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Account Based Everything Re-Imagined

by David Brock on September 16th, 2016

I love the emerging focus on Account Based Everything.  The principles of account based sales and marketing are fantastic–actually taking me back to my foundations in selling, where everything we did was account based.

Since the terminology around Account Based Everything changes with every person who talks about it, let me outline what I think it is.

  • An intense focus on the customer, specifically on an account by account basis.
  • Targeting specific accounts/customers based on our ability to solve their problems and the potential we might have with the account over time.
  • Understanding the strategies, markets, business drivers of the account.  Understanding the structure, priorities, key goals/metrics in the account.
  • Developing strategies about how we can create the greatest value for the account and the functions we work with in the account.
  • Tailoring our marketing, messaging, and engagement strategies specifically to the account.  Focusing on their issues, priorities, and the things that are most critical to them.
  • Complimenting that, tailoring our sales coverage, engagement, and strategies to what’s most effective with the account.

I’ll stop here, I’m sure I’ve missed some things, but I think I’ve captured the major ideas.

Account Based Everything is important because it enables us to maximize our share of account (remember, I firmly believe in our God-given right to 100% share of account.).  It enables us to maximize both short and long term potential with the account, making us more important through both the value we create and through strategies that are specific to them.

Usually, Account Based Everything is presented in a contrasting it to everything else we do in sales.  Often, I read things like, “Account Based Everything is different from traditional approaches, because of the specific focus on the account, their priorities, and how we can create value for them.  Traditional marketing an sales approaches are much more general and less focused or specific…..”

Hmmmm…..

This is where I have the disconnect.  It’s not about Account Based Everything, I think it’s very powerful and important in moving forward with our engagement strategies.  It’s just that, shouldn’t we be doing the same thing in all our marketing and sales approaches?

The tools and technologies enable us to be very specific and very focused and very personalized in each interaction with our customers.  So why are the principles of Account Based Everything so new and important?

We have the capability of segmenting 100% of our customers and prospects in very rich ways.   By industry, by markets they serve, by positioning in the markets, by general strategies/priorities, by solution fit, by past business/relationships, by persona, and many other ways.  We can focus our communications and messaging in very specific ways to whatever set of groups we want.

We can personalize those messages to an individual, in a certain role, in a certain type of company, in a certain type of industry, serving certain markets, facing these problems…….

But it’s taken the emergence of Account Based Everything to get marketing and sales people to recognize and start executing this.

What’s kept us and continues to keep us from doing this with all our customers and prospects?

Great consumer product companies have been doing this at an individual level, with millions to tens of millions of people.  Google, Facebook, and many other social platforms have been tailoring our experience on their platforms for some time.  Last night, my wife and I were sitting next to each other, catching up on things in Facebook.  I looked onto her screen, and what she was seeing was very different than what I was seeing.

But for some reason, while we have had the capability of being very focused in how we engage B2B customers for years, we choose not to do so.  Over 70% of email marketing has no or limited targeting.

We spend millions on developing very targeted content, yet when we do our outreach, we send the same messages to everyone.

My issue isn’t Account Based Everything.  It’s fantastic so many have suddenly recognized the importance of focusing on the customer, tailoring our engagement strategies to specific accounts.

My issue is, why aren’t we doing similar things with everyone else?

It seems insane to be investing in tools and technologies that enable us to do some level of tailoring, customization, and personalization with every customer and not be exploiting it.  We know these things are important in engaging our customers, yet we elect not to use the capabilities in platforms we are already paying for.

What am I missing?

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