ABM has been widely adopted by B2B professionals because it’s been proven to have a higher ROI than any other marketing strategy. And many of the organizations who have added an ABM function in the last handful of years are focused on new business. However, ABM supports a broad range of strategic business initiatives, including growing business in existing accounts. In other words, ABM is extremely effective when selling to your current customer base.
HBR states, “Acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.”
Other research proves that the likelihood of selling to an existing customer is between 60%-70% compared to 5%-20% chances of closing new business.
When you’re looking to expand existing business (whether it’s upselling or cross-selling), there are certain things that you can do to make getting more out of your customers easier. Here are four things to pay attention to right now.
1 ) Listen to the right data to learn more about your customers.
When companies shift go-to-market models to focus on a defined universe of accounts, they naturally invest more in knowing those accounts so that they can deliver more relevant interactions, thus providing more value. In other words, we have to listen to our customers and look at the data to gain insights.
There are two ways to listen for insights – active and passive.
Active listening is straightforward and what most of us are doing already via calls, QBRs, events, etc. There’s plenty of technology to help record these interactions.
The second type is passive listening, which is paying attention to signals customers send. This includes things like looking at intent data, monitoring account news, 1st party engagement data, and tracking social media activity.
These insights are key in ABM because they’re breadcrumbs that lead you to what your customers care about. This helps you to improve customers’ experiences, since you can then anticipate their needs. Done right, your customer will say “you read my mind,” and there’s no better experience than that.
Post-sale listening is essential for marketing and sales to avoid seeming tone-deaf to a customer’s current experience. For example, reaching out to promote a new product when the current one isn’t working could harm your relationship and your brand in ways that are difficult to repair.
2) Deliver insights to make expansion easy.
When we learn what’s important to our customers, we deliver more relevant interactions — this empowers the customer to get more out of our product, thus making them more successful. And when they’re more successful, there’s a higher likelihood they’ll purchase more.
One way to do this is to make your weekly or monthly check-ins with your account managers (AMs) or customer success managers (CSMs) more relevant. Too often, AMs/CSMs go into calls with their own agenda. Customers lose interest because they aren’t relevant. Then, when it’s time for a renewal, you are left without visibility into new needs, competitive threats or even positive outcomes your customer is seeing.
What if instead the AM/CSM went into each call with insights from listening? What if they were ready to share how that customer is using the product, or how other customers are solving challenges similar to what your client is struggling with, and had recommendations for unused features? That’s a call your customer will look forward to every time. In that scenario, the renewal conversation is easy.
3) Create relevant content by leveraging your team’s insights.
How often does content get created in a silo? Your writer comes up with an idea, then starts to write without getting any input from sales or customer success. Next question – how often have you heard a rep say “I wish we had content on XYZ” when that’s exactly what the last blog post was about?
The point here is that if you want to create relevant content that speaks to specific customer needs, then you have to break down the silos and use listening and insights (tip #1 and #2) to create content.
Content misses the mark when we focus on topics that are too broad, too product-centric or use language that’s filled with jargon. Sometimes thought leadership is too high-level to be actionable. In an account-based model, we create less content, but we focus on the needs of our ideal customer profiles (ICP) to fine-tune messages and content.
Don’t forget that you can also use insights to update existing content assets. For example, many companies take an industry-based approach to account segmentation. This works well in ABM, because what’s happening in an industry can be used to extrapolate what may be top of mind for your customers. Most companies have some form of buyer personas and ideal customer profiles in place. When you combine your persona’s needs with industry trends and insights from customer listening, you have a treasure trove for creating content to align with your customers needs.
4) Build relationships to deliver more value.
Renowned Silicon Valley VC Marc Andreessen famously stated, “Software is eating the world.” Building on that idea, Engagio’s CEO Jon Miller said, “Subscriptions are eating software.” That’s because in software businesses, a lot of your revenue comes post-sale.
In our current subscription economy, retaining customers and reducing churn is the key to success. And the more you sell to enterprise customers, the more they buy based on your relationship.
That’s worth repeating – enterprise customers largely buy based on your relationship.
As keeping and growing those customers has to become a big part of a revenue team’s charter, the value that you deliver is tied to the relationships that you build. However, if every interaction is about trying to sell something, teams are missing the opportunity to deliver a better experience, thus affecting retention and growth goals.
By showing your customers that you’ve been spending time digging into insights and figuring out how they can get more out of your product or solution, you build trust by showing them that you care about their success. Everything from online engagement, content, events, to advocacy and other customer programs, are powerful because they provide the multi-channel experiences that customers expect today.
Shifting attention to retention and giving marketing permission to go beyond just sourcing leads is a refreshing change for customers that will stand out in the market and become a value driver for business. It’s the ultimate win-win scenario.