It’s not just marketing that is embracing an account-based approach. It’s everything.
ABX (account-based everything) will soon cease to be a buzzword because it’s just become the norm.
We had a chance to talk with Emma Acton, Vice President Global Field Marketing at TIBCO, about implementing an ABX approach.
Emma’s focus at TIBCO is to shift from account-based marketing to account-based everything. In ABX, Marketing still takes the lead on account-based initiatives, but it acts with an objective of getting a greater involvement from other parts of the business.
“We have to think about not just what marketing is doing and how we market at an account-based level but what we want to achieve from that,” Emma said.
The ABX approach is about all of the customer-facing organizations having a set of roles and responsibilities that are ultimately driving to deliver customer excellence.
What account-based means
Many of us have probably done a little bit of account-based targeting by looking at the named account list with our sales counterparts.
But it goes beyond that now. ABX speaks to how marketing works with the rest of the organization, too.
“It’s about ensuring that everyone who is working with our customers and our prospects is really driving to deliver value to them along that customer journey,” Emma said.
This involves not operating in silos, for one. “The Account-based everything approach is about all of the customer-facing organizations having a set of roles and responsibilities that are often interconnected — but are ultimately driving to deliver customer excellence,” Emma said.
- What is the account-based marketing approach?
- What is the account-based sales approach?
- What is the account-based value approach?
- What is the account-based partner approach?
- What is the account-based customer success approach?
“ABX means making sure that all of the different interaction points that we will have with the customer flow and are almost seamless for that customer,” she said.
Emma views ABX as a business strategy rather than an individual campaign or program, which involves creating a strategy and framework so that everyone is clear on roles and responsibilities toward the customer.
Elements of an ABX approach
Emma explains that the segmentation of accounts in ABX is still the same as in ABM, but in ABX it means unity across departments when deploying different tactics to those different segments.
This is the part where you market to a number of identified accounts with a very personalized approach. This could involve a personalized landing page, specific content as part of the sales cycle, dedicated digital campaigns and activities, etc.
“Typically, it’s a higher cost and more effort from the team, but ultimately it does pay back in terms of pipeline in those accounts,” Emma said.
1-to-few is about identifying a set of accounts in a given industry, region, or use case and marketing to them, using multiple tactics, with messages that resonate for that vertical, or business challenge. It could be a campaign to target the top 10 insurance accounts in the UK or the top 20 manufacturers in Mexico, for instance. Tactics can include very targeted digital campaigns, events, outbound business development outreach etc.
The final piece is more of a traditional account-based marketing approach because it’s realized through technology. You target a broad set of accounts using a lot of digital channels. “We’ll be using a leveraging technology to reach a hundred or a thousand different accounts with some programmatic advertising,” Emma said.
“One of the things that we’re seeing is the average deal size is increasing through our account based marketing activity,” Emma said.
How to measure ABX
At some point, marketing has to translate the value of ABX back to management.
Emma suggests that the team decides whether the appropriate tactics are top, middle, or bottom of the ABX triangle model based on what makes the most sense for an account. Then, based on KPIs they’ve used in the past for those tactics, they can set a goal that might relate to conversion ratios, engaged leads, web visits — whatever is appropriate to that account.
“What we’ve actually seen from that perspective is that account-based marketing does deliver higher pipeline and revenue and typically higher conversions than we see in our standard campaigns,” she said. “Which is not to say standard campaigns are performing poorly, just that ABX is doing even better.”
“We are able to track all of that data and those inputs so that we can report on it. We use our own analytics tool, so I can pull up the results that we’re seeing from those different tactics,” Emma said.
What tactics that are appropriate for the program is, in turn, dependent on the account itself.
In other words, for a successful ABX approach, you need to speak your customer’s language. “That helps us to decide on the account-based activities.”
The ultimate goal of doing more ABX is increasing the customer focus.
“Customers need to be at the center of an organization’s business,” Emma said. “We want to have stronger, deeper, more trusted relationships with our customers through this ABX approach.”
We want to have stronger, deeper, more trusted relationships with our customers through this ABX approach.