Are people just suddenly aware of, “Do you want fries with that?”
Cross-selling is something I was taught as a bank teller during college in one of my first “real jobs.” And every fast food flipper learns that opening line up-sell, right?
Hasn’t anyone told you, if you haven’t figured it out yet, the best customers are the ones you already have?
In a more than 25-year span of operating a small business, I can guarantee you my best and easiest business is with people I’ve been working with for, well, almost forever. Many, for more than a decade, even two, and I love that!
Trust has built something more significant than sales and conveys a bigger value for all.
The relationships you establish over the course of conducting great business—a two-way street, incidentally—creates a win-win scenario.
To me, this has always been the shining result of (ABM) account based marketing.
The simple trick is to build on accounts to increase sales but, to do it through a continually escalating relationship ignited by the extraordinary products and services you provide.
Strive to be the go-to resource for your accounts and you’re in!Trust has built something more significant than sales and conveys a bigger value.Click To Tweet
Have I been an ABM business since day one?
Maybe I’m misunderstanding something but, to me, ABM is about relationship building with the result of gaining long-term business.
Every good business relationship comes down to trust. Trust is the cornerstone of all successful transactions. It’s the foundation for positive collaboration, of any kind, really.
Consider the disaster of marriage without trust, let alone a business partnership, or lack of trust in your vendors.
The perfect balance between customer and business requires you trust them and they trust you. Plain and simple.
I look at it this way: I want customers to want to pay me.
Yep, I want them to feel good about paying me. I want them to know they got their money’s worth, and more!
Because when customers are willing to pay, you’re doing your job. You’re valuable and worth it. And, when your customers see it that way, you’re in business!The simple trick to ABM is building on accounts via extraordinary products and services you provide.Click To Tweet
Love The One You’re With, in Account Based Marketing
Growing your business at the cost of devaluing customers you already have is one terrible mistake I see in some unscrupulous businesses. And other ones, too.
They seem to be off chasing the next customer and often, I fear, chasing the next dollars, at the high stakes of ignoring current customers.
This is bad business. And when I’m that person—an under or completely unappreciated customer—I’m not sure there’s any cure after the fact. Do you know what I mean? Enough unappreciated numbers of “us” and you can end up out of business.
And that brings me to the next key to ABM from my perspective. Appreciate your customers to grow your business, and make it an ongoing process.
What I’ve always done is work to delight each customer on each order.
Now, I know everyone is saying they “delight customers” these days. But, this has been an effective method for years and years in my business and, is the exact opposite of the unscrupulous money chasers I mentioned earlier.
The magic happens when you find money follows from the delight. Why? Well first, when people are happy with you, they use you again. Then, they tell their friends and family to work with you. They tell their colleagues.
Soon, sales are happening that you didn’t even have to make! At least that’s my story, but it all starts from one simple gesture—showing clients sincere appreciation.
Here’s the recipe. Mix delight with a pinch of surprise by over-delivering and top with a great big thank you offered often. Then, you’ll be all set for business growth.
Marketing is Never a One Night Stand
Account based marketing, like most marketing endeavors, doesn’t just happen overnight—like waking up to a blizzard of business storming all around you—but builds gradually. It revolves around customer care.
When you do care, building trusting relationships with those you do business with is easy.
But, easy doesn’t mean less important and doing anything less than your best for your most valued customers will never be good enough. Do more, never less, even if you know your client is a loyal customer.
A Thank You Note or a Rose is Always Appreciated
What I’m trying to say is this: never take advantage of a good thing or take for granted a nice, easy to deal with account because you feel secure in the trust you’ve built. You need to keep proving your worth and keep reinforcing for people exactly why they rely on you.
If you get lackadaisical, you can’t keep up your go-to resource positioning and stand to lose a great client or an important slice of business.
Another warning when you concentrate on ABM to grow sales is the “too many eggs in one basket” scenario and you know that’s not good business, either. It means that a loss of even one large account can be devastating to your business. So, you never want to rely on any single account to survive.
This happens more often than you may think, and it’s easy to fall into. You forget about marketing because you don’t seem to need to market. If you suddenly realize you should be marketing, it’s already too late! I know. This has happened to me before.
Luckily for me, I seem to have good karma because, over the years when things have looked more than bleak, something perfect always seems to come up just in time. Whew.
But, winging it isn’t the best business planner and, while ABM is certainly an ongoing project for growth, it’s an effective one, as well.
Realizing I have clients for one, two, and close to three decades in many cases, makes me feel a certain amount of business success I know is built on trust and doing good work.
The service your business provides is the best UX you can offer and the key to taking on account based marketing to grow your business.
Definitively Defining ABM
Now that you’ve read my take on account based marketing, I thought it may be a good idea to look up a definition beyond what I think.
I can’t disagree more with the last sentence in Wikipedia’s definition, which says,
Account based marketing is typically employed in enterprise level sales organisations.”
Maybe it’s true, but “enterprise level sales” means “complex” and “large size” sales, products, or “contract” orders which all translates to big business/es.
I can promise you, my small company is so small I call it a “boutique business” not only in relation to size but also to speak to personalization and uniqueness in services.
Still, executing an ABM approach is the core to marketing efforts—from day one until now. And although called the “biggest small company or smallest big company” by clients over the years, for innovative and extensive deliverables, I can promise you, operations are not at anywhere near the complex “enterprise level” of sales.
ABM Across the Board
So, if you think ABM is for big companies, my suggestion is you think again. (Remember my opening examples with simple and everyday upselling and cross-selling practices as a start to using an ABM model in the simplest form.)
Here’s the rest (the beginning) of the Wikipedia definition for you:
Account-based marketing (ABM), also known as key account marketing, is a strategic approach to business marketing in which an organization considers and communicates with an individual prospect or customer accounts as markets of one.”
So, now I’m thinking about whether “account based” is hyphenated or not. You can see above; the Wiki definition uses both! Hmm.
Aside from that now niggling thought, I do sort of love the phrase, “markets of one.” It elevates the personalized essence of ABM and the important one-to-one relationship building aspect to making this method work.
Account Based Marketing: Wiki vs. Me
Sure, let’s go with Wikipedia in taking “a strategic approach” to account based marketing but, I think my earlier definition gives you, your business or organization, a better how-to concept, overall.
Here’s my take, for review:
Remember, establish yourself as the go-to resource for your industry with your accounts. Then, you’ll be the first call they make. Try this out whether you’re a corporate size company or boutique style enterprise and see it work!
Or do you think I have this thing all wrong? Let me know in the comments.
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Sue-Ann is a boutique business owner for more than half of her life! She loves creating original content to help businesses grow.
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