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What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM) and to Implement It

Account-Based Marketing

In any successful sales team, several different marketing strategies will be at-play at once, focusing on different clients, markets, products, and mediums. One of these is account-based marketing, which is an important term that describes the practices of directing significant resources to specific, high-value accounts, in order to appeal directly to their needs and prioritize those most likely to make a purchase. Read on to find out everything you need to know about account-based marketing tactics and how you can implement them in your team today.

Main Takeaways

  • Account-based marketing treats specific clients or accounts as a market, often requiring substantial attention and resources.
  • An account-based marketing strategy often involves a high degree of personalization.
  • Account-based marketing involves many different tactics.
  • Account-based marketing differs from account-based sales.

What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?

Account-based marketing is the practice of using tailored marketing strategies for specific accounts, often prioritizing the largest clients that are likely to generate the most revenue for your company. But let’s dive into what account-based marketing actually means in practice, and why it is so important that your team has a solid understanding of it.

ABM involves identifying the customers and accounts that are worthy of this level of prioritization, often by looking at previous sales history and the needs of that specific account. It is a way of getting the most value from the accounts that matter the most and often describes processes of upselling and cross-selling to existing customers.

It is much more targeted and resource-intensive than simple lead generation, which simply describes the process of sourcing any and all potential customers. It is the opposite of a marketing approach that consists of simply casting as wide of a net as possible in the hope of capturing the attention of a broad potential customer base.

ABM frequently targets already existing accounts that your marketing team will already know have a need that can be filled by your company. Given that a small number of larger accounts are often a majority source of revenue for a seller company, engaging in ABM can be a vital way to boost overall sales and drive long-term growth.

What Are Account-Based Marketing Tactics and Best Practices?

There are many account-based marketing tactics that have a proven track record of success within a wide variety of industries. The first step is always to identify high-value accounts so that you know exactly who you should be targeting with your account-based marketing strategy.

You can work with your sales team to narrow down your list of high-value accounts by looking at clients that you have a strong track record of success with already, as these are the most likely to be receptive to future marketing campaigns.

You can also look at existing engagement with your marketing materials, including newsletters, CTA buttons, and social media campaigns. Once you have identified your high-value accounts, it is time to start using tactics.

Personalization and one-to-one engagement are cornerstones of any ABM strategy, so make sure that you are prioritizing specialized, bespoke, and meaningful forms of engagement. This could include direct messaging in the form of emails and direct mail that contains carefully-crafted messages that are specific to the needs of the account you are targeting.

It could include one-off events or webinars that make the client feel special and that can be tailor-made to be especially timely for the account that you are targeting. It can also involve adding personalization features to your website so that the target account will see exactly how you can meet their requirements any time that they choose to visit it.

All of these tactics will boost engagement with the accounts that have the highest potential.

IMAGE: ILLUSTRATION DEPICTING THREE-TIERED PYRAMID WITH SMALL NUMBER OF ‘HIGH VALUE’ CLIENTS (5) REPRESENT THE TOP, MEDIUM IN THE MIDDLE (15), AND LOWER VALUE AT THE BOTTOM (45)

How to Implement Account-Based Marketing?

To implement a successful account-based marketing strategy, there are several actionable steps that you can take:

  • Establish your ABM team: The first step is to put together a killer ABM team that can cover every aspect of your account-based marketing tactics. You will need to appoint a head of ABM to coordinate any and all ABM activities. You will need a campaign manager to oversee individual campaigns, and a marketing manager to curate all relevant materials. Field marketers will be needed to conduct the on-the-ground activity, and sales team members will need to be present to avoid mixed messaging or overlap.
  • Identify your high-value accounts: Once you have your account-based marketing team, it’s time to get to work identifying the right accounts. Focus on sales volume, interest, market need, and timing. Prioritize specific accounts that are closer to completing a sale with you than others. Be reactive and adjust the list as needed.
  • Agree on messaging: It is vital that you, your marketing team, and your sales team all agree on the messaging and tone of your ABM campaigns. Consistency with each specific account is key, especially if multiple people are targeting a single account. Ideally, there should be an accessible marketing campaign guide that is tailored to the account you are targeting, that everyone in your ABM team can consult.
  • Select your strategy: Finally, you will need to decide on and coordinate your ABM strategy. Actionable goals and timelines are a vital part of this process, so don’t be afraid to take charge and set deadlines. You will need to decisively allocate the appropriate amount of resources to the ABM campaign, and ensure that they are used the right way.

What Are Accounted-Based Sales?

In account-based sales, actually completing the sale with those identified accounts is the goal. This is different than account-based marketing because ABM is focused entirely on marketing, while ABS is focused on the sales aspect. In ABM, the goal is to use the data to generate high-value and hyper-targeted leads, using tailored marketing tactics. In order to avoid overlap and risk losing high-value accounts, it is vital that ABM and ABS teams work together, with as little ‘siloization’ as possible.

Now that you know everything there is to know about account-based marketing, it is time to put it into action. Once you’ve pulled it off, your marketing team will be able to secure genuinely valuable customers for the long-term.

About Lihi Lotker

Lihi is the Head of Growth at Lusha.co