Demandbase ABX

Demandbase, which pushed Account Based Marketing (ABM) as a business strategy a half-decade before other firms picked up the terminology, is now positioning Account-Based Experience (ABX) as the next generation ABM strategy.  ABX supports buyers across the full customer lifecycle and emphasizes messaging timing and an improved customer experience.

“Account-Based Experience takes the same principles as good CX — trust, empathy, and relevance at every stage of the journey — and applies them to the account-based world,” states Demandbase. “One of the fundamental principles of ABX is recognizing that our buyers live in a world of information abundance and attention scarcity, making any form of interruption marketing ineffective.  Instead, companies need to build trust with potential buyers, identify the ‘magic moments’ when customers are open to engaging, and then orchestrate the perfect interactions across Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success teams.”

By broadening the scope of ABM, “it keeps the customer where they should be, at the center of your go-to-market strategy, whether you are in marketing, sales, an SDR, or part of the customer success team,” said Demandbase VP and ABX Evangelist Beki Scarbrough. “In many ways, ABX simply takes the best practices that have emerged around ABM and applies them across your customer experience.”

According to a 2021 ABM Benchmark Study by Demandbase and RevOps Squared, “53% of businesses say that Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success are equally responsible for their account-based customer expansion strategy.”

Demandbase notes that ABM focused on account fit, defining the Ideal Customer Profile as the most valuable accounts for targeting, but failing to account for timing.  Thus, many ABM accounts had a “poor experience” due to mistimed engagement.  When account outreach is mistimed, prospects are unable to engage “on their own terms and on their own schedule.”

Demandbase also recognized that ABM focused on the marketing department and not the broader revenue team.  While ABM starts in the marketing department, it has long been understood that ABM encompasses marketing, sales, and customer success management.

“Our belief in ABX positions us to expand the ABM category within the industry,” said Demandbase CEO Gabe Rogol, calling it a “powerful go-to-market strategy.”

“ABX uses data and insights to orchestrate relevant, trusted marketing and sales actions throughout the B2B customer lifecycle. It’s all about engaging business buyers with relevant messages delivered in a trusted way on their own terms.”

Demandbase CEO Gabe Rogol

One of my criticisms of Demandbase is that they were focused on the marketing department with few tools for other departments.  While they acquired Sales Intelligence vendor Spiderbook five years ago, the service withered.  Their technology partner list is heavily weighted to marketing with few sales-oriented partnerships beyond SalesLoft and Outreach.  Likewise, the ABM Leadership Council that they founded was marketing-centric and lacked vendors that supported other departments.  Conversely, the parallel Flip My Funnel movement, championed by rival Terminus, has long had a broader set of vendors and departments served.

Thus, Demandbase’s shift to ABX is a welcome update to their ABM vision and hopefully involves a broader functional scope of their offerings.  Unfortunately, Demandbase did not reveal any new functionality in support of ABX, so we’ll have to see how they plan to implement this broadened definition.  On April 7th, Jon Miller, Demandbase’s Chief Marketing and Product Officer, will provide additional ABX details at a webinar.

“I’ve always described Account-Based Marketing as ‘fishing with spears’,” said Miller. “It’s a great analogy, but you’ve got to realize that it doesn’t feel very good to get poked by a spear!  Similarly, B2B buyers today want to research potential solutions anonymously, on their own schedule, until the time when they actually do want to engage with a vendor.  ABX lets us work with modern buyers on their own terms: anonymously when they want to be, helpful and relevant when they are ready, and always based on trust. It’s a much better customer experience and it delivers much better long-term results.”

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