These days, many companies are trying to growth hack their way to the top.

If you’re a B2B marketer, you may attempt to make a viral video, or better yet, use a strategic account based approach to engage with prospects. ABM, or Account Based Marketing, has risen in popularity in the past couple years because it’s effective in providing a genuine, tailored approach to educating and converting customers. ABM utilizes best practices in personalizing outbound messages and website content that are crafted for a customer’s industry to be more relevant and close deals faster. It’s about making them feel like a trusted partner speaking with them, not at them.

So now with the Customer Success revolution where shared goals and personalized service is key to high renewal rates, ABM is taking new shape. Account-based management is what B2B-folks are beginning to focus on to ensure each individual customer’s goals are met. Make the customer successful first and in turn, you will be successful. It’s not enough to attract the account with a personalized message and then deliver generic, blanketed service to keep the customer – especially if you run on a subscription model and/or if this is a strategic or high-spending account.

Account Based Management is ideal for B2B companies that want to not only land new accounts, but expand within them. (And who doesn’t want to do that?) Since one customer is never one person in B2B, an ABMgmt based methodology can help growth hack B2B companies by providing strategic insights.

Here’s why. ABMgmt helps companies:

  • Focus on the people within and account by engaging with customers on a personal level; keep retention rates high while also building advocates who will refer new business.
  • Better understand disparity in success between accounts that appear to be the same type of customer but one is thriving and one is flailing.
  • Get in front of customer issues. Discover exactly who within an account is struggling to fulfill their goals using your product/service, so CSM’s can proactively approach that person before they are totally fed up.

Let’s explain a bit further…

Focus on the people within: Everyone within an account has a different role and way they interact with your company. It may not be the best strategy to only coddle the Decision Makers when the End Users are fed up. Eventually their frustration will bubble up and the account could be lost forever. Focusing on the individual users also provides great insight to marketing and other departments to know who would be a point of contact for a future case study or referral for sales. If your company is measuring the customer experience with Net Promoter® (NPS) or Customer Effort Scores, you should be looking at how each individual feels about your product, account management, and any touchpoint in the customer journey. Don’t just look at average scores that lump everyone together. Averages are often misleading. Parse down your mounds of data and look at your metrics with an ABM lens to drive action. Viewing how individual responses make up the account’s overall sentiment can really shine a light on how to act on feedback and enable the overall customer success.

Better understand disparity in success between accounts: Lots of companies wonder after they calculate an NPS® whether it’s a “good score” or not. Several options to try and answer that are by 1) comparing changes in previous scores, 2) purchasing a benchmark report about a “similar” company, or 3) viewing the scores from similar accounts. Some companies may not have the luxury of previous scores to compare, so they may be tempted to buy a benchmark report. Here’s the thing. If that sort of report is available, it’s 1) going to be pretty darn expensive, and 2) it’s going to compare apples and oranges because no B2B company is really exactly like yours—that’s why you’re in business! The best method to understand gaps or improvements in scores is really the third option — to compare and contrast scores from similar accounts. There are many ways to slice and dice the comparisons, but really the best litmus test comes from your own company data. Whether that’s by product type, region, or strategic accounts, looking at how one account performs versus another with a similar makeup makes the most sense because of the control in this test: they interact with your company in a similar way.

Get in front of customer issues: One thing every Account Manager or CSM must do to increase retention rates and grow accounts is get in front of any pain points before they become a larger problem. Keeping an ABMgmt mindset for customer experience helps companies use a magnifying glass to view sentiment within the account, to literally drill down to who specifically should be contacted and how. Take a temp check before engaging with a customer – maybe during your regular check-ins 30/60/90 days after onboarding or before renewal – it can make or break the conversation. The last thing you want is to call an angry customer and ask them for a referral or to upgrade. Instead, create a system for measuring customer sentiment with each account to know that say, Joe Smith, an account Influencer, is angry and needs to be contacted. Most companies collect customer feedback and let it rot until the next year’s annual survey. But with a growth hacking ABMgmt mindset, CSM’s should pick up the phone, hop on a video chat, or visit their office if it’s that important of an account, and get to know why Joe is struggling. It’s likely an issue that others are also experiencing or will in the future. Now the CSM can act proactively, identify the pain points, document them, find a solution and get in front of customer issues.

How to growth hack with account based management?

There are plenty of tools out there that can provide an ABMgmt view for things like product utilization and adoption. This approach can help shine a light on where customers are getting stuck in using your product. It’s important to add the layer of customer feedback to jump start that conversation and define the most appropriate contact to take action. Decision Makers may not even be using your product, so creating the dialogue for feedback about their goals is an important step to full account transparency.

TopBox drives actionable customer feedback insights with reports that dive deep into each account, breaking down individual contacts and color-coded for sentiment by a person’s role. It allows CSM’s to understand gaps in the customer journey and close the loop effectively to understand why there is a gap in the first place. All CX data is of course linked to financials for true ROI measurement, so management can effectively track follow-up, view benchmarks, and receive alerts to stay on top of customer issues.