Account Based Marketing (ABM), Account Based Selling (ABS), and Account Based Everything (ABE) are hot topics these days, particularly in the As-A-Service worlds. There are articles, books, conferences focused on these topics.
Observing the interest around these topics, one begins to think, “They seem to have discovered the hidden secret to sales and marketing success.” In some ways, perhaps they have, but in reality, all of this is based on the same basic principles of all sales and marketing success.
ABM/ABS/ABE principles are pretty simple:
- Identify your target accounts.
- Study and understand them. Understand their business, their customers, markets, competitors, business strategies/drivers, structure, key success metrics.
- Tailor your marketing and sales approaches specifically to the needs and priorities of the account and the individuals in the organization. Make sure these are relevant to them, their business, and what they are trying to achieve.
- Engage them in meaningful discussions about what they are trying to achieve. Perhaps incite them to change. Focus on their goals/objectives and how you can help them achieve those.
There’s a lot of research and work involved in implementing an ABM/ABS/ABE strategy–both from marketing and from sales. And these strategies required sharp focused execution.
But these programs drive huge results and success!
I think the attraction to the As-A-Service world is a result in many companies hitting a brick wall in growing their High Volume/High Velocity marketing and sales approaches. They are no longer working as well as they had, it’s hard to be heard/found in all the noise created by these programs, and it’s very difficult to scale these cost effectively.
But when you look at the basic principles to ABM/ABS/ABE, they look pretty familiar. Perhaps, the language has been updated, there is a veneer of technology to help in implementation and execution. But the principles of ABM/ABS/ABE are the same principles of highly effective sales and marketing in complex B2B environments. These principles have been around for decades!
Most importantly, these principles apply to everything we do in marketing and sales–not just with target accounts.
We’ve always known, great marketing and sales strategies require us to understand and focus on our “Sweet Spot,” the customers that have the problems we are the best in the world at solving. We know when we venture outside that Sweet Spot, our ability to help customers and create differentiated value is significantly reduced. We are probably uncompetitive, wasting our and these prospects’ time.
We’ve always known that we have to know our customers. We have to understand their businesses, markets, customers, competition, business structure, strategies, drivers, goals/objectives/KPIs. Without understanding these we can’t engage them in business relevant discussions about how we might help them more effectively achieve their objectives and grow.
We’ve always known we have to engage our customers in personalized approaches. Marketing programs focused on them and their issues. Sales programs that are personalized to the individuals and organizations. Engagement and discussions that create value in every interaction.
ABM/ABS/ABE is nothing more or less than rock solid, customer focused marketing and selling!
What’s amusing and a little sad is how many think this is new and the next big thing.
I’m a big fan of ABM/ABS/ABE–but perhaps for different reasons than most. If it’s a platform for everyone in marketing and sales to re-discover the fundamental principles of outstanding marketing and sales, then I’m a huge cheerleader for these programs.
But it’s too important to restrict just to select accounts. ABM/ABS/ABE principles need to be at the core of all our marketing and sales approaches.
Account Based Everything applies to everything we do as marketing and sales professionals.
Martin Schmalenbach says
Ah, this got me thinking Dave…
If an account is not a ‘target’ account, is it worth putting live, expensive resources on? Perhaps in some industries it is, but are they the minority, I wonder?
Accounts that are not target accounts perhaps should get some kind of self service/marketing automation offering – we have limited resources, no matter how big we are, and we can’t be everywhere all the time, nor can we be “all things to all men” as the quote goes…
Thanks agin. Now, back to changing the world, just one star fish at a time… 😉
David Brock says
Martin, resurfacing after Boot Camp 😉
We can’t and shouldn’t be investing in every account. Clearly defining our sweet spots focuses us on the accounts/segments where we create the greatest value. Just like ABM/ABS/ABE focuses on named accounts, the Sweet Spot focuses us on accounts/segments where we can be “all things” to them (with some caveats 😉
Love the changing the world comment!