Account Based Marketing:
Definition, Tactics & Strategy

What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?

Account-Based Marketing is a highly targeted, personalized outreach strategy to a group of top accounts. ABM is a coordinated effort on the part of your sales and marketing teams to move target accounts through the funnel faster. This is in contrast to a traditional batch-and-blast approach to demand generation.

Businesses who use Account-Based Marketing see…

  • Higher Returns
    Because you are focusing on the best accounts for your business, the average ABM sale is larger than deals closed through typical demand generation, so returns are higher. Altera Group found that 97% of marketers said ABM had somewhat higher or much higher ROI than any other marketing initiatives.
  • Faster Deals
    As you actively target each of the key decision makers during the buying process, you minimize your chances of a single person holding up the deal.
  • Marketing and Sales Alignment
    Sales depend on marketing to bring in warm leads. Marketing has stepped up to the challenge, in part thanks to innovations in account based marketing solutions. But there are still instances where both teams target separate accounts. ABM requires cooperation between teams as they work together to target key decision makers within the same accounts.
  • Less Waste
    With ABM, you’re only focusing on the accounts that are most likely to drive revenue. This means you waste less time on leads that don’t matter or are unqualified. The key is to leverage account based marketing data, such as firmographics, technographics, and other modern B2B attributes.

ABM Adoption is Taking Off

ABM is being used to complement traditional sales and marketing efforts, allowing teams to target the accounts that matter most. ABM enables you to use the data collected on target accounts to personalize your sales and marketing efforts for increased effectiveness.

In addition, the data you collect regarding professional pain points and personal interests can be leveraged to make your communications more personalized and relevant.

This ABM resources page will help as you embark on creating an Account-Based Marketing strategy within your organization. Here we provide strategies, tactics, tips, and tools for all things ABM.

“ABM is a strategic approach that coordinates personalized marketing and sales efforts to open doors and deepen engagement at specific accounts.”

—Jon Miller, CEO of Engagio and Co-Founder of Marketo

How Does Account-Based Marketing Work?

Account-based marketing means more business. Your deals move faster, your sales and marketing teams are better aligned, and you’ll see bigger ROI. Today’s B2B buyer is self-educating and self-selecting. She is part of a team of decision makers who have little time or patience for vendor communication. Meeting these communication needs head-on is what ABM is all about.

How to Make Your Account-Based Marketing Strategy Successful

ABM requires a full commitment to a new way of doing business. ABM can help increase results while reducing the amount of money wasted on untargeted and unqualified audiences, but you’ll need to commit to doing it right.

According to SiriusDecisions, 90% of marketers recognize the value of ABM.

How to Implement an Account-Based Marketing Program?

Getting an ABM program into motion will take time. But once you’re up and running, the return on investment will speak for itself. After identifying accounts and laying some groundwork, there are two key pillars to ensuring ABM success. These include:

  1. Use predictive marketing for account selection.
  2. Use intent data for personalization.
  3. Create multi-channel, targeted marketing programs.
  4. Monitor and measure success.

Laying Groundwork: Leveraging Smart Data for Account Selection

ABM begins with leveraging the right data to select strategic accounts. The overall goal in this early phase is reducing the number of account types you target. This focus will yield more qualified leads and less wasted time. This will require refining personas, leveraging predictive account selection, and syncing up your marketing automation platforms. This is about laying the groundwork. Once this step is done, you’ll be ready to implement a successful ABM strategy.

  • Define your personas.
    Defining your account persona* will help to build messaging, segmentation and content. Once you’ve defined your account persona, you’re ready to start selecting your target accounts.*An account persona can be described as a representation of your ideal account. Personas are developed based on demographic, firmographic (company size, industry, revenue), technographic (what products and technologies are they using), and in some cases, intent data (which leads or accounts are actively conducting research online).
  • Narrow accounts through manual or predictive selection.
    For manual selection, either have the sales reps choose* based on their existing connections, or gather data from CRM and marketing automation platforms.*Simply gather your sales reps in a room to pick accounts based on past experience, gut feel, and knowledge of where your product fits best. Simple as that!

For predictive selection, combine CRM and marketing automation data with external data signals to build a predictive model. By using predictive marketing for your account selection, you can leverage data on over 11 million B2B accounts to derive a target list of those that look most like your ideal customer.

In contrast to a manual approach, predictive marketing provides more in-depth insights into your ideal account profile so that you can let data-science determine your account selection.

Target Account Selection Resources: How to Select Accounts

Personalize with Predictive: Apply Intent Data in Your ABM

Predictive marketing uses data to define your audience, so you can be more relevant with your targeting and grow your business at a faster pace. Predictive marketing looks deep into the data within your CRM to find the right list of accounts for your ABM strategy. And now with intent data, you can use relevant topics to hyper-personalize your outreach. Think of predictive marketing as the ultimate strategic partner to ABM.

Consider the following three core impacts of predictive marketing, and how they are utilized in an account-based strategy:

  • Growth
    Predictive marketing enables you to increase the size of your database with the right accounts. Using your data models, predictive demand generation provides insight into what accounts you should target with your marketing and sales efforts.
  • Alignment
    With predictive marketing, you can identify what size/type of company you should be targeting, and you can actually ensure that you are reaching the right accounts. This helps to avoid wasting money trying to reach those who are unlikely to buy your product.
  • Performance
    When every facet of the marketing team is using data to focus their efforts on the accounts that matter most to your business, more of those accounts will close. See more on how to rally your teams together and be an ABM hero.

Predictive marketing provides you with data-driven intelligence on how to select your target accounts, so your account-based marketing tactics have a much higher success rate. By not relying on guesswork to determine your target accounts, you can rest assured that marketing and sales’ time is spent on the right accounts.

Measuring ABM Success Metrics

If you’re going to spend time and effort executing an ABM strategy, measuring the long-term success of your program is a no brainer. In most cases, you won’t need to splurge on a host of new account based marketing solutions to effectively measure ABM metrics. By make sure to start with the best foundation of account based marketing data.

How is it Different than Traditional Demand Gen?

  • You’re measuring accounts, not leads.
    Success with just one lead within a target company doesn’t mean much anymore. Marketers and sales reps should look for several decision makers at key accounts.
  • You’ll focus on quality, not quantity.
    Don’t get rid of your MQL threshold, but keep it in context. One meaningful conversation with a decision-maker is more valuable than 20 leads from unqualified prospects.
  • You’ll measure progress throughout the buyer journey.
    ABM deals are often with larger companies, which in some cases might mean longer sales cycles. Set up multi-attribution tracking, so you can celebrate early-stage wins. In time, your ABM program will impact longer-term business initiatives like win rates, deal velocity, and average contract value.
  • Coverage
    First, you’ll want to keep an eye on coverage. This is the amount of relevant contacts and information you have on those important contacts within a target account. This data is typically housed within your CRM. Essentially, coverage asks you to measure the completeness of your account data.
    • Relevant contacts
    • Relevant information
    • Data completeness
  • Engagement
    Engagement is the measure of an account’s interactions with your brand. The keyword here is account. You will want to track an account’s engagement with your brand the same way you would traditionally track engagement:
    • Website traffic
    • Form fills
    • Successful touchpoints (like email opens and phone calls)
  • Influence
    Finally, we get to measure how marketing influenced the end result—a closed deal. As your ABM strategy starts to mature you should look at metrics like:
    • Deal velocity
    • Win Rate
    • Average Contract Values
    • Customer Retention

By tracking specific accounts as closely as ABM metrics require, marketing is able to point to correlations between specific engagement and sales outcomes. Marketers should keep a close eye on which programs influence these outcomes.

Contact us if you’re ready to get started.