Traditional account sales is an important, but expensive approach to market. Traditional marketing programs are not account-centric and often fail to deliver the needed impact at the account level. Targeting strategic accounts requires that marketing and sales work in partnership to orchestrate effective account-based marketing and selling. Yet, customizing an approach to a specific account can be costly.
A strategy you can employ to keep costs down is “mass customization” – a leveraged approach across multiple accounts that uses standardized, more modular capabilities that can be customized and configured for the account strategy.
The mass customization framework applies to the account-based marketing (ABM) challenge. Consider the 2×2 below. The top right quadrant is where mass customization fits in – there is sensitivity about the cost of acquisition along with a need for personalization.
Most B2B organizations live primarily in the top left quadrant – traditional account sales. While account sales remains a predominant go-to-market approach, account based marketing offers the opportunity to further leverage your resources and re-focus marketing activities on specific strategic accounts while also leveraging your life-cycle content, campaign processes and technology.
Mass Customization and Account Based Marketing
Account-based marketing requires a different approach than a traditional inbound marketing. Account-based marketing is less about traditional lead generation. It uses content similar to inbound marketing, but content is tailored to accounts and personalized at the persona level and individual contact. Measurements are different, including a focus is on account-level awareness, coverage and engagement. Finally, the need for customization is much higher with ABM and highly tailored for each account. A different set of technologies are used for account-based marketing vs. traditional inbound marketing.
So, what are some of the elements that can be “mass customized”?
- The technology stack can be leveraged across each account, but more work is needed to tie in CRM and build account-level contacts
- Account strategies and best practices can be leveraged and re-purposed from one account program to another
- Campaign processes can be used from account to account
- Content can be modularized and leveraged across campaigns.
Content offers one of the biggest areas of leverage using mass customization. Content can be modularized and digital and enabled for sales. This helps you deliver both a core content foundation together with elements that are tailored for each account. The tailored messaging you use will be driven by the account plan. These include identifying what to sell at each account based on the account whitespace as well as what messaging is needed for each account to respond to the “CEO agenda”. While an account orchestration approach can be shared, each account will require 1:1 engagement and customized coordination across marketing and sales, including account and lead nurture programs.
To help organize and ABM campaign, we developed an infographic that describes the 8 steps of an account-based marketing plan. Download the Infographic.
1. Set Goals and Align Marketing and Sales
- Form “Sales Pack”
- Agree ABM Metrics
2. Select Accounts and map the white space
- Define Your Ideal Client Profile
- Understand the “CEO Agenda”
3. Define Account Personas
- Understand Buyer Roles
- Define Buyer Characteristics
4. Create Persuasive Messaging and the Top Down Story
- Map content to personas
- Answer the three levels of why
5. Build the Database to identify account level prospects
- Enhance your customer profiles
- Align contacts with team members
6. Design a Campaign Architecture and map the Content and Media Mix
- Identify paid, owned and earned media mix
- Define the conversion funnels
7. Launch Campaigns
- Follow the Closed Loop Marketing Architecture
- Leverage your technology stack
8. Orchestrate Account Engagement
- Coordinate the marketing and sales ‘pack’
- Build “wine glass” relationships.
Use the infographic to guide your next ABM campaign and consider the areas that offer the greatest potential leverage across accounts by pursuing a mass customization approach.