How a Personal 1:1 ABM Approach Wins with Status Quo Accounts and the C-Suite

In our recent ABM webinars (including the one with Demandbase’s former VP of ABX), we share many reasons why 69% of ABM programs underperform when it comes to driving revenue. But, the biggest reason is that most ABM programs do not include a 1-to-1 personal approach. Only 1/3 of ABM programs are executing  1-to-1, one-to-few, AND one-to-many strategies. This is the same percentage of ABM programs that are seeing consistent wins with the C-suite and are driving significant revenue growth.

Do you see the correlation?

The issue is that most GTM teams are going for scale versus taking a personal 1:1 ABM approach.

What Does It Mean to Take a 1-to-1 Personal Account-Based Approach?

With one-to-many ABM programs, you speak at “industries” and “personas.” You focus on general assumptions and pain points. With one-to-few, you speak at target accounts and target personas that are in similar industries, are showing similar intent signals, and appear to be in similar buying stages. And, in both cases, ABM is campaign-based, and sales and marketing teams are pushing out content and messaging and hoping that something sticks. It’s marketing as usual, but now we’re using intent data and ABM technologies to take a more targeted “spray and pray” approach. Eighty-six percent (86%) of communications by sales, marketing, and account teams are still off-target and irrelevant.

1-to-1 personal ABM speaks to and with the human buyers within target accounts that we want to win, protect and expand. When you take this approach, you go directly to key decision-makers and influencers with insights that are specific to their gaps, their impacts, and content that speaks to them specifically. You focus on each and every single interaction and touchpoint that GTM teams have with the human buyers and how you are relevant at the industry, company, rank, division, operational, financial, personal, and customer levels. Notice what I just said – each touchpoint along the buyer’s journey and each interaction must be personally relevant.

It’s the Personal Connection with the Human Buyers That Shifts Hearts, Minds and Wallets 

As Joanne Black from No More Cold Calling says, “Customers don’t buy your technology, your service, or your products in a B2B environment. They buy because of the impact your team can have on their business. People do business with people. They do not do business with technology.” In most cases, you cannot build that connection you need with the status quo C-suite and become a priority with campaigns. One-to-few and one-to-many campaigns work with those that already see a need and are already leaning toward using you. It does not work with the 60% of the market that sees solutions like yours as “nice to have” vs. must-have.

Making Meaningful Connections with Buyers Requires Sales and Marketing Teams to Go Beyond Personalization

Some organizations think they are doing 1-to-1 as they are personalizing ads to targeted buyers and sending them to personalized landing pages. They may do outreach via phone, email, and social but they are just personalizing templates. So, in reality, they are speaking at people because they are taking a one-to-many or one-to-few approach and applying it to one-to-one. They are still telling “everybody’s” story. As Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson mention in their book, “The Challenger Sale,” in most cases, buyer unresponsiveness is not because you failed to make a logical argument. It’s because you failed to make an emotional connection. It’s not that buyers didn’t believe your story. It’s because they didn’t see it as “their” story.

In a recent LinkedIn post, Nick Bennett (Director of Account-Based and Field Marketing at Alyce) mentioned that personalized marketing is focused on tailoring an experience to the pains and needs of the business and buying persona. While being personal is about catering to the person (the human being) behind the title. To foster a relationship that extends beyond a contract, you need to have a relationship rooted in trust and empathy for me as a person. The focus should now be on moments vs. touches.

In another post, Richa Pande (Global Head of ABM and Content Strategy for HP) mentioned that personal ABM demands absolute customer obsession. Demand gen and strategies are pursuit-led, whereas ABM should be customer-led. This means value props should be designed for specific customer needs, not what’s available in a solution stable to sell. Value props should be custom designed to the unique opportunity in each account.

We Need Greater Customer Alignment and Customer Obsession

As Doug Landis mentioned in a recent Forbes article: “When selling to larger companies you must come to every social, email and live conversation with a point of view about their business…You have to know what they are focused on as those strategic initiatives for the business will trickle down to every department across the organization.” You need to show the role you can play in their strategic initiatives and the impact you will have otherwise, and you will just be another item on their list of things to do eventually.

For example, we’ve been speaking to a VR tech firm targeting the Fortune 1000 with solutions to help with employee training and engagement. Their ABM programs are getting interest from Directors and below, but they are not always capturing the attention of the C-suite. They didn’t look for “why” there was interest, “what” was going on within the organization, and “why” the C-suite would care. This requires profiles, content, and messaging for specific C-suite conversations with the specific C-suite that you want to win as we need to focus on their specific initiatives, their needs, their unconsidered gaps that will impact their business vision, and their growth opportunities.

The personal relevance that you need to open up a relationship with the C-suite needs to be carried through the complete buyer’s journey all the way to the close and beyond. When you take a personal account-based approach, sales and marketing teams make calculated moves together. It’s no longer about campaigns – it’s about how you will get these tier 1 accounts and the status quo C-suite to move forward.

Watch This Video to Get a Sneak Preview of Personal Account-Based Marketing in Action

Click here to learn about the account-based enablement that’s needed for a personal 1:1 ABM approach


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