What is Account-Based Customer Success?

Account-Based Everything is all the rage these days as sales teams and account managers are shifting their tactics to focus on accounts rather than just leads. You’ve probably heard of Account-Based Marketing (ABM), and I’m sure you’ve heard of Customer Success, but have you ever thought of combining both approaches to create the ultimate relationship management system?

At Kapta, we’re always looking to improve sales and relationship management systems, and Account-Based Customer Success is the culmination of two of the best selling and account management tactics. We didn’t invent Account-Based Customer Success, but we’re huge proponents of it and believe every SaaS company should be utilizing it.

In this post, we’ll discuss the benefits of Account-Based Customer Success, what makes it different than traditional approaches, and things to keep in mind when shifting over to it.


What We Love About ABM

ABM is really popular nowadays, and for a good reason. ABM takes the traditional lead-based approach to marketing and selling and expands it to an entire account made of different stakeholders and individuals within a company. We like to look at it as focusing on the whale, not the minnows.

While traditional lead-based marketing is a reactive process where a lead is needed to start the selling process, ABM will instead collect all of the leads from a particular company, regardless of their source, and compile them into a single account. This is where the “whale vs. the minnow” metaphor comes into effect. It’s easier to focus on one big whale than it is to divide your efforts among a hundred minnows and these whales can be more profitable as well.


ABM Doesn’t Currently Extend to Customer Success

ABM is a great sales and marketing tactic but it still often lacks the fundamental principles of customer success. In customer success, we want to make sure that the client not only buys our services but also succeeds using them. If the client is hitting their goals, so are you.

Another issue with ABM is that sales usually take control of the marketing process. While this can be beneficial in some cases, as generating sales is the ultimate goal, many leads that may be qualified for marketing efforts are rejected by the sales team because they feel they are companies that can’t be sold to. By injecting customer success strategies and working directly with the sales team, they can see the value in focusing on the key accounts and accept more qualified leads they otherwise would not have.


The 80/20 Rule

We’ve written about the Pareto Principle in the past, but it’s worth repeating because it is a rule that everyone should know by heart, and it is at the core of key account management. It’s as simple as this: 20% of your inputs will produce 80% of your results.

Identifying and focusing on key accounts is all determined by evaluating the 20% of accounts that produce:

  • The most revenue
  • The most strategic benefits
  • The most referrals
[To learn more about identifying key accounts and how to manage them, check out this post on making the case for Key Account Management.]

This leads us to Account-Based Customer Success. How do we combine ABM and the tenets of Key Account Management to produce a winning strategy for the sales team and account managers? Here are some of the basics of Account-Based Customer Success.


The Essentials

Make Sure Your Key Players Are in Place

You must have a dedicated team to ensure your Account-Based Customer Success strategies go smoothly and provide your required ROI. This also means that for every account you’re working with, it should contain the essential players necessary for each party to be successful. Ensure that included in each whale account is a decision-maker, influencer, and any other leads or contacts related to the client’s company.

Additionally, if you are only focusing on one individual in the account, you could be exposing the entire account to tremendous risk. It can be very effective to develop strong personal relationships with your customers; however, it’s best to spread a healthy and successful relationship across every key contact within the account.


Execute Your Strategies

To be successful in Account-Based Customer Success, you need to utilize the right strategies at the right times. Everyone involved, whether account managers or sales specialists, should be on the same page and doing their part of creating success on both ends of the field.

Some common Customer Success strategies include:

  • Onboarding: getting your clients up and running, while delivering value and success.
  • Renewals: retaining your clients
  • Usage: delivering more value to clients in ways that had not realized before
  • Expansion: clients purchasing more services, or referring new accounts.
  • Results: make sure your customer’s goals are clearly articulated (both internally and externally) and focus on getting results


Think of your strategies like a football play; everyone must be following the right steps, utilizing the correct information, and executing their part in conjunction with the other teams in the department.


How Kapta Can Help

 Automation is the key to maximizing productivity and efficiency, especially within an Account-Based Customer Success system. Platforms such as Kapta aren’t meant to replace the personal touch needed for Customer Success programs, but instead, they streamline the data collection and management work. Features such as Voice of the Customer provide account managers with the key metrics needed to ensure a successful relationship is maintained and nurtured.

Within Kapta you can also utilize account plans and templates designed to maximize efficiency during common Customer Success scenarios. Don’t bend over backward trying to reinvent the wheel when working on your relationship management; use the tools already available, enabling your account managers to spend more time developing personal, successful relationships with your clients.



Account-Based Customer Success is the ultimate relationship and key account management approach that your competitors may already be using. Give it a try, and see how your success and client-base improves when you focus on only the whales and waste less time of the minnows. If you would like to give Kapta a try, click here to request your free demo.


CEO at Kapta
Alex Raymond is the CEO of Kapta.