For years, the importance of account-based marketing (ABM) has been beaten into our skulls one blog, tweet, and thought leadership article at a time. Now, b2b companies are using account-based experience (ABX) to take ABM a step further—and for good reason!
Account-based marketing emerged as a way to further leverage personalization in marketing. When we get personal with our marketing, particularly our content, customer stakeholders are 40% more likely to make a buying decision.
We've seen that companies using account-based methods get great results—87% of marketers say it outperforms their other marketing investments. But what if we applied this personalized approach to the entire buyer journey?
Enter account-based experience, a strategy built upon the customer-centric foundations of b2b account-based marketing. Rather than focusing solely on outbound marketing, ABX strategies look inward at the entire customer experience created by your sales, marketing, and customer success teams.
If you’ve already implemented account-based marketing tactics and are enjoying the results, account-based experience is a natural next step. However, because this approach requires cross-departmental collaboration, it’s essential to have the right systems in place to align your teams. Lucky for you, that’s exactly what we will be exploring today.
What Is Account-Based Experience (ABX)?
Account-Based Experience (ABX) is a go-to-market strategy focused on providing exceptional, tailored customer experiences for target accounts. From awareness through to post-sale, ABX seeks to personalize every touchpoint in the B2B buyer journey.
Why is this important? A staggering 95% of B2B buyers are not in-market to buy, and identifying active buyers is crucial for business-to-business sales. ABX leverages data to ensure that you not only engage the right accounts, but effectively move them through the buying process.
Due to this focus on the entire buyer journey, ABX strategies require collaboration between marketing, sales and customer support. Instead of treating these functions as separate entities, a unified approach is adopted to maintain a high level of personalization throughout the buying process.
ABX vs ABM: What’s the Differences?
Account-based marketing (ABM) focuses on identifying high-value target accounts and tailoring marketing campaigns specifically to those accounts. The goal is to attract and engage only the most relevant audience in order to maximize ROI. There is some great account-based marketing software for this.
Similarly, account-based experience (ABX) delivers tailored experiences to target accounts, however, it focuses on the combined efforts of marketing, sales and customer support. One of the primary challenges of account-based marketing is that it requires alignment with sales to have the strongest impact, but this is often not the case. ABX was created in response to this challenge.
ABX aims not only to convert accounts but also to enhance overall customer satisfaction and build lasting relationships. The common thread between ABX and ABM is their focus on accounts that meet your ideal customer profile (ICP).
For example, ABM is like a chef preparing personalized gourmet meals for each friend at a dinner party, catering to their unique tastes. ABX goes beyond that, curating the entire dining experience, including ambiance, decor, and transportation, to ensure each guest's comfort and satisfaction from beginning to end.
ABX vs CX: How Does it Relate?
Account-based experience (ABX) is essentially a specialized branch of the broader concept of customer experience (CX). The key difference is in the customer segments considered by each approach.
Account-Based Experience (ABX) takes the core principles of successful CX, including trust, empathy, and relevance at every stage of the customer journey, and applies them within the context of targeted accounts. CX, on the other hand, considers the collective experiences of all customers, not just a select few.
Why Is ABX Important In B2B Marketing?
Put simply, account-based experience (ABX) prioritizes quality over quantity, and drives better returns as a result. This is thanks to its focus on building strong, long-lasting customer relationships in addition to qualified lead generation.
Businesses that invest in their customer experience are shown to grow revenue 40% faster, while also improving customer retention by 70%. With ABX, you are building on the best of ABM, such as its focus on qualified, high-value accounts, and combining it with the principles of customer experience (CX).
According to insights by strategicabm, 76% of businesses engaged in ABM struggle to align their sales and marketing teams. With ABM, you may succeed in attracting high-value accounts, but if your personalized experience falls apart with sales or customer support, your ROI will suffer.
However, with ABX, collaboration between marketing and sales teams is at the forefront, leading to better alignment, higher conversion rates, and increased revenue. ABX also extends beyond acquisition, and focuses on delivering a personalized experience to entire customer buying committees.
This ensures that every decision maker and department interacting with your business receives the same exceptional experience, leading to improved customer retention and satisfaction.
Core Concepts Of An ABX Strategy
Account-Based Marketing (ABX) isn't your typical demand generation—instead, you’re creating a custom buying journey for specific accounts. This requires unification of your marketing and sales actions, while also leveraging your customer success teams to support customer relationships.
Identify Your Accounts
The first step is to define your ideal accounts, and consider what their pain points, interests and needs are.
Remember, ABX goes beyond targeting high-value accounts—you’re elevating the customer experience for entire buying committees, rather than single stakeholders. This is necessary to deepen relationships and increase customer retention.
For this, you must consider each member of a customer buying team. Then, pinpoint the unifying pain points, challenges, and goals of the buying team.
- Account Selection: Identify high-potential accounts that are a perfect fit for your product or service. Research their pain points, goals, and challenges.
- Define Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs): Work with your sales teams to refine your ICPs, ensuring that marketing and sales are on the same page about the characteristics of a perfect-fit customer.
The next step in your ABX strategy is to build awareness within your target accounts. Instead of casting a wide net, you concentrate your resources on a select group of accounts that align with your ideal customer profile. Here's how to effectively build awareness:
- Multi-Channel Engagement: Use a mix of marketing channels to reach your accounts, including email marketing, social media, and even direct mail for a personal touch.
- Account-Based Advertising: Invest in account-based advertising to ensure your target accounts see your message across various digital marketing platforms.
Use Personalized Experiences
One of the defining features of ABX is its emphasis on personalized experiences for target accounts. This is where the true power of ABX shines:
- Account-Specific Content: Develop content that speaks directly to the challenges and goals of each account. This can include case studies, whitepapers, and webinars tailored to their industry and needs.
- 1:1 Email Marketing: Craft personalized email campaigns that address the recipient by name and speak to their specific pain points.
- Dynamic Website Content: Use website personalization tools to show different content to visitors from your target accounts, ensuring a relevant and engaging experience.
- Personalized Follow-Ups: After an initial interaction, follow up with content or offers that align with the account's previous engagement with your brand.
Collaborate to Close Deals
ABX fosters strong collaboration between marketing and sales teams, aligning efforts to drive conversions. Here's how to ensure seamless collaboration:
- Lead Scoring: Develop a lead scoring system to prioritize accounts based on their engagement and fit with your offerings.
- Regular Communication: Schedule regular meetings to discuss account progress and strategies for moving them through the sales funnel.
- Feedback Loops: Establish feedback mechanisms for sales to provide insights on the quality of leads generated by marketing.
Show Your Appreciation
Appreciating your customers and fostering long-term relationships is a crucial aspect of ABX. Here are ways to show your appreciation:
- Personalized Thank-You Notes: Send personalized thank-you notes or gifts to accounts that have made a purchase or reached a significant milestone in their journey with your company.
- Exclusive Content: Provide exclusive content or offers to loyal customers, demonstrating that you value their business.
- Continuous Engagement: Stay engaged with your customers even after the sale, offering ongoing support, and valuable resources.
- Feedback Collection: Solicit feedback from customers to show that their opinions matter and to identify areas for improvement.
Best Practices To Do ABX Right
Collect Robust Customer Data
Effective ABX relies on data-driven decision-making. Gather comprehensive data about your target accounts, including their pain points, preferences, and past interactions with your brand using digital marketing software designed for this purpose.
Measurement & Optimization
Use key performance indicators (KPIs) to track the success of your ABX efforts. Analyze engagement metrics, conversion rates, and revenue generated from target accounts. Regularly optimize your strategy based on the data.
Align With Sales
Strong alignment between your marketing and sales teams is crucial. Collaboratively define your ideal customer profile (ICP) and establish clear communication channels to share insights and feedback throughout the ABX process.
Utilize the Right Tools
- Demandbase: Demandbase helps marketers identify high-value accounts, personalize experiences, and monitor progress. It also facilitates seamless integration with popular CRM and marketing automation systems, improving data exchange and alignment between teams.
- 6sense: 6sense is a predictive intelligence platform specializing in sales and marketing. It harnesses artificial intelligence (AI) to help businesses pinpoint and engage their ideal customers. 6sense provides a range of ABX-focused features, including account identification, personalized content creation, and engagement analytics.
- Terminus: Terminus is a comprehensive ABX platform designed to assist marketers in identifying and prioritizing target accounts, crafting personalized content and campaigns, and assessing account engagement. With its suite of tools, Terminus streamlines various ABX-related tasks and offers valuable insights for data-informed decision-making.
Ready To Supercharge Your B2B Marketing With ABX?
The journey from traditional marketing to account-based marketing (ABM) has been transformative. However, the evolution doesn't stop there.
Account-based experience (ABX) takes your ABM strategy a step further by focusing on the entire customer journey. As we've seen, ABX isn't just about marketing but involves a holistic approach that integrates marketing, sales, and customer support teams.
It's about creating a tailored and unified experience at every touchpoint in the B2B buyer journey, ensuring that every interaction is personalized and meaningful. By aligning these departments and focusing on customer-centricity, ABX has proven to drive better returns, improved customer satisfaction, and sustainable revenue growth.
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