Marketing / Strategy

ABM NOW HAS THE AB(X) FACTOR

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Since the turn of the millennia, Account-based marketing (ABM) has been the go to option for B2B marketers looking to drive their pipeline results and revenue.

But recently, a new kid (ABX) has arrived on the block, and is adding a whole new world of possibilities to consumer marketing.

But before we dive in, it is worth taking a moment to clearly understand what each one is and what it does.

WHAT IS ABM? (Account-Based Marketing):

In the bad old days, businesses/accounts used to be treated with a one size fits all mentality, regardless of their individual needs and differences.

But then, someone had the bright idea of treating each account as though they were unique. Which, of course, they were.

Suddenly businesses found themselves the beneficiaries of targeted, personalised campaigns aimed solely at them.

They began to feel loved, appreciated and understood in a way they had never experienced before.

Unsurprisingly, ABM quickly became a huge hit with clients and marketers alike, and it is still hugely successful and much utilised to this day.

WHAT IS ABX? (Account-based Experience):

ABX is essentially a spin-off of ABM, but taken a stage further. In essence, the strategy is to place a premium on the customer experience and relationship instead of just focusing on simple profits.

ABX uses data and insights to orchestrate relevant, trusted marketing and sales actions throughout the B2B customer journey.

Basically, it’s a customer-centric rethink of ABM — Combining the engageability of inbound marketing with the precision and targeting of account-based marketing.

Over time, and through each engagement, this approach builds a layer of trust and brand loyalty to create a more beneficial long term connection.

In essence, the customer begins to regard the brand as a friend, and consequently begins to make decisions with their heart as well as their head.

When done right, ABX will not just give you any old customer, but those that are loyal and in it for the long haul.

SO, WHICH ONE SHOULD I BE USING?

Well, as is often the case in marketing, there is no absolute wrong or right answer. ABM is an effective tool, but it has one severe limitation.

The clue is right there in the name. Account-based marketing.

ABM refers to marketing, sales and account management coordinating to grow customers at an account (or company) level, as opposed to at the level of the individual consumer.

This approach works well at a marketing level, but tends to fall down when it comes to customer experience. It is too top level to focus on individual requirements or specifications.

Whether we like it or not, the marketing landscape has been changed, perhaps irrevocably, by Covid 19.

The biggest fallout of this is that buyers are no longer prepared to be hassled and chivvied into making a purchase.

Instead, they prefer to research the products and services they need at their leisure, not really engaging with the vendor until they have established trust in the brand.

With this being the case, the time is right to combine the precision and targeting of ABM with the respect for the buyer experience inherent in traditional inbound marketing.

Which brings us nicely back to ABX.

By focusing on the customer experience, as opposed to just sales, and by integrating marketing, sales and customer care into one consolidated approach, ABX creates a more authentic and premium experience for the consumer. And ultimately, of course, leads to a much higher brand loyalty and increased purchase.

“ABX is like the secret sauce, the accelerant, the catalyst that helps you generate more revenue faster and easier than ever from your ABM program.”

The ABM agency

So, to answer the original question, it is not really a case of choosing one over the other. Instead, think of ABX as an upgrade of ABM, (a version 2.0) which takes all the strengths and insights of account-based marketing and adds a customer-centric approach into the mix to deliver the ultimate personalised experience.

HOW DO I IMPLEMENT ABX INTO MY STRATEGY?

So, now you understand that the goalposts have moved, and that customer experience is the new currency, how do you go about incorporating ABX into your marketing strategy?

Simple. Just keep reading. We’ve compiled a handy checklist to help you transition easily from ABM to ABX.

Build your account data foundation

Put simply, this means get everything in one place. All your campaigns, leads, contacts, activities and even third-party data.

Once you have all this information at your fingertips, you will then be able to get a clear picture of your account, including the nature of the industry, its opportunity areas, and any issues that need addressing.

These insights will help you maximise engagement and relevance within your accounts.

Develop buyer persona insights

Remember, it’s customers who decide to purchase your products and services, not accounts. And that’s why it’s imperative that you build a buyer persona.

List all their preferences, goals, priorities, interests and challenges, and previous experiences. This information will help you customise each buyer’s message at specific stages of their journey.

Create customised content

You’ve got all the insights in one place. Now it’s time to put that information to good use.

Offer your customers exceptional and personalised experiences through building content and targeted messages at different touch points.

To be effective, your content must be unique and relevant to the individuals you are seeking to engage with. That is why the ABX framework calls for content that is rooted in actual customer and competitive data and insights.

Once you do this, you will be able to successfully merge marketing, sales, and customer services and present a consolidated marketing approach at every touchpoint.

Keep your accounts hooked with unique and relevant interactions

If you want to maintain a constant interaction with your buyers, then you need to be relevant. Use information (from your account data foundation) that will resonate with your clients and their individual wants and needs.

Along with the right information, it is also important that you choose the right medium. You want to drop your truth bombs at a place where your consumer is at their most receptive.

To this end, decide if you want to use event outreaches, emails, SDR outbound, or any other suitable channel. This could even include digital advertising and website personalization for specific products and services.

Align with sales

For any account-based strategy to work, marketing and sales must put aside their customary divide (yes, it is possible) and work together to create content that is relevant, resonant and valuable.

The reason for this is a simple one. Marketing cannot develop the content strategy without having the full picture. And to have a full picture, they need to incorporate sales insights into market movements to inform their content strategy .

Put your heads together and agree on the key aspects of the ABX strategy: What accounts are you going to target? What are the value propositions? How will you communicate with different departments and roles in the decision-making process?

Measure your account-based program

The bottom line here is quality, not quantity. Are you engaging with the right people on the right accounts?

To find out, you can start by tracking web visits. Set a baseline for your web traffic and see if implementing ABX causes it to increase. If it does, then dig deeper and see what channels, territories, segments, personas etc are generating the most engagement.

Alternatively, you can incorporate the four V metrics into your ABX strategy.

  • Value – How many accounts do you have in each stage?
  • Volume – How many accounts are moving from one stage to the next in a given month/quarter?
  • ConVersion – What’s the conversion rate from stage to stage?
  • Velocity – How fast are those accounts moving through the journey?

A FEW DON’TS

Don’t treat ABX as the cure for all your problems.

Evolving from ABM to ABX is not as simple as changing the name of your strategy. The transformation requires fundamental changes that you must implement across your organisation in order to ensure success.

Don’t let your messaging become fragmented.

In order for your ABX strategy to work effectively, it is essential that the same message is being put out across every touchpoint. If your sales rep has one message and your marketing has a completely different one, then you are not going to target the consumer in an effective and consistent way.

Don’t misunderstand your technology stack

If you are going to incorporate ABX in your B2B business, then you first need to make sure that your current technology stack is up to the task and aligning with your goals. ABX is not a plug-and-play situation strategy. You will need perfect synergy between technology and your objectives in order to successfully implement ABX.

AB X-CELLENCE:

Account-based experience lets you work with the modern consumer on their own terms. It is not about pushing products and services on them. Rather it is about being in the background, being helpful and relevant where required, and above all, being honest and trustworthy.

By doing this, you will deliver a far superior customer experience and, in return, get much better long-term results for your business.

Want to find out more about ABX? Then contact Pounce today, and get the benefits of our years of AB Xperience.

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