If you’ve been practicing account-based marketing (ABM) for some time, you’re well aware of the need to target the right accounts and get personalized with your outreach. But even the best ABM practitioners are unwittingly making mistakes that can alienate their buyers. Namely, they’re not factoring customer experience (CX) into the ABM process.
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Account-based experience provides a better way. In the simplest terms possible, account-based experience (ABX) takes the best CX principles and applies them to the account-based world. It’s a go-to-market strategy that has the best of ABM and CX, making it best for you and for your buyers. Here’s why it’s time — and how — to move from accidental alienation to attracting and engaging.
Marketing Outreach, Through the Buyer’s Eyes
To say buyers today are inundated with information is an astronomical understatement. They’re emailed, advertised to and given content at alarmingly high rates, whether they want it or not. B2B marketers and sellers have largely relied on interruption to break through the noise and get their buyers’ attention. This could be a cold call, email, tradeshow booth, or any other form of outreach that’s intended to jolt them out of the saturation of others vying for their attention.
Does it work, though? No. It escalates the problem. Buyers today are tuning out more than ever before and being incredibly intentional about who gets their attention, and when. They’re also increasingly spending time conducting their own research prior to ever talking with a salesperson, doing so primarily on third-party websites. Case in point: Gartner reports that sales reps have around 5% of a customer’s time during their B2B buying journey.
So, let’s recap. Buyers spend less time talking with vendors, more time doing their own research off our websites (where we can’t really see what they’re doing) and, oh yeah, they don’t want to be marketed to or sold to. How exactly then do we market and sell to them? And should we?
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Upping the Trust Quotient
The answer is yes, we still need to market and sell our solutions and get them in the hands of the right buyers, because our products were built to deliver value. But before you go marketing and selling to your target accounts, you need to understand ABX. In other words, your go-to-market needs to truly align with the account journey.
With ABX, you know where each account is in its buying process, so you can create the right experience for them each step of the way. Start by using thought leadership and education to build trust early on, and lay a strong foundation. Then, use intent data and analytics to find out when accounts are in-market and actually interested in hearing from you. From there, it’s up to you to respect that by only contacting them at that point. This continues to deepen trust because it shows you care about their time and needs more than your own.
Related Article: 5 Lesser-Known Ways to Use Intent Data in ABM
Beyond the Sale
Once you do get a sale, your ABX strategy is far from complete. Your customer experience is still critical once they’ve purchased your offerings, because you need to continue to serve and engage them in order to keep them as a buyer. Continue to identify opportunities to engage them at the right time, and deliver value.
Of course, data plays a big role here, as it does throughout the earlier stages. The deep account insights you developed through your ABX program will help you make sure your interactions with your customers are relevant and useful. This is the key to keeping them engaged over the long term.
ABX is all about the customer experience. Which is why it never once becomes all about you, your company, your sales tactics or your marketing efforts. Instead, it’s a data-driven, intelligent orchestration of all of these things so buyers can have the best possible experience — now and in the future.
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Jon Miller is the Chief Product Officer of Demandbase. In his role, Miller is responsible for delivering Demandbase’s product vision to delight customers and fulfill its mission of transforming how B2B companies go-to-market.