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ABM or ABX: same but different?

Natasha Holloway

Nastasha Holloway

Director | Marketing | ABM | Client Services & Activation

You may be familiar with account-based marketing (ABM), but what do you know about account-based experience (ABX)? And how does ABX change your business’s plans for the future, if at all?

If you’re new to this developing trend, ABX can be described as a by-product or evolution of ABM that not only aligns the marketing and sales teams (as with ABM), but it also aligns the customer experience teams too. ABX is rooted in the idea of building a go-to-market strategy throughout the entire B2B customer lifecycle, where customer success teams are responsible for delivering on the value that the sales and marketing team have promised.

This approach has come to light as both a way of building on the successes of ABM and also putting a stop to any potential shortcomings of an ABM programme once the product or service has been purchased. ABX is designed to prevent a potential disconnect between the value proposition that the customer buys, and the value proposition that a customer success stakeholder is focused on. In a nutshell, everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet to deliver a cohesive experience from the beginning right through to ongoing customer relationship management.

Essentially, ABX maintains all the proven processes and approaches from ABM that deliver powerful reputational, relationship and revenue benefits – and then takes them a step further into the realm of customer service functions. ABX therefore marks a shift in focus from sales towards a customer-centric perspective.

In theory this means it has the potential to make marketing operations even more effective than ABM. But, as with ABM, ABX is a fine art. If your business hasn’t successfully rolled out ABM programmes, it shouldn’t expect to bypass the knowledge and best practices of implementing ABM and skip straight to ABX. ABX demands a comprehensive strategy and a long-term approach to ensure the buyer’s journey is frictionless across each channel and touchpoint. It’s not by any means a quick fix, but like ABM, when done right it’s one where businesses can really bear the fruits of their labour.

Achieving the ABX factor

Extending the principles of ABM means starting with the same foundations. Account insights and intent data are still the engine for fueling highly targeted messaging that speaks to the needs of each account. But with the evolution to ABX, these data-driven insights and engagements reach across every account interaction – ranging from the onboarding process to customer success.

As with any new programme, implementing ABX needs to be a carefully planned, iterative process that gives teams the space and time to come together to achieve shared goals. This way, strategies can adjust where necessary and the business is much more likely to get buy-in from everyone involved.

For many businesses successful ABX will also demand a cultural shift. In other words, there needs to be a conscious effort to move from a more traditional sales and marketing mentality to one that homes in on the customer too. Of course, this doesn’t happen overnight and there isn’t a prescriptive, one-size-fits-all approach for every organisation, but there are some traits that define how ABX works that varies from the fundamentals of ABM.

For example, the three business teams will work in unison across every aspect of account engagement and will be guided by a unified strategy for seamless customer interactions. They will develop personalised customer experiences and harness existing data and tools with new ABX efforts in mind.

Beyond the intentional benefit of building meaningful touchpoints at every stage of the journey, organisations will find that during the process they benefit from stronger coordination and teamwork as well as unlocking new buyer insights. As the ABX programme progress, ongoing tailored messages nurture the relationship with customers to the point that they become long-term buyers.

This is not the death of ABM

Although it is still early days for ABX, what’s clear is that this development doesn’t negate the need for ABM. If anything, it reinforces how crucial ABM is as a foundation for a multitude of business benefits. ABM has matured thanks to its proven success, and as it continues to do so, companies are likely to take the next steps into the world of ABX to glean even greater ROI from their strategy.

Moving forward, businesses will recognise the value of a longer-term, future-proofed approach to their ABM. This is about accelerating the winning recipe of sales and marketing alignment in developing meaningful customer relationships with a team who can continue the powerful journey long after accounts sign on the dotted line.