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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistThu, Aug 10, 2017 12 min read

7 Steps To Account-Based Marketing For Upsell And Cross-Sell Revenue

Driving Revenue With Marketing Tactics Doesn’t Always Mean New Customer Revenue

Account Based Marketing StrategyAccount-based marketing is getting a lot of play in terms of new revenue and new customers.

But what about using it to drive revenue for current clients? Why not? A lot of the techniques are the same. Plus, your clients and customers already know you, so while you might be doing some of this already, a more structured account-based marketing plan targeted at current customers should produce more revenue and produce it faster.

The key to making this work is the same as when deploying account-based marketing for new customer acquisition. But as you’ll see below, some of the execution actually gets easier.

Take targeting, for example. You already know your customers (or at least you should), and while you might not know the perfect person to execute cross-sell opportunities, I bet you know who to call to figure that out. When you’re going after new customers, picking up the phone doesn’t always produce the desired results.

Here’s a seven-step ABM program for leveraging your current customers and generating new incremental revenue for your company.

Step 1: Profile Customers Who Are Already Buying More

I’m making the assumption that you already have customers who buy more than one product or service from you. Let’s create a persona for those companies. What do the purchasers look like? What roles? What titles? What do the company demographics look like? What do the individual buyer psychographics look like?

These personas are going to be a little different than the personas you created for attracting prospects because you don’t need to know their online behavior, their search patterns or their buyer journey. You won’t need any of that since they already work with you and you’ll easily be able to identify these individuals within your current customers.

Step 2: Understand The Reasons Behind The Activity

Next, it will be good to know why they buy more from you than most of your customers. What characteristics do they have in common? What’s going on in those businesses that cause them to buy across your entire company? Let’s understand the how, why, what and when that triggered their “all-in” relationship with your company.

Was it something within the industry that triggered it? Was it something within the company, like consolidation of vendors? Was it something that happened to them, like a supplier failing to deliver or delivering poorly? It’s important to know the events that cause clients to expand their purchases with you so you can message to those events or triggers.

Step 3: Create A Target List

OK, now who fits the profile? You’re going to mine your customer database and ERP system or CRM system to find all of the companies that fit the profile you identified above. Next, identify all of the people at those customers who you already have contact information for in your system. It’s possible you might be missing some of this information.

For example, if you want to target a subsidiary of a current client or a division of a current customer, you might not know the people in that division. But with some searching or by calling your current contact, you can add that information to your CRM and keep the program moving.

Step 4: Create A Compelling Story

Account Based Marketing StrategyThis is the most important step. Up until now, you’ve been working internally. Now you’ll be taking your story, message and assets out to your customers and related contacts.

Your story has to be disruptive. Remember, they’re doing something other than working with you right now. Why should they change? What are you going to do better for them? What’s going on that they might be missing? How can they look like a superstar if they switch?

Just because John in the other department uses you doesn’t mean Jane will or should use you. You’re going to have to help her decide that its in her best interest to at least consider you. You do that by providing a story that’s just as compelling, disruptive and emotional as one you’d use on the new business side. What insight is she unaware of, what major industry shifts are happening without her and how can working with you put her in the best possible position to be successful at the company (just like John)?

Step 5: Pair Marketing And Sales Tactics Together

This is another big and more complicated step in the process. Yes, you could pick up the phone and simply call your new potential customers, but it would be more effective and easier for the reps to coordinate marketing “air cover” to help tell the story.

This marketing support might come in the form of an email or two sent in advance of the phone campaign. It might come in the form of a new whitepaper, e-book or video that sales reps can use to help tell the story we outlined above. There might be a case study or success story about how a company leveraged its existing relationship to add new services or products at incredible value. You might want to support this with a social media campaign or even a special promotion to encourage people to take advantage of this new opportunity.

The key here is you’ll improve performance if you support sales with a relevant marketing campaign. Make sure sales is involved in the development of the campaign, make sure sales knows about the assets available to help them and make sure sales knows the timing of the campaign, too. Everything should be tightly coordinated.

Step 6: Automate The Outreach

Account Based Marketing For Cross Sell and Up SellYou want your reps focusing their time on working with clients and guiding clients through their buyer journey or decision-making process, not sending emails. It’s fairly easy (especially when you’re targeting customers) to automate the delivery of emails and content in support of the account-based marketing tactic.

Once the people are identified and the personalized elements are populated, you should consider sending a series of emails to tell your story. These emails can be set up once and scheduled to run as a sequence.

The sequence can be terminated at any time once one of your customers replies to the email campaign or schedules a session with your rep. The sequences can be ended based on activity or based on a manual shut down (for example, by a rep who is now engaged with a customer).

Since this is a very targeted campaign aimed at people you likely know well, make the email campaign as personal as possible. This means more than just saying Hi Mike or including the company name. Mention something unique you know about their business, use their company logo or leverage a news-related item you might have picked up online. The more personal, the better the response.

Step 7: Measure, Track And Adjust

Whether you’re doing ABM for new customers or doing ABM to drive revenue at existing customers, this step is key to making it hum. You should plan on continually adjusting the assets, rhythms, story and even the people targeted based on live program data. This means you need to be setting goals for the program, monitoring its performance against those goals and making adjustments weekly based on the data and feedback from the field. This might seem arduous, but it’s likely the difference between driving crazy tsunami waves of new revenue or simply making a small ripple in the ocean.

The insights that come out of this type of effort are going to feed your general marketing campaigns, too. Finding stories and assets that engage people you know (or kind of know) in sales conversation means you have the ability to leverage those same assets for people who don’t know you and your company yet. What you learn here will also improve your general marketing, helping you to drive more high-quality leads for sales and generate sales opportunities that should close more frequently and more quickly.

You can see that account-based marketing is more than just a new customer marketing tactic. In fact, you could argue it’s even better suited for cross-sell and upsell opportunities. It will certainly produce results faster when used for cross-selling and upselling, and it should do so with a lot less effort. If you’re coming out of a weak month or quarter, this might just be the extra revenue you need to blow past your revenue goals and be the revenue superstar your company needs.

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.