There is turbulence in the B2B marketing horizon. According to a CMO study conducted by Gartner, 72% of CMOs are finding more success in customer acquisition than retention; with 3.1% year-over-year increase in customer acquisition versus only a 1.9% increase in customer retention. The same study is also anticipating that customer retention will continue to decline over the next few years (Marketing Charts).
Even though B2B companies have always tried to focus on retaining their existing customers, their operating model is obviously not working. All efforts for customer growth remain manually handled by the sales department, and specifically by account managers that are dedicated and measured on new transactions instead of reinforcing the relationship with the customer and empowering their purchase decisions.
This model no longer works as it no longer reflects today's reality. We live in a world where 74% of B2B business buyers conduct more than half of their research online before they want to hear from a sales person.
We no longer just go online from time to time, we are living online. Our decision journeys are now digital ones, our expectation now is for brands to communicate with us digitally, and build a relationship with us online.
So why haven’t companies adopted and changed to this new reality yet? Why is still digital marketing used for top funnel objectives (e.g. brand awareness), while the rest of the funnel is handled manually by sales?
To bridge this structural gap between marketing and sales, Vertic developed an account-based marketing (ABM) framework that allows marketing to take over a bigger part of the sales funnel. When done properly, with a customer centric view, companies are seeing a 74% improvement in their customer relationships, and 36% higher customer retention rates.
The ABM framework is designed to put marketing in the driving seat and provide customers with an automated yet individualized experience; four simple steps that put reinforcement and empowerment of the existing customer at center.
You can’t talk to everyone at the same time, so where does the real opportunity lie for your business. Selecting your target accounts based on opportunity to cross sell/ upsell, while keeping in mind current revenue is key to get the most out of your account-based marketing program.
Back to marketing basics – know your audience. In order to do this right in an ABM context, you need to map their progression journey with your company; what have they purchased till date, and according to their business needs and goals, what would make sense for them to buy next, making sure it compliments and validates their first purchase as well. This assessment will inform your content strategy for the ABM program.
One thing to keep in mind, is that these accounts are your existing customers, so they expect a red-carpet experience. Everything needs to be about them, which is where individualization comes in. An individualized experience goes far beyond just having the account name on the landing environment, but it controls the type of experience they are entering based on where they are in their decision journey. This is dictated by personalization parameters:
Once the target account gives permission to be contacted and converts, they are directly routed to your CRM system to start their nurturing journey to maturation. Having the same philosophy of individualization in your nurturing strategy will mature your lead throughout the journey, and thus eventually bring down your cost per opportunity.
Account-based marketing in context of creating a Share of Life™ with the customer is no longer a marketing program, but its the beginning of digitizing the sales funnel contributing to both commercial and operational excellence.
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