My Account Based Marketing (ABM) clients often question why I invite both Marketing and Business Development teams to participate in strategy development sessions. Based on the name, it sounds like the Marketing team would do the heavy lifting.
I tell them that we need the whole village in order to develop a cohesive experience for a customer or prospect. In fact, many underlying processes and cross-team collaborations must be in place before this can truly have a chance to be as successful as possible.
But I agree: the name Account-Based Marketing doesn’t give that impression.
On LinkedIn, I asked my network if Account-Based Marketing should be renamed. The results were mixed.
So I asked for alternatives, which were … also mixed!
I’ve taken the liberty of summarizing the pros and cons of a name change in this blog. Is there something better we should be calling it? Is ABX (Account-Based Experience) preferred?
- Account-Based Strategy (ABS) – Fits, but we’d have to talk about our ABS all day
- Account-Based Selling (ABS) – Same acronym problem, but it might appeal to BizDev teams more
- Account-Based Experience (ABX) – Demandbase really wants us to adopt this term
- Account-Based Everything (ABX) – Not sure where this originated, but it sounds like the kitchen sink
- Account-Centric Experiences (ACEs) – Right concept, wrong vibe?
- Account-Based Engagement (ABE) – I like this one, because after all… Customer Experience.
Core Concepts to Consider
It might help us to review ABM’s core concepts, which I call the three “TIONs” are… communication, personalization and orchestration.
- Tion #1 – Communication is more than a cliche. It’s about silo-busting. It’s about marketing communicating what they know about account activity and Sales communicating what information accounts need.
- Tion #2 – Personalization is about investing the time and money to speak to key contacts at key accounts in a personal way – addressing their pain points, solving their problems and helping them succeed.
- Tion #3 – Orchestration is about delivering seamless account experiences. Everyone knows their part and script, so accounts get the right message in the right channel at the right time.
I doubt anyone wants to change ABM to “Account-Based TIONs”… but we’d definitely get the top spot in Google 😉
The TION’s are an ideal, but reality looks more disjointed in most organizations. Sales and Marketing have individual strategies for customer engagement. They either deliberately or inadvertently compete with each other for overall impact on revenue. Each tends to value their own customer touchpoints as the most important. But anytime one arm acts without the other, the customer/account experience suffers.
This problem often occurs when organizations haven’t met the full criteria for ABM readiness but think the tech is all they need. As I’ve described before, a focus on tech can prevent companies from focusing on the account experience. To address this problem, I created a checklist for “full” ABM readiness (which you can grab for yourself – it’ll trigger a bot):
Beyond the choices in tools and tactics, ABM requires successfully engaging across the organization to meet account-level needs. That means all contacts need to receive cohesive, coordinated communications. It may seem cliché, but strive for the “right message to the right person at the right time in the right channel.” This cannot happen without great data, planning and coordination.
Let’s Make a Decision
What do you say we stop the madness and let American Building Maintenance have their budget back?
I like “ABE” because it covers the core concepts, but my vote has to go to ABX.
Vendors like 6Sense and Demandbase are starting to put real money to be included in ABX search terms, so it has the best chance of traction as market leaders use it more in their everyday conversations.
Regardless, that dirty “Marketing” word has to be replaced so companies like my clients can engage their Sales teams more readily from the get-go while they adopt this core strategy. Marketing can’t do this alone – a common myth that’s sunk many initiatives!
Thankfully, it seems like Account-Based Experience is gaining traction as a no. 2 option, though the market’s still figuring it out:
What do we say to nay-sayers?
Let me repeat: ABM is NOT just another point solution executed by marketing.
ABM is an account-centric form of demand generation for use in expanding the customer base and cultivating net-new clients. But that’s not just Marketing’s job – it takes the whole village! Marketing may have been on point for customer experience in the past, but now everyone must get on board.
As organizations project the life-time value of key accounts, they are realizing they cannot maximize results by continuing to deliver siloed marketing and sales experiences. Successful organizations see ABX as a methodology for working across silos to satisfy the rapidly changing needs of new and existing key accounts.
ABX is not about business-as-usual with an account focus, it’s about organizing to meet customer needs at every level and every stage.
Join me in going full-on ABX. Want to get more from your strategy? View our consulting service options, we’d love to work with you!
And so long ABM … it’s been nice working with you!