Last month, Aberdeen’s Andrew Moravick published a post entitled, “Debunking Marketing Buzz: ‘Account-Based Everything.” In that post, he made an explicit reference to Engagio’s use of the phrase.
Engagio’s founder and CEO, Jon Miller, left a lengthy comment responding to Andrew’s post which I reprint here in its entirety (Full disclosure: I added some links and made some minor edits for readability – Matt).
Andrew, since I am the founder and CEO of Engagio and a major proponent of Account Based Everything, I thought I should take a crack at debunking your “debunking”!
Let me begin by saying that I appreciate your thoughtful discussion on Account Based Everything, even if we disagree on the usefulness of the term. The more conversations that can be stimulated on the growing shift to account-based customer engagement models, the better for everyone. That said, attributing our embrace of Account Based Everything to an “over caffeinated brainstorm” might be giving caffeine more credit than it deserves. (Full disclosure: Engagio does have a house account at Philz Coffee in San Mateo!)
We have championed Account Based Everything because we believe strongly that it is a much more accurate description of this transformative engagement strategy and approach. As I wrote a year ago on the Engagio blog, “Marketing alone is insufficient for account-based success…There’s a limit to how deeply you can connect with target accounts using only marketing channels such as ABM advertising, direct mail, and nurturing. Sometimes, you need a 1:1 human connection – and that’s the realm of Sales and Sales Development.”
Furthermore, we believe that Customer Success is another key B2B business discipline that can benefit greatly from an account-centric approach. Consequently, we included it under the Account Based Everything banner.
The purpose of grouping these critical and related account-based disciplines – marketing, sales, sales development, and customer success – under a unified Account Based Everything banner is to help avoid the inevitable silos that jeopardize the effectiveness of any account-based initiative. It’s an article of faith today that alignment between marketing and sales is important for B2B business success; this alignment is absolutely essential when designing and implementing successful account-based programs.
Scott Albro, the CEO of TOPO CEO, which has done extensive research on the account-based business shift, underscored the value of moving to Account Based Everything: “Over 90% of our client inquiries are around ABM. But what we’re finding is that Account-based marketing alone may not be enough —on average, organizations are only touching 13% of accounts on their target list. This data led us to come up with the concept of ‘Account-based Everything,’ which requires orchestration across Marketing, Sales Development, Sales, Customer Success, and the C-Suite.”
TOPO’s research reinforced our own view that the existing nomenclature referring singularly to each account-based discipline (marketing, sales, etc.) misrepresented the tremendous promise of integrated account-centric strategies. Adopting Account Based Everything was a way to get everyone focused on integrating and coordinating their account-based activities, which we believe is the recipe for maximum impact and results.
Your post raised the concern that Account Based Everything could confuse people as it might be construed as including other key business areas such as product development and engineering. In actuality, we have yet to see that happen. People seem to get the “Everything” concept pretty quickly and naturally, realizing that we are mainly referring to customer and prospect engagement disciplines.
Even as we take issue with some of your conclusions, I feel like we are in violent agreement on many key points. For example, the fact that Account Based Marketing is not about being “trendy,” and that adopting an account-centric approach is not a slam-dunk – it takes work. In addition, we fully agree that Account Based Marketing still has relatively low penetration among B2B companies. It is still early days for the shift to account-centric strategies, but adoption is happening even faster than what we saw with marketing automation in its early stages.
As such, it’s definitely not too early to ensure that the right and most accurate nomenclature is used to advance this new world of account-based business. For us, Account Based Everything fills that need.
Andrew, we look forward to continuing the conversation with you and your firm about account-based strategies and technology solutions and their increasingly important role in business. While we may disagree on some of the terminology to describe this business revolution, I suspect we are fully aligned on the ultimate goals.
Update 3/30/17: Andrew Moravick Responds:
Jon, I appreciate the respectful challenge on my post.
There are a lot of important points where we both agree. Where we disagree, I also think we’re both shooting for the truth, just from different perspectives.
For one, I completely agree that it’s in a business’s best interests to have tight, well-synchronized coordination and communication between marketing, sales, and customer supporting teams.
I also agree that account-based approaches are a scalable way to achieve uniform, consistent, and personalized communications.
When it comes to the term “Account-Based Everything (ABE)” itself, this is where we still differ.
While synchronization between customer-facing teams is undeniably a best practice, ABE is neither an exclusive way to reach that state, nor the state itself. Indeed, what you’re describing sounds more to me like an omni-channel customer communications mindset, but applied specifically to customer engagement in the sales process.
Suffice it to say, my aim was not to debunk “account-based” approaches. In specific contexts, they make perfect sense. I just take issue with referring to “everything” when, as you yourself say, you really mean a few, specific customer-facing functions.