PHOTO: Johannes Krupinski | spray out
If you’ve been into account-based marketing (ABM) for some time, you know you need to target the right accounts and personalize your reach. But even the best ABM practitioners unwittingly make mistakes that can alienate their buyers. They do not consider the customer experience (CX) in the ABM process.
If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. The account-based experience offers a better way. Simply put, Account-based Experience (ABX) takes the best of CX principles and applies them to the account-based world. It’s a go-to-market strategy that offers the best of ABM and CX, making it the best for you and your buyers. Here’s why the time – and how – to transition from casual alienation to attraction and engagement.
Marketing outreach, through the eyes of the buyer
To say that today’s shoppers are inundated with information is an astronomical understatement. They’re emailing, promoting, and receiving content at alarming rates whether they like it or not. B2B marketers and sellers have relied largely on interruptions to break the noise and get their buyers’ attention. This could be a cold call, email, a booth, or any other form of contact meant to get her out of the satiation of others vying for her attention.
Does it work anyway? No. It escalates the problem. Today more than ever, buyers are switching off and attach great importance to who gets their attention and when. They are also increasingly spending time doing their own research before ever speaking to a seller, mostly on third-party websites. Case in point: Gartner reports that sales reps spend approximately 5% of a customer’s time during their B2B purchase.
So let’s summarize. Buyers spend less time talking to sellers, they spend more time doing their own research outside of our sites (where we can’t really see what they’re doing) and, oh yes, they don’t want to be marketed or sold. Then how exactly do we market and sell them? And should we?
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Increase in the confidence quotient
The answer is yes, we still need to market and sell our solutions and get them into the hands of the right buyers because our products are designed to add value. However, before you begin marketing and selling to your target accounts, you need to understand ABX. In other words, your go-to-market really needs to be tailored to the journey of your account.
With ABX, you know where each account is in the buying process so you can create the right experience for them every step of the way. Start with thought leadership and education to build trust early on and lay a strong foundation. Then use intent data and analysis to find out when accounts are out in the market and actually interested in hearing from you. From then on, it’s up to you to respect this by only contacting them at this point. This further builds confidence because it shows that you care about their time and need more than your own.
Related Article: 5 Lesser Known Ways to Use Intent Data in ABM
Beyond the sale
Once you make a sale, your ABX strategy is far from complete. Your customer experience is also vital after purchasing your listings as you need to keep serving and targeting them in order to keep them as a buyer. Continue to identify opportunities to engage them at the right time and add value.
Of course, as in the earlier phases, data play a major role here. The deep account insights gained through your ABX program will help ensure that your interactions with your customers are relevant and useful. This is the key to keeping them long-term.
ABX is all about the customer experience. That’s why it’s never all about you, your business, your sales tactics, or your marketing efforts. Instead, it’s a data-driven, intelligent orchestration of all of these things so that buyers can have the best experience possible – now and in the future.
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Jon Miller is Demandbase’s Chief Product Officer. In his role, Miller is responsible for delivering Demandbase’s product vision to excite customers and fulfill his mission to transform the way B2B companies go to market.