Using ABM to Maximize Sales with Current Customers

From lead scoring to messaging, account-based marketing (ABM) is changing the way inside sales reps (ISRs) and field reps approach sales. With the help of analytics, Big Data and predictive tools, reps can:

      • Identify prospects that are the best fit for their products and services
      • Segment accounts to better understand their industry, pain points and needs
      • Deliver the right messaging at the right time throughout the buyer’s journey

ABM is paying off with higher ROI. According to a Demandbase survey, 60% of companies using ABM increased their revenue at least 10%, and one in five companies saw revenue increase by at least 30%. Similarly, SiriusDecisions reported that 91% of companies using ABM increased the average deal size, and one quarter reported that their deals had increased by 50% or more.

In terms of potential, however, the fact that ABM can grow new customer pipelines by as much as 200 percent is only the tip of the iceberg. To maximize your sales, look to your existing customers. After all, part of the ABM mantra is “land and expand.”

Use ABM to deliver a better customer experience that translates into lower churn rates, deeper account penetration and more upselling and cross-selling opportunities.

Your Existing Customers Are Money in the Bank

While acquiring new customers is a necessary part of any company’s long-term business growth, it’s also expensive—costing as much as 25 times more than retaining existing customers. And that’s not all:

      • Your chance of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70%, but the odds of selling to a new prospect are just 5 to 20% (Forbes).
      • Your existing customers spend 31% more than new customers. (Retention Idea).

Bottom line, Bain & Company and Harvard Business School estimate that simply increasing customer retention by 5% could increase your profits anywhere from 25 to 95%.

And yet, surprisingly…

According to Econsultancy/Responsys, most companies (44%) remain focused on new customer acquisitions; just 16% report having a greater focus on retention.

ABM for Greater Customer Lifetime Value

Throughout the buyer’s journey you’re focused on delivering the right message at the right time to help drive the sales process forward. You can do the same throughout the lifespan of the customer relationship…with a greater return on your investment.

According to the ABM Leadership Alliance, companies using ABM strategies increased their annual account value (ACV) by 171%.

And just as you used ABM strategies to look for patterns in demographics and firmographics to better target a prospect with the right message, you can do the same after the sale…with an added advantage.

ABM operates on data, and once you’re inside a company, you have access to a continuous flow of new data that’s unavailable to vendors who are not doing business with them. You now have the inside intel. You have relationships with key decision makers, and you’re in a position to gather even more information—first hand.

So instead of only analyzing your best customers to help you acquire new customers, you now should be analyzing your customers with the highest customer lifetime value (CLV) and longest retention to build an ideal customer experience profile. Then apply ABM strategies throughout the customer experience:

      • Onboard New Customers: After the sale, use ABM as a customer-focused marketing program to track interactions and offer personalized follow up. The goal is to get new customers off to a good start, minimize churn rates and maximize lifetime value.
      • Provide Ongoing Nurturing: Building a relationship doesn’t stop after the sale. Nurture customers. Touch base and make the sales relationship an integral part of the customer experience.
      • Segment Existing Customers: You used segmentation to identify specific needs during the sales process. Now you can segment to stay on top of future needs. You’re in a unique position to know about other issues the customer faces and to track buying habits. Use this insight to be proactive.
      • Build Rapport with the Buying Team and Top Decision Makers: Because ABM is about the account rather than an individual, you are already working with a group of decision makers. Continue to strengthen your relationship. Get to know your buying group well, how they work, what they like. Learn about their specific pain points. Become their trusted, go-to person. Ask questions and really listen to the answers; this is the foundation for ongoing sales.
      • Engage More Groups Within the Account: Are there other departments within the company with whom you should be talking? Can you sell your products and services deeper and more broadly across the firm? Use your existing relationships to gain referrals and introductions to other stakeholders within the account.
      • Watch for Business Signals: ABM users rely on signals—changes within a company—to help them know when the time is right to close a sale. This is still useful, and as an insider you are in an even better position to know about management changes, key purchases, expansions, mergers, acquisitions, awards, etc.
      • Deliver the Right Message at the Right Time: Stay in touch and track the buying teams you’re working with to provide personalized content and messaging as part of the customer experience.
      • Upsell and Cross-Sell: Because your existing customers are more likely to purchase additional items, they are the focus of your upselling and cross-selling activity. If you’ve been building the relationship and learning about wants and needs, you can launch a proactive sales effort. Also, your marketing department can deliver a targeted campaign that will further pave the way for your sales follow up.

Once you close the initial deal with a new company, prioritize your opportunities to maximize sales and increase the lifetime value of a customer.

Senior Project Consultant & Account Manager
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