The Account-Based Experience: Find Your Sales, Marketing, & Customer Success Zen

In a mediocre world of B2B, every department works in a silo attempting to reach their own group goals. Sales is trying to close more deals, marketing is trying to create more leads, and customer success is trying to ensure retention. Sometimes there might be a little crossover, but generally, these three teams do not stay in constant contact and work together on target accounts. It’s not the ideal Account-Based Experience for your clients and prospects.

Enter ABX (Account-Based Everything or Account-Based Experience)

The bones of ABX focus on collaboration. Generally, marketing and sales work together to close these accounts and customer success delivers a custom onboarding experience.

“In ABX, marketing, sales, and customer success teams will work together, creating a strategy to provide the best end result while keeping a customer-centric view of their work. This ensures each prospective client is presented with the information they need, rather than having to search for it.” – TechTarget

The process can get highly sophisticated; however, here are a few basic steps to get you started:

Target accountStep 1: Sales & Marketing work together to choose target accounts. These two teams look at the market, company sizes, company needs, and any previous communications. We ensure our product is something our prospect truly needs, and we inform Customer Success so they will be aware of what’s on the horizon.

Step 2: Build a strategy to best inform your prospects. Track and analyze any intent data that will help inform your content strategy. Target and retarget ads through multiple platforms. Serve up the right content at the right time to gain confidence from your prospect as a thought leader.

Step 3: Use a lead scoring model to define positive opportunities and avoid pitfalls. Sales and marketing work together to share knowledge about the prospect and how to move forward with the right content to build trust between the prospect and sales.

Step 4: When we have the closed-won, sales and customer success work closely to educate, inform adoption, and build a relationship with their account manager. Marketing works on a nurture campaign to help with adoption, and we host an educational series to give tips and tricks on our solution.

Listening to the CustomerStep 5: Customer success actively communicates with the customer. They listen to their needs and keep an eye out for any account expansion, upsell, and cross-sell opportunities. Customer Success Managers work closely with Sales to inform them of any opportunities.

You may want to make your own adjustments to this process, and as we said, there can be a few more details. But this will help get you started on your ABX journey. And remember that “account-based selling is a multi-touch, multi-channel strategy coordinated across the entire company to pursue a target number of high-value accounts.” – HubSpot

Account-Based Sales

SalespersonOf the three departments dedicated to ABX, Sales has its own unique goals and processes. While of course, working with the other teams, there are explicit strategies they can practice to support the whole team.

“An account-based model treats every account like a market of one. Instead of one salesperson targeting a single contact within a company, an entire team is dedicated to targeting multiple stakeholders at the prospective customer’s company.” – HubSpot

Our sales team uses the Revegy platform to plot out their communications. Using features such as Relationship Maps and Strategy Maps, sales can identify the proper stakeholders, how positive or negative our relationship is, and strategies that each stakeholder will most relate to.

Recently we asked Seth Marrs, Principal Analyst at Forrester, about his approach to account-based sales: “Buyers no longer engage linearly…. The reality is that marketing, sales, and customer success are all in it together throughout the entire customer lifecycle.”

Account-Based Marketing

Traditional marketing does not work in the B2B world. We aren’t going to interest high-level sales leaders with an ad on Facebook or a sign at the bus stop. ABM needs to be specific, personalized, and make a considerable effort to ensure we are the appropriate solution for the target.

“Instead of starting with marketing channels in an attempt to generate leads, an ABM strategy begins with identifying and targeting best-fit accounts that have the biggest revenue potential for your business… In an ABM program, this marketing outreach is supplemented by personalized, one-to-one sales outreach to the same list of target accounts.” – Terminus

Account-Based Experience TestWe will test efforts to reach a target account through nurture campaigns, target and retargeting ads, releasing the right content for the prospects, creating personalized landing pages, and more. All the while, we will be working hand in hand with Sales to communicate where target accounts are landing in the funnel, which target is showing to be a more qualified lead, and working on getting them all historical data that brought the target in.

Therefore, it is important to track key metrics on your ABX performance. Sangram Vajre, Co-founder of Terminus, has a strong background in Marketing, as exampled by his Terminus platform to help marketers create pipelines. He lays out five key metrics to ensure you make the most out of your sales process.

 

As he lays out, you should be paying close attention to the following:

  1. ARR
  2. Retention
  3. Ensure CSC is observing for cross-sell/upsell
  4. ACV
  5. Where you stand in the marketplace

These items do not always come easy, so leaders from all teams need to check in regularly with their team to ascertain where they stand.

Account-Based Customer Success

It can be argued that Customer Success is the most important part of this process. A happy customer is a long-term customer. At the hopeful point of a closed-won, Customer Success should already be prepared for a transfer. Sales and Marketing should be communicating why the customer came in, what features of the platform they are most excited about, who the stakeholders are, and eventually, the people that will be training their team on the platform. CS should be encouraging adoption and laying out a process that has been successful for other customers.

Jamie Bertasi, President and COO of Totango, has gone through the ranks, working ABX from all angles. She was previously the Chief Customer Officer and worked closely with Marketing and Sales to follow an ABX strategy. You can better understand the value of Customer Success in how she defines ABX. It’s about delivering the optimal value for your particular customer at the right time.

 

If you do not understand your customer, you cannot help them with their pain points. It matters what resources the company has, who the real stakeholders are, and how their processes are currently running. As Bertasi mentions, using technology to document and track these attributes will help all parties stay up to date. Also, in the event of turnover, ensure new parties assigned to the account are prepped and ready to go.

In Conclusion

Sales, Marketing, & Customer SuccessThe most critical part of implementing an ABX strategy is teamwork. Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success must work together from prospecting to targeting to upselling. So, avoid the barfights and come together over a glass of whiskey.

 

 


Interested in learning more? Check out the entire webinar: Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success Walk into a Bar…

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