When reviewing the progress made by companies implementing Account-Based Engagement programs in large and small companies we find that most made significant progress in building an interconnected strategy and execution culture across Marketing, Sales and Service teams in their companies. They could deliver measurable improvements in the customer experiences as described in surveys conducted with their most important accounts. These improvements paid off with improved business results for them and for their customers.
The companies took many different approaches to implement an ABE program across their organizations but there were some common attributes that contributed to their success.
Start small but get started and make improvements as you learn. Almost any company can start with a small group of important customers and build the expertise as you work through the details of improving customer engagement. You can start with a small set of customers, or a specific product category and build the program incrementally without making huge infrastructure investments. Pilot programs or trials are a good way to get going and build buy-in from the teams. When you do it as a small incremental change, the program’s success can be separated from the need to automate and track performance details beyond the pilot group. When you do it this way it gives you time to define the infrastructure needs to make the program a broadly implemented strategy change. When done this way you can build a business case for broader adoption based on real results in the trial program which improves your chances of gaining management support and the investment needed to expand into the broader business infrastructure. Tools like NEHANET let you implement the program with incremental steps to minimize disruption and investment until it is time to expand.
Align organization goals and stage the rollout to manage the process and gain organizational support. Look at what you define as an ideal customer profile and what market your business is addressing. This will help you define a list of specific target customers and identify the people in those accounts who would be most able to influence your success. Defining the target accounts is extremely important to avoid wasting a lot of management and sales time trying to get into customers and markets where you are not well suited for success.
Build a data profile of these customers so you know who they are and what they are doing. NEHANET offers a good suite of account and contact database tools to allow you to capture and publicize detailed profiles of the accounts you are targeting. Be honest with yourself as you build this list of target customers and markets. Do not get off track trying to target the customers that you just do not have good solutions for but are high visibility, market leaders. Go after accounts who fit and who you can make a defendable case for them needing what you do.
When you have a good list of targets, define aggressive, realistic goals that can be achieved and set detailed goals for each of the team members that support the overall objective. Make these goals measurable as possible and make sure everyone understands that they are important and fully supported by the executive management.
Rolling out Account-Based Engagement programs offer enormous potential for large and small companies. To remain competitive as the market changes and customer and competitor profiles and capabilities become more and more data-driven and knowledgeable, you have to build a customer experience that reinforces your strategic imperatives and builds customer experience that drives customer success and retention. If you do not drive these kinds of customer-centric engagement programs you risk falling behind and missing out on the growth your competitors will see.
There is no reason to delay starting to build a better customer engagement and improved customer experience across the marketing, sales, and service teams in your company. Starting with a pilot trial program will show you what needs to be done and what infrastructure you need to make the change to an ABE driven strategy across your customer-facing organizations. When you get ready to scale up you need to have a committed organization, with project planning and execution commitments that are highly visible and management-driven.
Change management is difficult and needs strong management, leadership and buy-in to drive it to success. Transforming the Sales, Marketing, Service infrastructure can be difficult, but when you achieve it the results will be astounding and will drive even more cultural improvements that benefit the bottom line.
ABE is about transforming and aligning what Sales, Marketing, and Services are doing and making them focused on doing the right thing to drive customer engagement and market success. When you do it you will be much more engaged with all the target customers and they will be much more engaged in what you are planning on doing to drive future growth. When your customers value what you are doing and depend on you for their success your company will achieve results you can only dream of today.
NEHANET offers support for all the steps in planning, developing and implementing a comprehensive Account-Based Engagement program and would be happy to share our experiences building data-driven account focused customer engagement programs.
Call us to discuss how we can help you succeed with building an Account-Based Engagement program at your company.