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Account-Based Marketing

Account-based marketing unites marketing and sales teams to focus on specific, target companies within a market.


Account-Based Marketing

In the engagement economy, account-based marketing is a valuable asset to marketing and sales teams. The current era is one where everyone and everything is connected, and marketing channels, strategies, and technologies are continually introduced and developed.

These constantly evolving resources make it possible to connect with customers on an entirely new level, making this an exciting time for marketers. But new opportunities present new challenges — information abundance, increased buyer expectations, and the struggle to stand out amongst the competitors being some of them. To reach their goals, many marketing and sales teams turn to account-based marketing.

In this guide you’ll learn all about account-based marketing, its benefits, and how to implement an account-based marketing strategy within your organization.

What Is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a business marketing strategy. It is a focused approach to B2B marketing in which marketing and sales teams work in unison, concentrating resources on a set of target companies — referred to as accounts — within a market. This enables marketers to target best-fit accounts and convert them into customers.

ABM is not a new concept. However, evolving technology and changing marketing landscapes have recently caused ABM to see a resurgence. The reason for this is that implementing an ABM strategy can help improve marketing return on investment (ROI). An ABM strategy makes it possible to align sales with marketing. And this can drive attributed revenue and generate more conversions and qualified leads.

In the past, account-based marketing presented something of a challenge. The high level of personalization that ABM requires meant that it was not only difficult, but also an expensive initiative to scale. However, today’s new and constantly improving technology makes scaling ABM to a variety of organizations both easier and more affordable, which is partially why ABM is now so widely implemented.

However, the evolution of technology and marketing landscapes also presents certain challenges to companies. Information abundance, increased buyer expectations, and a greater need than ever to stand out amongst the competitors mean that marketing is more of a two-way street than ever before.

It’s not enough to push promotions to your prospective customers with no personalized effort. In order to be successful, you need to engage actively with your customers and practice precise, targeted marketing — and that’s why ABM has become such an important asset in many marketers’ toolkits.

The Benefits: Why Marketers Choose ABM Over Other Strategies

There are many benefits to implementing account-based marketing. A successful ABM initiative is capable of boosting revenue, optimizing marketing efforts, and providing in-depth metrics that other strategies cannot.

Account-based marketing is a particularly popular marketing tactic for B2B companies targeting larger accounts, and it’s especially beneficial for companies trying to sell to large accounts with long sales cycles and large deal sizes.

The benefits of ABM include the following:

Clear ROI

Account-based marketing is a precise and measurable marketing tactic with the central goal of prioritizing ROI. This results in clear business results – in fact, the 2014 ISTMA Account-Based Marketing Survey found that, compared to other marketing initiatives, ABM “yields higher returns per marketing dollar than other marketing investments.”

Personalized Marketing

Generic marketing is not as likely to attract customer attention as it once did. Account-based marketing, however, is personalized. It’s a strategy that is geared specifically to the individual customer, their business, and their specific stage in the customer journey — and this makes target customers far more likely to engage with content.


Sales and Marketing Alignment

Account-based marketing is one of the most efficient ways to get your sales and marketing teams synced up. ABM encourages marketing and sales teams to work together to identify target accounts and create customized campaigns for them. This collaborative effort enables them to align and move individual accounts through the pipeline — both before and after lead conversion.


Better Resource Management

ABM is focused on investing time in promising, high-value accounts. This enables marketers to focus their resources more efficiently. By running marketing programs specifically optimized for target accounts, marketing and sales teams are more likely to close deals and free up resources that would previously have been wasted.


Shorter Sales Cycles

Major purchase decisions typically slow down the sales process. The sales process involves multiple stakeholders and starts at a lower organizational level, slowly moving upwards to the primary decision maker. In ABM, however, all prospects (i.e. the buying committee as a whole) are nurtured simultaneously, and this effectively shortens the length of the sales cycle.


Better Insights

Because you’re measuring a smaller set of target accounts across email, ads, web, and events, ABM makes it easier to track goals and metrics and analyze the effectiveness of your campaigns. And because ABM is so personalized, the data collected from your analyses will be more detailed and offer much better insights than you would’ve collected otherwise.



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Examples: Account-Based Marketing in the Real World

An account-based marketing strategy is composed of a mix of marketing tactics unique to the company employing them. Every ABM strategy, however, begins with:

  • Creating meaningful segments,
  • Identifying marketing programs that can be personalized to those segments, and
  • Determining what channels are the most impactful for reaching the segments (email, website, events etc.)

The target segments you choose to base your marketing strategy on will be the ones that are able to add the most value to your organization. Below are some real-world examples of how ABM tactics can be used across different channels.


In-person events are one of the most effective ways to persuade decision-makers. Among other efforts, an ABM strategy for events can include:

  • Personalized invitations to key prospects from target accounts,
  • Special VIP dinners,
  • Schwag and personalized gifts for target accounts, and/or
  • Personalized follow-up after the event.


Like events, webinars are a highly customizable tactic. Their content can be timed and tailored to be relevant for specific target accounts, and follow-up after the webinar can easily be personalized.

Direct Mail

Direct mail has become an increasingly popular method of reaching prospects within a company. Everyone is overloaded with email, meaning your marketing efforts will have more competition.

Direct mail, however, presents a unique opportunity to stand out. And because ABM is more targeted and has much higher revenue potential, the gifts you send your prospects can be of higher value, too.

Email Marketing

Even though the competition is fierce, email continues to be a valuable channel for account-based marketing. Unlike a volume-based marketing strategy, an ABM email campaign involves tailoring personalized messages for each company and key prospects from target accounts.

Paid Advertising

Social media ads and Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising are common means of reaching out to target accounts online. Social media platforms offer different ways of doing this — for example, Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to target specific personas and companies in your advertising. And technologies like IP targeting and retargeting enable you to tailor your display campaigns to focus on a number of target accounts.

Website Personalization

Personalized search engine marketing (SEM) and inbound marketing campaigns aren’t the only ways ABM drives traffic to your website. Once visitors reach your site, website personalization technology can be used to transform what would’ve otherwise been a generic website experience into a tailored and account-specific experience for target prospects.

Account-Based Marketing: Planning, Implementing, and Optimizing

Planning a successful ABM program starts with putting together a list of carefully selected high-value accounts. Once your targets are defined, your sales and marketing teams will work together to create and deliver personalized campaigns that, through the right channels, produce the best possible results.

Below, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to how you can implement account-based marketing.

Step 1: Discover High-Value Accounts

Using all the business intelligence and firmographic data you can find, start by identifying and prioritizing your high-value accounts. Consider strategic factors such as:

  • Revenue potential,
  • Market influence,
  • Likelihood to be a return customer, and
  • Potential for higher than average profit margins.

Step 2: Identify Decision Makers

Find out how your target accounts are structured. Identify the key internal players — the decision makers and influencers — and how decisions are made.

Step 3: Define Content and Messaging

An effective ABM strategy employs content that directly addresses clear, significant, and individual business challenges that your target account faces. Define your content and messaging accordingly: both should be valuable and personalized, addressing your target account’s specific needs.

Step 4: Determine Channels

Determine which channels — such as web, mobile, and email — your target accounts leverage, and communicate with them where your efforts will be most effective. Consider which channels hold the most value to the specific roles or industries you’re targeting.

You should take into account that opt-in rules and other restrictions may apply to your region of interest. Channels include LinkedIn, Microsoft Bing, and Google Mail (to which you can send personalized email sequences via HubSpot).

Step 5: Execute Campaigns

For maximum impact, you need to align the marketing and sales teams’ efforts and coordinate your campaigns across channels. Modern technology enables marketers to execute targeted and coordinated ABM campaigns much more efficiently and at a much greater scale than was once possible.

Step 6: Analyze Data

To ensure that your efforts are effective and that your results will continuously improve, be sure to test, measure, and optimize your account-based marketing campaigns. For an accurate idea of your results, analyze the data you gather from individual campaigns and trends to understand things at the account level and on aggregate, respectively.


We’ve taken you through what account-based marketing (ABM) is and why it’s become such a popular strategy in modern marketing.

In summary, here are some key takeaways:

  • Account-based marketing is a focused B2B marketing approach.
  • It requires marketing and sales teams to work together to target best-fit accounts and convert them into customers.
  • Once difficult and expensive, ABM has now become far easier and more affordable to implement and scale due to today’s new and improving technology.
  • ABM offers numerous benefits including personalized marketing, better resource management, and better insights.
  • Planning and implementing an ABM strategy require continual alignment between your marketing and sales teams.

Your account based markrting is only as good as your targeting

See how can find and prioritze the right accounts for your account-based marketing