May 2, 2022
Seth Hutchings, VP, B2B Practice & Strategy
Make the sales experience where it counts.
For most companies, it’s often just one account that makes the difference between a profitable, smooth running operation and an organization breaking even. These ‘golden customers’ or ‘blue chip accounts’ bring in so much profit that a company can get by just by keeping them happy. However, finding such lucrative accounts and converting them into a paying customer is not always easy. They often have complicated buying processes, multiple checks and balances to satisfy, and can scrutinize who they do business with based on their value.
Historically, businesses have used account-based marketing to land these accounts - but in recent years there has been an evolution of the concept towards Account-based Experiences. In this blog, we’ll explore this concept in more detail and offer you six steps to get started.
Before we get into how to do it, it helps to have an idea of how account-based marketing compares to account-based experiences. While both target specific high-value accounts rather than wide-range appeal, their approaches are very different.
Enabling account-based experiences is a long-term marketing operational strategy involving prospects, sales, partners and customer marketing. Just like account-based marketing, you will be focused on increasing relationships, boosting lifetime value of customers and ultimately, your overall revenue. However, account-based experiences takes it a step further, integrating your entire business revenue operations to facilitate a connected, personalized experience for each account you target.
Account-based Marketing involve:
Account-based Experiences involve:
Now that you have a basic understanding of account-based experiences, it’s time to implement it for your own business. We’ve distilled the process into 5 easy steps so that no matter your industry, enterprise size or customers, you have a game plan.
STEP ONE - KNOW YOUR GOALS
Before offering any account-based experiences, you need to know which direction you want to head in. During the first step, you have to identify what you want your business to achieve.
Some elements to consider here include researching different accounts who hold the same qualities as your ideal target market. Take a look at your current customers and see what they have in common, then look out for larger businesses that have those same core elements. An ideal place to start would be social networks like LinkedIn. Social media has the unique advantage of not only identifying the companies you want to target, but also the decision-makers in that company. This, in turn, helps in finding accounts that have qualities that drive the most value for your organization.
STEP TWO - INVOLVE THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Once you have identified your goal and your ideal accounts, you want to align your organization to catering for that account - from marketing and sales to support and account management. A large part of doing this effectively is using proper segmentation and prioritization techniques, helping you speak to specific pain points of large groups.
Another aspect of step two is to set out roles within your teams for attracting, acquiring and nurturing specific accounts. Each department plays a role in each step. For example, while sales may do the primary function of acquiring a client, the other departments will support them with activities such as onboarding and post-sales support. This is to enable connected, seamless experiences for the specific accounts you want to target.
STEP THREE - MAXIMIZE WHAT YOU HAVE ALREADY
Just because you’re trying a new form of marketing doesn’t mean you have to throw out what you already have. Assess what tools, technology and people you currently have and incorporate them into your new approach.
Marketing automation is great for general marketing and inbound marketing, but it also excels at account-based experiences. Personalization capabilities and lead scoring give you definite advantages when trying to engage with your audience. Not only can you reference specific actions, but you will always know how invested a particular lead is in your business - which is extremely useful for offering a connected experience through the customer journey.
You can also tweak content to speak to unique pain points of the accounts you’re targeting rather than their original, widespread style. A lot of this will involve messaging and content frameworks, experience ecosystem mapping, and campaign planning. While it may sound like a lot, ultimately it will result in a higher success rate for the accounts that matter.
STEP FOUR - EXPAND WHERE AND WHEN NECESSARY
After assessing what you already have, you may find that you lack the resources, technology, people or processes to fully capitalize on account-based experiences. This is where operational assessments come in. Through training and education, you can upskill your team so that they can contribute to your success and evolve from account-based marketing to enabling account-based experiences. With process engineering, you can optimize your approach for more efficient and targeted methods, further strengthening your relationship with the most valuable accounts.
STEP FIVE - OPTIMIZE AND ADJUST
By now, you should be able to offer account-based experiences - but the work doesn’t end here. You have to constantly monitor, evaluate and adjust your account-based experiences as the accounts you’re targeting evolve and change. A big part of this is ensuring you have the right data science and analytics at your disposal. These include detailed reporting and insights into the actions your prospects take and their changing needs as well as measuring how effective your own actions are. If you are able to attribute positive and negative outcomes to your actions, you can do more of what works, more often.
By taking these five steps into consideration you can adjust your marketing to focus on getting the highest value accounts for your business. However, there is a lot more to account-based experiences than the first five steps.
If you want to learn the more in-depth strategies and tactics of account-based experiences, reach out to us today!