What is account-based marketing? How to master ABM strategy

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Account-based marketing definition

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a marketing approach where an organization directly and individually markets its products or services to a specific set of business accounts.

Companies using ABM generate 200% more revenue for their marketing efforts compared to those that don’t. (FlipMyFunnel)

During this process, the sales and marketing teams work together and are in sync with each other to deliver account-specific messages and customized programs. This increases the revenue in a short period.

According to a study, 87% of marketers believe that ABM delivers a better ROI, it improves customer lifetime values by 80% and 86% of win rates, and there is a 36% increase in customer retention rates.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What is account-based marketing?

Define account-based marketing
Account-based marketing is a marketing strategy that implements highly personalized campaigns to target specific prospects and high-value accounts.

What does ABM stand for?
ABM stands for Account-Based Marketing. It is a focused marketing approach that targets individual prospects and accounts instead of the entire industry.

What are the benefits of ABM?

Account-based marketing helps in harnessing and keeping the attention of the right people at the right time. It is a revolutionary process that personalizes approach and focuses on every detail of the customer. Here are several advantages of account-based marketing:

1. Personalized targeting

Initially, marketing strategies were used to appeal to a large number of people. But with the implementation of account-based marketing, marketing teams are personalizing content, messages, events, and campaigns based on the understanding of the process, needs, and personas of the client. This engages and addresses their needs and requirements. This establishes a strong connection between the team and the client, and also shows their commitment towards their organization. They are more likely to acquire your services.

2. Acquiring targeted clients

An ABM strategy can increase the chances of acquiring targeted clients by appealing to them on a personal level. They are more likely to be convinced by the fact that you can offer them what they need. It allows you to advertise your services by fulfilling the requirements of their organization.

87% of B2B marketers have agreed ABM delivers a higher ROI than other marketing activities. (ITSMA)

3. Stands out

Ecommerce has changed the way people consume products and services. Students no longer need to attend classroom sessions to take study courses; they can do their courses online, that too, at their own pace. Similarly, consumers do not need to spend time physically, shopping for products or services. They can get their products delivered at their doorstep, and focus on other tasks at hand.

4. Networking builds relationships

An account-based marketing strategy can help your organization become the talk of the town. Every organization you interact with on a personal and individual level can help you discuss what services or products you offer and how it can be beneficial to them. ABM incorporates specific individuals within an organization, which helps in augmenting your knowledge of their needs and requirements, and how they work while they simultaneously create more opportunities for your services to be much talked about among the team.

5. Higher ROI

According to research, 85% of marketers that measured their ROI declared that their ABM strategy outshined some of their other investments and 87% marketers implementing ABM have guaranteed that it delivers a higher ROI as compared to other marketing activities. ABM can bring about significant value and change in ROI only when it is correctly executed. ABM allows you to focus and select one target for your marketing. This saves a lot of money and provides a deeper and stronger connection between you and your client. This brings you better opportunities and an enduring relationship with your client.

6. Effective personalization

Around 75% B2B customers prefer personalized content that is tailored to their needs and requirements. Direct email marketing is of greater value and very successful as compared to generalized emails. Hyper personalization is the need of the hour, therefore direct mail personalization tools are included in the ABM strategy, so that you can tailor unique content for every prospect. Creating personas of each prospect can be very effective and it has more chances of attracting/engaging customers.

7. Customer retention

With ecommerce, businesses can retain customers by sending them new products/services recommendations, offers, deals, and discounts based on their previous transactions and buying preferences. Traditional stores do not have much data on their customers, and they are unable to retain their customers, as they need to continually provide them with premium quality products/services to keep them loyal. With ecommerce, businesses are perpetually in touch with their customers through notifications, messages, and cold calls. This keeps the customer engaged and improves brand loyalty.

8. Accurate metrics and analytics

ABM campaigns help effectively analyze data at all stages of your cycle. Smalls sets of targeted accounts are assessed on an account-by-account basis. Then the content that is most effective for a prospect is identified, and it becomes easier to go ahead with the rest of the campaign. Each account is well documented and can be used to compare and analyze the campaigns effectiveness.

91% of companies using ABM were able to increase their average deal size. (SiriusDecisions)

9. Boosts effectiveness and efficiency

In an ABM strategy, the sales and marketing teams work in sync with each other as they have the same knowledge on the prospects. They coordinate to identify the right accounts to target and which prospects are more likely to make to spend on your products and services. When the sales and marketing team collaborate, your business can easily optimize their resources, which includes money, time, and human resources.

10. Enhanced customer acquisition process

ABM strategy helps marketing teams to filter leads and eliminate poor leads. It focuses on the process of acquiring customers, which is highly beneficial for the marketing team.

11. Faster sales process and shorted sales cycles

A typical sales and marketing process can be slowed down because of the purchase decision being made by multiple stakeholders. ABM strategy can help nurture the primary decision maker and relevant prospects in order to accelerate the sales process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What are the benefits of ABM?

Why is ABM important?
ABM is important for businesses as it helps in gaining a competitive edge over other businesses by reducing costs and focusing on accounts that are more likely to convert. It guarantees customer acquisition, retention, and loyalty.

Why should you adopt ABM?
ABM should be adopted to boost sales, save and invest in the right resources, enhance customer experience, focus on the right leads, nurture leads, boost efficiency and effectiveness, personalize marketing and build a strong network.

abm blog infographic

Difference between ABM and Inbound Marketing

Account-based marketing is a strategy that uses highly targeted and personalized campaigns to covert specific accounts. On the other hand, inbound marketing is a strategy to attract, engage, and give customers a delightful experience. Account-based marketing is for big enterprises, while inbound marketing is for small or medium-sized businesses. Inbound marketing helps in attracting a huge number of people, while account-based marketing helps in narrowing it down to specific people- people who are interested. Inbound marketing feeds the ABM funnel with leads and ABM sieves and targets only those leads who are more likely to convert.

As compared to inbound marketing, account-based marketing is highly targeted. They don’t rely on broad-reaching campaigns to attract a large number of prospects. They focus only on prospects who are more likely to make the purchase, by using highly personalized campaigns tailored specifically for them. ABM builds customer profiles by using technographic and firmographic data, as well as predictive analytics.

83% of companies say the main benefit of using ABM is increasing the engagement with their target accounts. (DemandBase)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Difference between ABM and inbound marketing

What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is a strategy that attracts, engages, and gives people a delightful customer experience by providing value and building their trust in the business. Inbound marketing uses content marketing techniques, events, blogs, SEO, social media, and more to create awareness and attract new business.

How to successfully implement ABM?

1. Focus

For a successful implementation of ABM, you need to focus on quality leads and not the number of leads.

2. Teamwork

In an ABM strategy, the marketing, sales, and operations teams need to collaborate and cooperate to convert customers successfully.

3. Motivation and goals of the team

For a successful implementation of the ABM strategy, you need to understand the goals and motivation to put the appropriate programs to achieve the goals.

4. Identify issues

At times you may face some pushbacks from the sales team as they are unfamiliar with the working of the marketing team. It is essential to educate your team on an account-based approach and build a strong foundation for going ahead with the ABM strategy.

5. Right metrics and KPI

As ABM is all about quality and not quantity, metrics should focus on how to increase the revenue of your organization. Focus on revenue performance metrics like close rates, average deal size, and funnel velocity. Engagement metrics are essential between sales cycles to ensure accounts are engaging and consuming content as expected.

6. Align the targeted accounts

To determine how big the target account list should be, you first need to understand the size of the list. Then you need to add the list with accounts that are set to engage with you. This can be done by understanding the ideal customer profile and eliminate accounts that are not going to make the purchase. You must ensure that the sales and marketing teams are in sync with each other, as it is very important to develop your target account list.

Companies that implement ABM have reported an 84% improvement in reputation and 74% improvement in customer relationships. (ITSMA)

7. Audience and the budget

After creating a target account list, you must understand how to address this list intelligently. As accounts reach the end of the funnel, you must ensure that you spend money and resources on every single account to ensure they make the purchase. You need to focus on the pipeline. When an account is in the pipeline, it is very important to focus on how marketing can help in making them customers soon. Once the account has turned into a customer, marketing should focus on that particular account, to help and support the account team’s ability to renew and upsell.

8. Align campaign and segment prioritization

Marketing alignment is crucial. As the focus is set on targeted accounts, you need to understand the various marketing functions and tactics in the marketing funnel. You must ensure that you segment the list based on the customer’s journey and tailor content across each channel to have a significant impact on every stage of their journey.

9. Collaborate with the sales team

It is essential to engage sales teams with the various programs that have been put together. The sales and marketing teams need to be in sync on the KPIs. This way, both teams are linked and generate more pipelines for your organization.

What are the best ABM strategies?

Categorize your named account list

A named account list is similar to a target account list. It will determine how you reach the right accounts. These accounts will match the ideal customer profile, and they are most likely to convert into customers. You must ensure that the sales and marketing teams are working on the same target accounts and then categorize them according to the best opportunities and various other factors. Every category represents higher values to the organization, and accordingly, you can invest in each of these categories.

Use personalized ads as leverage

Segment and personalize account-based ads to particular roles within a team during the buying decision. You need to personalize these ads to a specific person on the purchase committee of a business. This can be done by using the data obtained by marketing automation tools.

91% of marketers that use ABM have indicated a larger deal size. (SiriusDecisions)

Set up a personalized email sequence

To increase engagement and retain customers, a personalized email sequence needs to be created. This needs to be helpful, cordial, and brief. Refrain from being invasive and obtrusive. You can have a significant impact on your key accounts by personalizing and aligning messages from the website to the inbox.

Deliver prompt and personalized emails

You need to do extensive research on the main decision-makers at your target account to send relevant and personalized messages through direct emails across all channels. You can send insightful information or gifts (synced with the sales cycle) at the right time in the case, in case the contact has gone cold.

Host events

Speed up the sales cycle by organizing events and meet your customers or leads face to face. You can also host events for particular target accounts. In case you are unable to host events, seek out for the target account at other events they may be attending. It is important to meet your prospects face to face so that they can remember your brand. Lastly, after the event, you must follow up and keep them engaged to drive them to make the purchase.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What are the best ABM strategies?

What is ABM strategy?
ABM strategy is a personalized approach that expedites sales cycles of targeted accounts.

How to start an ABM process?

Create an Account-based marketing team

For a successful ABM strategy, it is very important for sales and marketing teams to unite and work in sync. The team should consist of team leads from sales, marketing, and sales development. The basic roles include business development reps, sales database administrator, marketing operations manager, content manager, and graphic designer.

Define your ABM strategy and goals

After forming the team, you need to define your goals, find out what you want to accomplish. Accordingly, you need to create a strategy and see that everyone in the team is on the same page. In case you have multiple goals, first, you need to focus on one goal and slowly keep accomplishing the rest or completely transition to an account-based strategy.

Companies that use ABM experience a 36% higher customer retention rate and 38% higher sales win rate. (MarketingProfs)

Select the right technology

With the growing landscape of ABM software, ABM can be done at scale. ABM technology is an essential part of the strategy as it helps engaging your customers through all the channels. It can help engage not only one lead but the entire account. It also allows you to personalize based on their personas, campaigns, sales stages, and more.

Identify target accounts

After understanding the goals and selecting the right technology, you need to identify the accounts you want to target. These accounts must be based on the ideal customer profile. In case you do not have an ideal customer profile, create one to focus on the accounts that need to be targeted.

Select the right channel

ABM helps you engage with the right accounts and deploy your account-based marketing campaigns using various channels like email, social media, website, blogs, videos, display ads, in-person events, webinars, virtual events, search engine ads, whitepapers, and eBooks. Create targeted content that will engage the prospects or customers. You can also create marketing assets for various buyer personas, organization sizes, deal sizes or stages of the sales cycle.

Run ABM campaigns

Run your ABM campaigns across all channels and creating an impression on the minds of the targeted accounts. Follow up by using simple channels like phone calls and emails. By now, the marketing team will have already used ABM programs and technology to generate brand awareness. Engage the target account’s decision-makers and drive them through the sales funnel. Send them content that is effective, relevant, and engaging, and keep refreshing and changing it every forty-five days.

Assess and optimize

It is very important to accurately measure your ABM campaign. It also needs to be optimized as and when required.

What are ABM challenges and their solutions?

Here are certain challenges that you may come across:

Right content

The right content keeps the target accounts engaged throughout their customer journey. At times you may find it very challenging to deliver a good content experience with the right content. Therefore, the solution to this is to create personalized account content at every stage of their journey, as it individually gives them a unique and personalized experience.

Right target account

It can be challenging to develop a manageable process to identify the right accounts to target. ABM strategy requires you to focus on accounts that will surely make a purchase. Therefore, inbound leads can be used to identify those accounts. It also ensures that you focus and nurture the right accounts.

Companies that use ABM become 67% better at closing deals when they sync their sales and marketing teams. (Marketo)

Personalized customer experience

Although ABM promises to connect with consumers on a personal level at times, it can be challenging to deliver a personalized customer experience. Therefore, to give customers a personalized experience, you need to create unique and relevant messages. These should focus on their pain points and provide solutions for it. More the personalization, better the experience.

Right website experience

The right website experience is the key to ABM as it increases engagement. It is imperative to examine and analyze people visiting your website and what content engages them. Therefore, it is essential to personalize CTA’s for an individual at every stage of their customer journey. Imagery and video content needs to be personalized, and they also have to be tested and measured to analyze what works and what does not.

Marketing and Sales

In ABM, marketing and sales teams work together. Therefore in order to measure their contribution and efforts, they need to understand the metrics and goals to expedite the best approach. It is very important to track and measure every facet of the ABM campaign.

Examples of ABM


A conference room scheduling software and tools company called Robin implemented the most successful ABM campaign. To run their business, they rely on technology sales. However, they decided to focus on collecting photographs of beautiful office spaces from their clients and used them to target audiences on several social media platforms. Their website traffic increased by 50% and their leads by 20%. Creativity can help you stand out.


Salsify is a software company with a multichannel approach to ABM. They sent marketing messages to their targeted list of accounts and followed up by sending targeted ads, emails, and displayed relevant content at the roadshow event in New York City. Within two hours, the sales team closed loads of accounts. It exceeded conversion goals by 22%.


GumGum, a media company, used the power of social media to get McDonald’s (fast food joint) attention. They sent hundred burger kits to the executives at McDonald’s as well as their own media agencies. They designed and showcased their brand on those burger kits. It also included every individual’s name on the receipt. They promoted campaigns across various social media channels through videos and tagged important decision-makers. This resulted in securing a meeting with the main stakeholders of the company.


A cloud-based data warehousing company called Snowflake used its in-house expertise to develop an excellent library of high-quality content. They use this content to create personalized experiences for their target accounts. Their campaigns are mostly one on one and are always in sync with their sales rep to create personalized content and messages, as they have complete knowledge of the accounts. This has driven conversions and built their credibility. They also engage their clients by offering weekly demos or free trials.

Top Books on ABM

  1. ABM is B2B: Why B2B Marketing and Sales is Broken and How to Fix it.
  2. Account-Based Marketing: How to Target and Engage the Companies That Will Grow Your Revenue.
  3. A Practitioner’s Guide to Account-Based Marketing: Accelerating Growth in Strategic Accounts.
  4. Unleash Possible: A Marketing Playbook That Drives B2B Sales.
  5. The Book on Account Based Marketing: Practical tips for exponential revenue growth.
  6. Spear Selling: The Ultimate Account-Based Sales Guide for the Modern Digital Sales Professional.
  7. The Revenue Acceleration Rules: Supercharge Sales and Marketing Through Artificial Intelligence, Predictive Technologies and Account-Based Strategies.

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Mayank Trivedi

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