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Patterns to Drive Account-Based Success

Every day we talk to organizations in various stages of adoption of account-based. In 2017, we are seeing account-based quickly mature, with many organizations putting dedicated account-based resources in place in both marketing and sales development.

Today, these teams are actively executing an account-based go-to-market and we are seeing patterns that are driving success and can be used more broadly in account-based. Here are three of the patterns you can apply in your own account-based planning:

1. Programmatic Customization

In account-based, customizing the approach to each individual account nearly always drives the best results. However, the account-by-account planning required limits the scalability of this approach.

Companies are reaping many of the benefits of fully custom approaches to each account, without the cost of account-by-account planning and approval, by developing programs that can be custom-built in a defined way for each targeted account. This approach creates the highly relevant communications that are a mark of account-by-account planning and makes these significantly more scalable.

This approach can take various forms, it centers on a high value offer prepared specifically for each account and used across marketing and sales development efforts.

2. Changing the Context for the First Engagement

There’s good reason why we joke about sales selling through connections at their kid’s school or little league: rapport can be established before a business context is ever introduced.

Account-based efforts can take this approach as well by finding ways to flip the context of the first engagement. From hosting a hackathon, to offering skills training, to an invitation from your content team to participate in an expert roundup on your blog, changing the context of the initial outreach can lower the instinctive skepticism so many of us have developed to sales and marketing communications.

This approach is a useful pivot for individuals that have been unresponsive and for audiences that tend to be particularly distrustful of sales and marketing.

3. Using a Customer Case Story to Drive Expansion

Expanding existing relationships is key to capturing the potential value of target accounts and one of the best ways to expand is to tell the story of the work you are already doing within the account.

The story of what you have already done for an account is one of the most relevant stories you can share with others in the same company and is a pattern we see repeat in successful expansion efforts.

Starting with just one to five accounts, each with a good story and significant room for expansion, produce the story in multiple sharable forms. This may include a case study, a webinar, video, or presentation to be used in meetings.

Then put together a traditional multi-channel campaign targeting just that one account. This campaign can use traditional channels, from advertising to direct mail to SDR outreach, and uses the case story as the offer.

These are just three of the patterns we are seeing in successful account-based programs. To learn more from TOPO’s research on account-based, see the TOPO Account-Based Funnel or the Account-Based Everything Framework.

About the Author: Eric Wittlake

Eric Wittlake is TOPO’s Senior Analyst for Marketing, bringing TOPO clients more than 15 years of experience developing and executing B2B demand generation, marketing and advertising programs.

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