What Is Account-Based Marketing?

B2B marketers often try to cast a very wide net with their marketing campaigns in hopes of appealing to as many companies as possible in their target market. Account-based marketing (ABM) is an alternative B2B strategy that concentrates sales and marketing resources on a clearly defined set of target accounts within a market and employs personalized campaigns designed to resonate with each account.

With ABM, your marketing message is based on the specific attributes and needs of the account you’re targeting, hence the name account-based marketing.

said ABM had a somewhat higher or much higher ROI than other marketing initiatives

Research from the Altera Group

Who Uses Account-Based Marketing?

Many companies, particularly those seeking to acquire specific high-value customers find that they are better served with an ABM strategy rather than taking a broad-reaching approach to their sales and marketing effort.

Because ABM requires more account-level personalization than traditional marketing it has historically cost more to implement. However, advances in marketing technology have enabled marketers to employ ABM for much less than previously possible and at much greater scale.

Top 5 Benefits of Account-Based Marketing

1. Clear ROI

Effective ABM drives clear business results. In fact, compared to other marketing initiatives, the 2014 ITSMA Account-Based Marketing Survey found that “ABM delivers the highest Return on Investment of any B2B marketing strategy or tactic.”

2. Reduced resource waste

Because ABM is so targeted, it allows marketers to focus their resources efficiently and run marketing programs that are specifically optimized for target accounts.

3. It’s personal and optimized

Account-based marketing tactics entail personalizing your messaging and communications to specific accounts so that your campaigns resonate with these target audiences. Targeted customers are more likely to engage with content that is geared specifically to them, and is relevant to their business and stage in the buyer journey.

4. Tracking goals & measurement is clear

When you’re analyzing the effectiveness of campaigns, whether email, ads, web, or events, it’s easier to draw clear conclusions, because you look at a smaller set of target accounts instead of a vast set of metrics.

5. Sales Alignment is Easier

ABM is perhaps one of the most efficient ways to align sales and marketing. This is primarily due to the fact that the marketer running an ABM program operates with a mindset very similar to sales—thinking in terms of accounts and how to target them, bring them to the table, and generate revenue from them.

of customers say they prefer personalized offers

Research According to Aberdeen

Key Steps of Account-Based Marketing

Step 1.
Discover & define your high-value accounts

Use all the firmographic data and business intelligence you can find to help you prioritize your high-value accounts. Consider revenue potential as well as other strategic factors like influence in the market, likelihood to purchase repeatedly from you, or potential for higher than average profit margins.

Step 2.
Map accounts & identify key internal players

Identify how your target accounts are structured, how decisions are made and who the decision makers and influencers are.

Step 3.
Define content & personalized messaging

An effective ABM initiative employs valuable content that addresses clear and significant business challenges the target account faces. Think about how your messaging and content can address the target account’s specific business challenges.

Step 4.
Determine optimal channels

Communicate with your audience on all the channels they leverage, including web, mobile, and email. Consider which channels will be more effective for specific roles or industries you might be targeting and consider things such as opt-in rules or other restrictions in your region.

Step 5.
Execute targeted & coordinated campaigns

It's critical to coordinate your campaigns across channels and align the marketing and sales teams' efforts for maximum impact. Technology is enabling marketers to coordinate and execute ABM campaigns at much greater scale and more efficiently than ever before.

Step 6.
Measure, learn, and optimize

Be sure to test, measure, and optimize your ABM marketing campaigns to ensure they are effective and you improve your results over time. Look at the results of individual campaigns as well as trends at the account level and in the aggregate (all target accounts) to get a more accurate picture.

NEW! The Definitive Guide to Account-Based Marketing

Learn how to create a winning ABM strategy with sales, unify your lead and account-based efforts and coordinate effective account-based experiences (ABX) together as one revenue team.

GET THE GUIDE See More Resources