Words and phrases sometimes bug me.
Not all words (when I worked at IBM, there was a guy there who would say “every single word on a slide or document matters.” That was a little crazy. People skim more than read. I think it was a desire by him to justify his existence.) But some words and phrases really do matter. And some rub me the wrong way. Account Based Marketing is one of them.
I love the concept. Get deep understanding of a targeted account and the people within it. Then focus a concerted effort to engage and work with them throughout all phases of the buying process. It is a great idea. And companies that do it well swear by it.
But it still bugs me.
Why? Because Account Based Marketing does not work without Account Based Selling. And yes, the good companies link ABM to their sales strategy (although, I must admit I have seen companies target marketing to a set of accounts that the sales team did not care about). But why don’t we call it “Account Based Selling”—because that is what it really is! We are doing this to sell more to the account. We don’t succeed if we can only prove lots of marketing engagement but no revenue.
But selling is still a dirty word. So, we call it something else. And it makes me uncomfortable.
To go with “leadershifting”, I’d like to propose that the approach that matters now is “Account Based Value Creation” (ABVC). It is not about marketing. It is not about sales. It is about the customer.
How would you execute ABVC?
- Form cross-functional teams across sales, marketing, service, operations that are focused on specific accounts.
- Develop marketing campaigns to engage with the account
- Execute leadershifts to sales to drive winning business.
- Execute leadershifts to service and operations to deliver and create value.
- Execute leadershifts to marketing to engage to explore new value opportunities.
- Repeat the cycle.
Customer-centric approaches work. But they have to be about creating value, not just marketing or selling.
I know it is just a phrase, but make sure you focus on the real goal and not the words.
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