vain. In fact, 85% of professional buyers said a business experience was just as important as its product or service. More than half of customers (54%) also said companies should expand their 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 purely for marketing only meets a small portion of what customers want as a buyer.
Instead, every department involved in your organization’s customer journey needs to come together and understand the impact their team can have on the customer experience – this is where ABX comes in.
Welcome to the era of everything based on accounts
The move to ABX is a complete change from the responsive and controlled customer acquisition methods associated with your typical account-based marketing strategy. ABX encourages proactivity, adaptability and increased personalization.
And with the right approach, you can effectively transition to ABX and engage decision makers, generate revenue, and drive customer retention.
1) Voluntarily align with the main departments
Before executing an ABX-based strategy, your marketing team should align with the other key departments that make up your organization’s revenue funnel. For most initiatives, the two primary marketing teams that marketing needs to align with for ABX are Sales and Customer Experience (CX) or Customer Services (CS).
Aligning with these teams will establish the goals and audience for your ABX campaign. But to determine what you are trying to accomplish and WHO you are trying to achieve, you need to work with these teams on your campaign’s goal.
For example, are you looking to retain 1-2% of your existing customer base? Or do you intend to generate new business from companies that match the same profile as your mid-level customers?
Determining the goal will help you specify the segmentation of your customer base among prospects and customers that match your ABX initiative. And once these segments are identified, you can use their profiles to create relevant and personalized shopping experiences and set specific goals based on the account for each segment.
It’s also important to note that some of your ABX strategies may extend beyond sales, CX, and CS. Some initiatives may include product and engineering teams to ensure that the needs and wants of your target audience are met at all levels of the customer experience.
It’s also important to take advantage of centralized data and unified pipeline reporting to see what everyone in the funnel is doing to achieve your job.
2) Identify and synchronize tactics
Since your ABX efforts will span audience segments, high-impact tactics like direct mail, e-giveaways, and executive outreach allow more direct contact with prospects and customers. These tactics have also been proven to yield promising results – campaigns that include direct mail are 27% more likely to generate top-notch sales performance.
Once you’ve identified the initial reach, work with your sales and development teams to determine the appropriate follow-up tactics. Outbound tools such as emails, phone calls and direct messages on LinkedIn are an integral part of the ABX approach because they help create a holistic customer experience.
Broad-reach marketing tools like display ads, LinkedIn ads, and content syndication can also augment the high-impact, 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 essential to work with your sales and CX teams on the right timing for outbound follow-up tactics. Leverage the customer engagement knowledge of these teams to perfectly sync your ABX campaign timeline for the most effective results.
So, if you’re sending a personalized mailer to a small group of executives, check with your sales teams on how long the pace between delivery and follow-up is to get the best possible response rate from those prospects.
3) Segment customization efforts
Using ABX includes everyone in your revenue funnel, which means awareness doesn’t always have to start with marketing. Everyone in the funnel should always be on the lookout for potential personalized engagement opportunities.
ABX can offer you three levels of customization depending on your goal:
- One-to-many: A more persistent, but personal outreach tactic, such as sending a Starbucks e-gift card or relevant white paper, or using digital ads and targeted e-mail messages to reach lower level customers (50% lower) in your ABX initiative
- One to a few: Custom SWAG items like t-shirts, sweaters, or treats to reach mid-level customers (mid-30%); works well as a post-webinar engagement now that virtual events have replaced in-person conferences
- One by one: Highly personalized and personalized shipments for top customers (top 20%); effective tactic to use as a “thank you” to customers who will be renewed in the next quarter
Individual personalization should be reserved for high profile clients and one-off, one-off engagement opportunities. So, if your CS team realizes that the unified goal is to engage existing, high-income customers who are ready for their annual contract renewal, they can monitor personalized engagement opportunities in real time.
Let’s say the CS team hears a customer’s dog barking in the background on a conference call. With ABX, they can work with your marketing team and sales to send an Amazon dog toy the next day to create a personalized customer experience.
These types of actions may resonate with your target audience as they consider renewing your business, as 83% of Americans feel positive about receiving packages. Ultimately, ABX allows you to tailor the marketing revenue funnel to any other department on the team while still achieving the campaign goal.
This year will determine whether your organization is moving to ABX or sticking to current ABM silos. By aligning yourself voluntarily, synchronizing the right tactics, and using multi-level personalization, you can leverage ABX to generate real revenue and meet the expectations of today’s customers.