In the business-to-business (B2B) marketing world, account-based marketing is the talk of the town. Platforms are popping up, orchestration, services, agencies — it has officially permeated the landscape. But, is ABM really all that new? Does it replace everything else? Or, is it another tool in the toolbox?
At this point, I think it is safe to say that ABM is here to stay, but the strategy, tactics and channels you embrace can be as unique as a snowflake.
What I want to focus on is that ABM is not always about adding new accounts. It can also be pointed inward, capitalizing on existing accounts and increasing share of wallet for customers you have already won.
While this is not transferable to every industry and vertical, think about it this way: “If I make $500,000 from company X when having four contacts, what if I had eight buying contacts?” By expanding your footprint in an existing customer site, you not only insulate yourself from customer loss due to contact attrition, but you also expand your reach into the overall spending capacity at a current buying site.
I feel like marketers are so often focused on answering to the C-suite and sales about adding new “logos,” we forget that it is much cheaper to maintain than to add a new customer. Turn the power of ABM inward and market to existing customer sites utilizing the same personas, but at existing customer locations.
In addition, using language in your marketing collateral that indicates and optimizes the fact that you are already an approved vendor goes a long way in getting buy-in from those new contacts. Large enterprises are known for their complex vendor onboarding processes, and often, buyers are reluctant to take on a new vendor because the approval timing can exceed their needs timing. Highlighting your approved vendor status can expedite the path to new sales.
By using this simple paradigm shift, you can still use all your cool tools crammed into your tech stack, and you can drive revenues, increase share of wallet and maybe even retire early. (OK, that last one’s a stretch, but you get the point.) This is not going to replace the never-ending quest for the next new customer, but it is a tactic that’s overlooked by many enterprises.
I recently worked with a client who wanted to reinvest in their existing business and conducted a year-long pilot on this concept. At the end of the year, my customer came to me and said he presented the results to his board that morning and it was a big hit. “Well, how did we do?” I asked. “Not bad. For every dollar we spent last year, we got $80 in return,” he replied. I thought that sounded amazing and asked him if he knew any investment opportunities with the same return rate.
While it is not a slam dunk that these results will translate to every company and product line, they just might transfer to yours. Testing is always at the forefront of learning, so make sure you are testing new contact acquisition at existing customer sites in your marketing mix.
ABM is officially cemented in the B2B marketing landscape, but there is not just one way to deploy this principle. Remember that there could be gold sitting in your customer relationship manager, but you may need to mine for it. Sometimes, the best path to new revenue streams is to look inward.
Look inward, my ABM friends!
SVP, Data, Digital + OmniChannel Solutions