Account-based experience, or ABX, marketing is an end-to-end B2B service strategy that focuses on synchronizing all aspects of a B2B customer experience: from marketing, to sales, to customer service. A consistent, high-quality B2B service tailored to each business is the ultimate goal of ABX marketing.
Similar to its predecessor known as ABM (account-based marketing), the idea is simple: each B2B buyer is unique, and a best-in-class buyer experience may look slightly different for each of them. Therefore, a tailored B2B customer experience, or ABX, is the optimal way to target your most important buyers and ensure they’re continuing to receive great service from every branch of your organization.
This targeted, tailored approach is also the best way to eliminate accountability shortfalls within your own organization and build up a great customer service culture.
If you’re interested in adopting an ABX strategy for your business-to-business operations and aren’t sure where to begin, today’s guide will break down the key information you need to help you get started.
From ABM to ABX Marketing
ABM was a revolutionary idea in its own right. The insight that each buyer is unique was not a new one, but the idea that your business should go out of its way to show different faces to different buyers was. It’s a simple but powerful idea: tailor your marketing specifically to the buyers you want more of, and then tailor it even more specifically for individual companies.
The Next Phase of Great Customer Service
ABX is the natural evolution of this: instead of just marketing, why not cater the sales and customer service experience to this individual company as well?
From a customer standpoint, there is nothing worse than the service level dropping off once you’ve given the business your money. ABX seeks to remedy this common problem by directing all available resources within the marketing, sales, and service departments toward delivering consistent, high-quality interactions.
Targeting Your Best Customers
You know who your best accounts are: the companies who buy your most expensive products, have worked with you for years, and have a good working relationship with their point of contact. ABX is a holistic strategy that doesn’t just focus on attaining new great customers but on keeping the ones you already have.
Customer retention is more valuable than acquiring new customers because it’s easier and leads to increased spending from those customers. A solid ABX protocol across all departments of your business will help you target your best accounts and ensure they are always properly managed.
The ABX Cycle
Another interesting way to conceive of ABX is as a customer experience cycle.
B2B buyers learn about you and your products via targeted, engaging marketing that speaks to the needs of their business. Then, a friendly and knowledgeable sales team guides them to the best product and prepares to hand them off to the customer service team. Finally, great customer service after the sale can be seen as a form of marketing. It leads to re-orders and word of mouth that begins the cycle again.
To summarize, marketing opportunities become sales opportunities, which become customer service opportunities, which become marketing opportunities again. Recognizing this cycle is key to harnessing it for your B2B buyer experience optimization.
How to Begin Implementing ABX Marketing
The process of implementing ABX at your company should be handled slowly. It’s a difficult process with many potential pitfalls. The move will require some careful planning and a willingness to fail, so don’t launch the program on too many accounts at once. Remember to hold departments accountable: leadership from all relevant teams should be present when the strategy is formulated, and the initial strategy meeting should be comprehensive with plenty of time for questions and concerns.
Get Started One Step at a Time
Start the program with a small selection of accounts that will be your beta testers. We recommend calling your initial efforts a beta, or soft-launch, or some other term that will make it clear that this is a new process for which mistakes must be expected.
You’ll need to give some breathing room for your departments will figure the new process out, while remaining involved enough to mold the program from the top-down. It’s a delicate process and one that is best managed from multiple angles. Stay in touch with your team leaders regularly, especially those who will be interacting with your B2B customers.
Plan for Shifting Accountabilities
Accountability will be in flux, especially at the beginning of your switch. This means departments that used to handle certain tasks for customers will no longer be responsible for them, and customer experience could easily be impacted if their usual buying flow is disrupted.
Empower Your Best People
Mitigate the problem of disruption by empowering one customer experience manager who will be responsible for smoothing the transition of a particular account, especially for your most valuable customers who may not be happy about any service disruptions.
This person should be up to date on all communications between you and your customers and be gathering information about where desyncs are happening along with suggestions on how to fix them. They are your eyes and ears on the account, so choose someone you trust who knows the ABX plan and the account inside and out. The feedback they generate and receive from your clients will be some of your most important data.
Use a B2B Buyer Experience Platform like Hushly
The path to ABX is clear but fraught with pitfalls and added stress that may make you wonder if the risk is worth undertaking.
At Hushly, we know that world-class ABX is the way of the future, and we are willing and able to help you execute your vision for what that future should look like. We have a proven track record of success in helping companies in diverse industries transfer to ABX to replace their old disjointed sales, marketing, and service strategies.
From tools like self-nurturing content marketing pages which make marketing and sales seamless to account-based microsites, which help you track important clients, Hushly has products that will make your ABX transition easier and more rewarding.
Leverage ABX Marketing Today
Whether or not you call it ABX or choose to implement it for your B2B operations immediately or wait a while longer, sooner or later it will become the standard. A bad experience could lose you a customer forever, but it’s also true that consistently excellent service is the key to loyalty.
The more businesses improve at targeting buyer needs with ABX, the more B2B customers are going to expect this level of engagement as a matter of course. Falling short of this standard will one day be the equivalent of a bad online ordering interface or unreachable customer service – deal breakers for most buyers.
Hushly can make your ABX transition simple with our suite of B2B buyer software. Request a personalized demo.