Solutions marketing and ABM: Recommendations for making them work well together
- Most Recent Blogs
- ABMSolutions, Key accounts, Marketing Innovation, Account-Based Marketing, Customer Connection, Shifting Trends, Service importance, Customer Loyalty, Marketing Campaign,
- 0 comments
For companies that are committed to building and selling solutions, understanding how to adapt marketing tools and activities to support the more complex and higher value solutions offerings is critical. One area of B2B marketing where solutions go-to-market principles need to be applied is account planning and management. The methodology that a lot of our clients have used very successfully is often referred to as Account-Based Marketing (ABM). ABM is perfectly tailored to a customer-centric solutions model. It is generally defined as treating individual accounts as a market in their own right. The implications of this definition is that a solutions company applies its sales and marketing resources to understanding a key account’s business challenges, which often then results in adapting existing assets and resources to resolve the account’s most pressing problems.
The Three Main Phases of an ABM Program
In the course of our work with a wide range of B2B companies, we’ve seen what it takes to have a successful ABM program. It’s not easy. Designing and implementing an ABM program that will target and support a large number of key accounts is in fact very difficult. Companies like Accenture, IBM, Xerox and HP are poster children for how to do it the right way. Unfortunately, there are just as many companies with programs that are just limping along or have been curtailed.
Our work over the years with ABM programs has helped us to determine not only what is critical for success but also when it needs to be done. We suggest you look at it in 3 distinct phases:
How to Ensure Success at Each Phase
The companies that have reaped the benefits from their ABM programs understood what it took to succeed during each of the three phases. After reviewing over a dozen of these initiatives, we have identified 11 key success factors, broken down by the three core phases.
Phase 1: Designing & Developing the Program
Phase 2: Creating Account-Specific Solutions Strategies
Phase 3: Implementing the Account-Specific Strategies
The Takeaway: Approach Key Accounts as a Problem Solver, not a Vendor
If you’re interested in selling real solutions to your key accounts, an ABM initiative should be considered. The complexity of the problems that your customer face requires creative, complex solutions offerings from you. This means that Sales needs to make room for Solutions Marketers to be part of the planning equation. We’ve seen companies that understand this and have successfully implemented an ABM program that has uncovered new value for the customer. Unfortunately, we’ve also seen companies that stick to an underfunded, inside-out approach, leading to the inevitable, disappointing results. So…which type of company do you want to be?