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One to One B2B with Account-Based Marketing

A recent article from Forbes, B2B Marketing Must Focus On 1:1, looks back at a book called One to One B2B: Customer Development Strategies for the Business to Business World.

This was written by marketing experts Martha Rogers and Don Peppers, listed as top business brains and often credited as the origin of the CRM revolution.

Although the book was written over 10 years ago, its 1:1 principles undoubtedly stand the test of time. These resonate strongly with account-based marketing (ABM) – particularly the emphasis given to long-term, sustainable relationships and the fundamental concept that ‘people buy from companies they like’.

This is a point echoed by author of the acclaimed The New Rules of Customer Engagement:

“…the success or failure of B2B companies will depend largely on their ability to forge one-on-one relationships with their customers. The faster they adopt the 1:1 marketing structure, the better they will be at meeting their collective business goals.” Daniel Newman

The book is a powerful read and brings a raft of case studies from companies that include Dell, Bentley Systems and Novartis.

Even so, it’s clear that when it was written (2001) 1:1 B2B was still in its infancy. Don Peppers himself remarked that CRM at the time was ‘halfway between ridicule and acceptance.’

So what’s changed over the last decade? Here are 4 thoughts the ABM team at Momentum:

1. The consumerisation of B2B marketing

In an era dominated by customer choice, decision makers now expect B2C-style interactions across the buying cycle – this raises the bar for marketers and creates new demand for highly polished, personalised communications.


2. New places to meet

Social, mobile, digital…sales cycles stretch way beyond traditional boundaries. Customers now assess a vendor by its digital footprint and have access to extensive information – long before they engage with a sales representative.


3. Data, data everywhere

Technology advancements have given us new ways to use data to invent and innovate. In fact, most marketing job descriptions now include requirements for technology aptitude and data literacy.


For ABMers, the challenge is to harness data for customer insights that can drive account-led action.


4. 1:1 multiplied

The number of people involved in purchase decisions is increasing. Vendors must now navigate a complex organisational web to influence decision makers across multiple buying centres.


So although the 1:1 nirvana rings true, this is a goal that demands dynamic mappings between people in the vendor-buyer relationship.


What would you add to this list? How have you applied 1:1 marketing concepts to meet your B2B goals?