Introducing the Account Based Experience approach

How many of you reading this work for a business that has invested heavily (somewhere near six figures) in technology that ‘delivers’ account-based marketing (ABM), or even account-based experience (ABX)? Perhaps your global marketing team, or a team within a specific country, bought into the vision of having integrated data and insights that flow seamlessly through to your campaigns, to improve targeting, increase personalisation and drive-up ROI.

But does that mean you’re doing ABM?

Not quite. Perhaps 6-9 months pass since your investment, and your sales team wonder why sales velocity or the number of high-quality leads have not shifted. Pressure increases on the marketing team to demonstrate ROI, and executives start to wonder whether ABM is all it cracked up to be. The pressure then extends on field marketing teams, who typically carry the sales figure alongside their sales colleagues.

As ABM evolves as a practice and more and more business adopt it, we at Seeblue see this challenge play time and time again across our clients and the businesses that we speak to.

I have an answer for this conundrum. Please don’t get me wrong, I am 100% in favour of using tech to help identify who is actively looking for solutions. I’m also in support of the amazing capability that tech can bring to integrate ad platforms and personalise content at scale. But here’s the key thing, tech is a part of the ABM toolkit, but it’s not all of it.

Lofty expectations versus the limitations of the tech

Technology can be fantastic, but plans go awry when the expectation of what a platform can do doesn’t match reality. Insight without a strategy. Data without a plan. No one piece of software can do everything – and by that I mean:

  1. Drive brand awareness and consideration through ads at top and middle of funnel, and
  2. Create a strategic account execution plan to support bottom of the funnel conversion.

No single piece of technology can also work alongside sales to help them tap into critical motivations with individual buyers. You still need people to initiate that.

What’s the solution, then? Tech platforms are a key part of an ABM toolkit, but don’t represent a true view of everything you will need to develop successful, integrated ABM programmes. To deliver a stronger ROI than your historic marketing activities, and truly unlock the value of ABM, you need to leverage your insights, and make them truly actionable.

So, how DO you deliver an integrated account-based marketing experience?

First, you need the detailed strategy and execution tactics around the ‘who-why-what-how-when’. Knowing this ensures you can deliver a truly account-based experience. Secondly, you need to think not only about net new revenue wins, but also about deepening your understanding of and engagement with your target audiences, and how to build relationships that both enhance your reputation and drive retention.

For example, you could start by asking yourself:

  • How does your strategy need to differ across different sizes and type of accounts?
  • How do you know who in an account is likely to be looking for your services?
  • Have you defined the buying centre and how their needs differ?
  • Do you understand the role they each play in the purchase/decision process?
  • Do you know why  they are looking for you, and what specific problem they are trying to solve?
  • What is the narrative that you want to share, to leverage the best results? And how does this evolve and flow, from campaigns delivered to a wide audience to generate awareness through to targeted sales conversations?

Hello, SeeABX™

SeeABX is Seeblue’s platform and framework for working through these questions. We create an integrated and actionable plan and develop the tools your sales and marketing teams need to best leverage the data and insight.

Buyer intent data and audience analysis provided by tech tools are a critical element of this, as they provide valuable 3rd party insights.

There is more to the data story, however. We combine the 3rd party with your own 1st (CRM, qualitative customer insight and feedback) and 2nd (GA, ad analytics, market research) party data and identify what gives you a competitive edge.

This contextualised insight and research into your strategic accounts helps with both account prioritisation and providing a deeper understanding of their needs. In turn, the messages that will connect with their decision-making team can be determined and developed.

Insights like this can be delivered straight into your CRM and updated quarterly or bi-annually. This gives your sales and marketing teams relevant, specific and current insight to guide more informed and better quality conversations.

Seeblue use this insight to leverage the right channels, dependent on your specific commercial goals and target audience, to engage and connect.

Most often, that includes working hand-in-hand with sales and customer support teams to implement the strategy, and deliver meaningful messaging and playbooks. These form the basis for a consistent narrative that runs across the entire customer journey, from brand & programmatic ad channels through to sales conversations and conversion.

Putting the right tools at your fingertips

An account-based programme can quickly generate a vast amount of content – when you think about the account insight, organograms, messaging plays and content that is created on an account-specific basis.

Through our experience in delivering these programmes – and what it takes to get the right tools into the hands of the people they are designed for – we have developed an open API tool that simply puts all of those materials right into your CRM.

Your sales teams can manage each lead and opportunity exactly as they do now, just with one key difference; all personalised account insights and content will now be available within the relevant account(s).

Recognising that marketing teams have a slightly different need to sales, engagement with the insight and content can be tracked. This provides usage stats that are critical to informing future investments.

So, whether you have already invested in ABM tech and are struggling to demonstrate ROI, or you are investigating how to get an account-based approach off the ground, I’d encourage you to consider the wider picture and ensure that you have built a comprehensive strategy and delivery plan covering top, middle and bottom of funnel.

If you’d like to chat about your ABM, you can get in contact with Helen at hello@see-blue.co.uk

About Seeblue

Seeblue Marketing is a specialist marketing consultancy for tech sector businesses. We are a team of specialists with over 40 years of direct experience driving growth in world-class blue-chip companies. We now apply our knowledge and deep understanding of B2B marketing to working with SME’s and scaling technology businesses.

1417 709 Helen Brown
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