There are people who see B2B marketing as one of the most boring fields in the world of business. They reduce it to this grinding existence where you try to convince an experienced decision-maker that your product/service is a fraction better than your competitor's product/service at a price that is a fraction more affordable.
B2B marketing is not at all boring. It is a challenging field where you deal with people who know their stuff and who are passionate about their industry. You might even say that B2B marketing separates wannabe marketers from the pros who are ready to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.
Over the last 15-odd years, it has been made even more challenging and interesting thanks to a little thing called account-based marketing; a type of B2B marketing that everyone is excited about, but which very few companies do the right way.
Today, we will be saying a few things about account-based marketing and, since this is the Amity blog, about why and how customer success teams should get involved in ABM.
Account-Based Marketing 101 (Exercise in Hypothetic)
Account-based marketing (ABM) or key account marketing is an approach to B2B marketing where a company; either with the help of an outside partner or resorting to its in-house marketing team; uses its resources to target only the biggest potential or existing accounts as opposed to an entire market.
Perhaps the easiest way to explain ABM is with an example. Let's imagine a company that developed a piece of software that can be used by remote maintenance teams. Now, instead of marketing their new product to anyone who listens, the company learns that the Province of Ontario (or a huge corporation of some kind) is looking for a new partner who would provide their public works teams with new software and also maintain the system.
We are talking about an account that would be worth tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars and that would last for ten years or so. In essence, this single account would keep this company up and running for years to come.
Something like this happened in 2003 and it was actually an account worth US $2 billion.
Of course, this is a gross oversimplification of account-based marketing and there are many more nuances to it. For instance, some companies that employ ABM target a number of potential accounts and many of them use ABM to upsell their products or services, getting more revenue from their biggest customers.
But, you get the picture.
Collaborative Nature of ABM
One of the main traits of account-based marketing is that it encourages more collaboration than the more traditional B2B marketing. There are a number of reasons as to why this is the case. For one, instead of an established buyer's persona, ABM targets specific decision-makers that will require personalized marketing messages.
In most cases, marketing people will not be able to deliver these highly personalized messages themselves and they will need the help of other departments. For example, if they are targeting a CIO of a certain company, the developers or the IT people from their own company will have to lend a helping hand. Sometimes these will be people from the finances department or even from HR. Most often, these will be salespeople who will work in unison with the ABM team.
Is there a place for the customer success team, perhaps?
Where Customer Success People Come In
By now, you probably expect us to say that there is definitely a place for the customer success team in an ABM practice and we will not disappoint you. In fact, if a company boasts a customer success team or at least a person who does it, they simply must be involved in any and all account-based marketing that this company does.
For one, the customer success team knows more about how the customers use the product or the service that the company provides. They have spent innumerable hours talking about the product with the customers, fielding their questions and suggestions, and getting to know how people approach the product/service. In short, they know how customers use the product/service to achieve success and in account-based marketing, it is all about this.
Account-based marketing is about convincing a customer that they will be more successful using your product or service than they would be using any other.
People from the customer success team are also in contact with different people from the same client company which can be of huge importance for ABM accounts where decisions are made by a number of people. In such situations, customer success people will know who needs what and how to best approach individual decision-makers.
Finally, when it comes to using ABM to upsell, there is no one that can be as helpful as the customer success team. They will know the account better than anyone, plain and simple. They will know the target company inside out and they will be of invaluable help to the marketing people.
In short, if your company has a customer success team and you plan on incorporating account-based marketing as part of your marketing practice, it would be pure madness not to have these two departments working together.
About the Author
James D. Burbank has spent years in the trade show industry, seeing how businesses from all over the world engage with their customers. He is currently the Editor-in-chief at BizzMarkBlog.Follow on Twitter More Content by James Burbank