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Navigating the New Norm: The Rise of ABX in a Buyer-Driven World

Blog » Customer Experience » Navigating the New Norm: The Rise of ABX in a Buyer-Driven World

abx in a buyer driven world BLOG

Traditional sales and marketing approaches are facing a seismic shift. The rise of Account-Based Experience (ABX) is not just a trend but a fundamental change in how businesses interact with their potential and existing customers.

This shift is predicated on the understanding that companies are in a purchasing mode only 10-20% of the time. (Ouch, I know.)

During the remaining 80-90%, traditional sales and marketing efforts risk falling on deaf ears, or worse, becoming an annoyance.

This realization brings us to a pivotal point: the need to measure and enhance the entire customer experience.

Defining ABX (Account-Based Experience)

According to the CMO Club:

Account-based experience (ABX) is a GTM strategy focused on providing tailored customer experiences for target accounts. From awareness through to post-sale, ABX seeks to personalize every touchpoint in the B2B buyer journey.

Due to this focus on the entire buyer journey, ABX strategies require collaboration between marketing, sales and customer support. Instead of treating these functions as separate entities, a unified approach is adopted to maintain a high level of personalization throughout the buying process.”

Most importantly, account-Based Experience (ABX) and Account-Based Marketing (ABM) are both strategic approaches that prioritize personalized and targeted efforts towards specific high-value accounts.

However, they are not the same.

While they share similarities in their targeted approach, there are distinct differences in their methodologies, focus areas, and overarching goals.

Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

To start, ABM is a focused growth strategy in which marketing and sales teams collaborate. Their goal is to create personalized buying experiences for a mutually identified set of high-value accounts.

ABM 101 Funnel Graph 02 1024x569

[Source: Uberflip]

And because ABM is highly targeted, individual accounts are treated as markets in their own right.

This approach involves:

  • Identifying key accounts
  • Tailoring marketing messages and strategies to those accounts, and
  • Aligning marketing and sales efforts to deeply engage each account, moving them towards a sale.

Finally, ABM is primarily about efficiency and effectiveness in the sales cycle. It focuses on concentrating resources on accounts with the highest potential return.

Key Features of ABM:

  • Focuses on aligning sales and marketing efforts towards targeted accounts.
  • Emphasizes personalized marketing strategies tailored to the specific needs and interests of each account.
  • Aims to engage decision-makers within targeted accounts through customized messaging and content.
  • Metrics of success are often related to engagement levels, pipeline acceleration, and revenue generation from targeted accounts.

Account-Based Experience (ABX)

In contrast, ABX takes the principles of ABM a step further by incorporating a holistic view of the customer’s entire journey. This includes their experience with your brand.

ABX extends beyond marketing and sales, it’s integrating …

… into a seamless, cohesive experience.

Furthermore, the focus is on delivering consistent value and relevant interactions across all stages of the customer lifecycle, not just during the buying process. ABX is about building and maintaining strong relationships through outstanding experiences at every touchpoint. The goal is fostering loyalty and advocacy.

ABX Campaign Process Chart

[Source: RenderTribe]

Key Features of ABX:

  • Emphasizes the entire customer experience.
  • Involves all departments in creating a cohesive, positive experience for targeted accounts.
  • Focuses on long-term relationship building, customer satisfaction, and loyalty.
  • Uses data and insights from across the entire customer journey.

Key Differences in ABX & ABM

  1. Scope and Integration: ABM is more narrowly focused on marketing and sales efforts, while ABX encompasses the entire customer journey, including post-sale engagement and support.
  2. Strategic Focus: ABM concentrates on efficiently closing sales with high-value accounts, whereas ABX is about continuously enhancing the overall experience of these accounts across all touchpoints.
  3. Longevity and Relationship Building: While both strategies aim to build relationships, ABX places a greater emphasis on long-term engagement and customer satisfaction beyond the sale. You’re aiming for loyalty and advocacy.

In essence, ABX can be seen as an evolution of ABM, expanding its focus from targeted marketing and sales efforts to include the entire customer experience.

By adopting an ABX approach, companies aim to deliver value at every interaction, thereby fostering stronger, more resilient relationships with their key accounts.

Understanding the Buyer’s Journey for ABX

At the heart of ABX is a comprehensive approach that goes beyond the conventional sales funnel.

Here, it’s about recognizing that the buyer’s journey is not a linear path leading straight to a sale. Instead, it’s a complex web of experiences, interactions, and touchpoints that influence a buyer’s decision-making process.

See our interpretation of that digital web — or some of it — below.

B Squared Media Digital Customer Journey

[Source: B Squared Media]

By focusing solely on sales and marketing, businesses miss out! While following an ABX plan gives you a myriad of opportunities to engage, nurture, and build lasting relationships with your customers.

The Power of Measuring the Whole Experience

The concept of measuring the whole experience is about tapping into all the interactions that happen outside the narrow window of purchasing intent.

Similarly, this holistic view allows businesses to understand the nuanced needs, preferences, and behaviors of their target accounts. But, more importantly, it enables them to identify the subtle signals that an ideal client is gearing up for a purchase.

Understandably, this approach requires a robust framework for collecting and analyzing data across all touchpoints. These touchpoints range from social media interactions and customer service inquiries, to product usage patterns and feedback channels.

One area we find brands are lacking is their use of social media customer service and social selling for ABX.

BlogBannerAdReportBlue1Social media customer service and social selling are pivotal components of Account-Based Experience (ABX). Your social channels play a crucial role in shaping and enhancing the holistic journey of the customer with your brand.

These aspects are integral in delivering a seamless, personalized experience that aligns with the core principles of ABX.

Here’s how they contribute significantly to the ABX framework:

Social Media Customer Service

Social media customer service involves interacting with customers through social platforms to resolve queries, address complaints, and provide support.

social media customer service statistics

[Source: Zendesk]

This facet of customer service is essential in ABX for several reasons:

  1. Immediate and Personalized Responses: Social media allows for real-time interaction with customers, offering immediate responses to their concerns or questions. This responsiveness is key to creating a positive experience and demonstrates the brand’s commitment to their satisfaction and well-being.
  2. Building Trust and Loyalty: Effective social media customer service helps build trust and loyalty among target accounts. By addressing issues promptly and publicly, it shows that the company values its customers and is dedicated to resolving their problems, thereby enhancing their overall experience with the brand.
  3. Insight Gathering: Interactions on social media provide valuable insights into customer preferences, pain points, and expectations. These insights can inform your ABX strategies, allowing your brand to tailor experiences more closely to the needs and desires of their target accounts.

Social Selling

Social selling refers to the use of social media to interact directly with prospects, build relationships, and facilitate sales. In the context of ABX, social selling is invaluable for several reasons:

  1. Relationship Building: Social selling enables social care teams to connect with potential and existing customers in a more informal and engaging way. By sharing relevant content, answering questions, and participating in discussions, your team can build and nurture relationships over time, aligning with the ABX emphasis on long-term engagement.
  2. Personalized Engagement: Through social media, salespeople can gain insights into the specific interests and challenges of their target accounts. This information allows for highly personalized engagement, ensuring that the interactions are relevant and valuable to the prospect or customer, thereby enhancing their experience with the brand.
  3. Seamless Integration into the Buyer’s Journey: Social selling integrates seamlessly into the ABX framework by ensuring that sales efforts are closely aligned with the customer’s digital journey and preferences. By engaging customers on platforms where they are already active and comfortable, social selling contributes to a cohesive and positive account-based experience.

Integration in ABX

Together, social media customer service and social selling form essential pillars of the ABX strategy. They ensure that every interaction with the brand, whether it’s resolving an issue or nurturing a sales lead, contributes to a cohesive and positive experience.

This integration across different stages of the customer journey is what sets ABX apart, making it a powerful approach for building lasting relationships and driving long-term growth.

Our Mastering Social CX course is all about ABX if you want a deeper dive!

BlogBannerAdPaidCourse1By integrating these insights into a cohesive narrative, businesses can tailor their strategies to meet the customers where they are, rather than where they expect them to be.

Shifting from Transactional to Relational

Moreover, ABX champions a shift from transactional interactions, focused on immediate sales, to relational engagement that values long-term relationships.

This perspective recognizes that every interaction with a potential or current customer is an opportunity to deliver value, irrespective of their immediate readiness to buy.

It’s about creating a consistently positive experience that not only positions your brand favorably but also builds trust and loyalty over time.

Test your team’s ABX prowess with our Social Media Mystery Shop.

BlogBannerAdMysteryShopOrangeSuch a strategy demands a departure from aggressive sales tactics and a move towards more personalized, empathetic, and value-driven communication. It involves understanding the customer’s industry, challenges, and goals as deeply as possible. And then, and only then, offering solutions and insights that resonate with their specific context.

Embracing Technology & Human Insight

Finally, leveraging technology plays a crucial role in implementing an effective ABX strategy. Advanced analytics, AI, and machine learning can unearth patterns and insights from vast amounts of data, predicting buying signals with remarkable accuracy.

However, the human element remains irreplaceable. The nuanced understanding of customer needs, the empathy in communication, and the ability to forge genuine connections are facets where human interaction excels.

Incorporating both technological tools and human insights, businesses can craft experiences that are not only relevant and timely but also deeply resonant with their target accounts.

Ready to Shift?

In conclusion, the rise of Account-Based Experience represents a paradigm shift towards a more nuanced, empathetic, and holistic approach to customer engagement.

b-squared-media-customer-care-is-everyones-job

By measuring and optimizing the entire spectrum of interactions a customer has with your brand, businesses can better align themselves with the actual needs and timelines of their clients.

This not only increases the chances of being in the right place at the right time but also fosters a deeper, more meaningful connection with the audience.

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Brooke B. Sellas is an award-winning Customer Marketing Strategist and the CEO & Founder of B Squared Media. Her book, Conversations That Connect has been recognized nationally and is required reading for a Customer Experience class at NSU. Brooke's influence in digital marketing is not just about her accomplishments but also about her unwavering commitment to elevating the industry standard of digital customer experience and customer marketing.
Conversations That Connect
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Category: Customer Experience
Tags: ABM, ABM strategy, ABX, ABX strategy, attract customers, B Squared Media, B Squared Media social media mystery shop, Brooke B. Sellas, Brooke Sellas, customer acquisition, customer care, customer engagement, ,
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