Every B2B company has to find a balance between customer acquisition and existing account growth. Many are finding tremendous opportunity for revenue in the latter and shifting their focus to the accounts with the most growth potential, but it's not a simple transition. eMarketer's Jillian Ryan spoke with Mark Kovac, global head of Bain & Company's Commercial Excellence Group, about what measures need to be taken by B2B marketers to drive more revenue from a small subset of existing accounts.
In your work with B2Bs, where do you see marketing departments concentrating their efforts?
We've noticed a shift—especially with larger, more traditional B2B companies—where marketing focuses less on trade shows and lead generation on their website.
There are company-wide resource allocation shifts to account-based management support. Instead of concentrating on acquisition, there's now an effort to use data to identify and align cross-functionally around the full customer life cycle, including retention and upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
Does that mean you see less emphasis on lead generation and top-of-the-funnel initiatives?
B2Bs have a real choice around acquisition vs. share of wallet [SOW] marketing, in which growing the contract size of an existing customer set is more of a priority than new customer onboarding. SOW is a customer measure that tells marketers how much more an existing account can potentially spend on a product or service or with your business over time.
Many companies we work with want to do both, but the capabilities and the data are very different. Marketers require a different stack for each part of the life cycle.
Our advice is to do the math. You know what your goals are. In order to achieve them, do you need to go out and win new accounts, or do you have the opportunity to reach your goal by increasing your SOW? In our experience, the easiest money is always from SOW increases.