What is Account-Based Marketing?

Everything you need to know about how the best B2B Marketing is done.

What is Account-Based Marketing?

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) helps B2B marketers identify and target the accounts you value the most. Account-Based Marketing solutions typically include account-based data and technology to help you identify, attract, engage, convert, close and then measure progress against customers and prospects.

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ABM Your Way

B2B marketers have developed three distinct types of ABM and companies are working to develop programs and competencies in all three types. Ideally, the different types align directly to growth potential and sales coverage for different types and tiers of existing customers and prospects.

One-to-One

A dedicated, senior-level marketer works in full partnership with the account team to create a highly customized marketing programs for “markets of one.”

One-to-Few

Takes the research-based principles of One-to-One and applies them to larger target audiences made up of groups of accounts. This approach typically brings together clusters of 5-15 accounts with similar business issues, often in the same industry.

One-to-Many

Emphasizes personalization at scale. This approach typically addresses a strategically curated target account list of several hundred (or more) named accounts. In order to achieve this level of scale, technology needs to play an important role.

Mix and Match to Suit your Needs

The good news? You don’t have to choose. The highest-performing companies implement a blended approach—and benefit from an optimal balance between breadth and depth.

Few, if any, companies can afford to provide true One-to-One ABM to even a fraction of their individual accounts. But most companies have at least a handful of absolutely critical high-value accounts. Relying on a One-to-Few or One-to-Many approach, without doing One-to-One for those key accounts, could mean missing a great deal of opportunity or risking future revenue, by failing to deliver an appropriately customized experience.

Read more about blended ABM in Raising the Game in B2B Marketing: 2018 ABM Benchmarking Study >

Emma Chalwin
SVP, AMER Marketing at Salesforce
Driving an account-first approach to marketing has been a fundamental game changer with Sales. My team is able to show tangible marketing impact in the accounts that matter to Sales and provide actionable insights on where to dial up marketing investment. It’s no longer a question of “what has marketing done for me lately?” but more “how can marketing do even more of these things to help my sales team exceed their quota?”

Ready. Set. Start

Account-Based Marketing Fundamentals

Begin with the Basics

Most marketers understand the importance of focusing on accounts but struggle to implement and get buy-in for their program. Sound familiar? We recommend starting with the fundamentals and then moving forward from there.
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Advanced Account-Based Marketing

Move to the Next Level

Been doing Account-Based Marketing for a bit and have a formalized plan in place where you’re executing against a target account list for your outbound and inbound marketing efforts? Take your marketing strategy to the next level by investing in new technology to automate and scale your ABM efforts.
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Account-Based Marketing Fundamentals

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Benefits of Account-Based Marketing

Align Sales and Marketing

Account-Based Marketing is a collaborative endeavor between Sales and Marketing. Shifting the focus to customer accounts, rather than individuals, bridges the gap by focusing everyone on a list of target companies.

Focused Marketing & Sales Strategy

While “spray and pray” campaigns may work for B2C, they aren’t as effective for B2B’s limited number of potential Buyers. With ABM, you spend your time, and money, on the key accounts and decision makers that matter most.

Precise, Holistic Measurement

Implementing an ABM program requires shifting away from traditional lead generation metrics and focusing on account-specific data. Measuring by accounts makes you an active owner of the revenue chain, moving from inquiries and click-through rates to pipeline and close rates.

Market Prior to a Form Fill

With an ABM approach, you can identify the company an unknown visitor is coming from. With this investment in the right tech, you can focus on the visitors that matter the most.

Highly Qualified MQLS and SALS

ABM campaigns let you be hyper-targeted towards your account list, which ensures that the leads generated are of the highest quality.

Optimal Customer Experience

With ABM, you speak directly to stakeholders at specific companies, giving them relevant messages at the right moment to keep them moving through the funnel. Account-Based Marketing also plays an integral role in customer retention and cross-sell and upsell.

ABM IN THE REAL WORLD

Account-Based Marketing efforts looks different from company-to-company (and from person-to-person). Watch as the Demandbase team shares their real experiences with ABM.

SIX STEPS TO ABM SUCCESS

1. Identify

Build your Target Account List

With account-based identification technology, you can identify the high-value accounts most likely to buy based on a variety of signals that go beyond traditional firmographic data such as product usage, business fit, culture, budget, interests, investments and a network of business relationships.

2. Attract

Get Target Accounts to your Website

Reach your target accounts and the right internal stakeholders wherever they are online. Drive interest with personalized messages and focused advertising that speaks to their specific pain points and solution needs.

3. Engage

Create Relevant, Personalized Experiences

Personalize content and calls-to-action with relevant messaging and imagery for your target segments.

4. Convert

Convert Target Accounts to Sales Opportunities

Execute an ABM strategy directly in your Marketing Automation System to run account-based marketing campaigns, all while driving better quality leads with shortened forms.

5. Close

Help Sales Close Deals

Discover the right individuals to contact within your target accounts and gather insights to personalize outreach and maximize the quality of your conversations.

6. Measure

Gain Visibility into your Impact Across the Funnel

Discover the right individuals to contact within your target accounts and gather insights to personalize outreach and maximize the quality of your conversations.

Extending ABM Across your channels

ABM can be applied to every part of your marketing mix. The result? More efficient and higher performing channels.

Advertising

Display advertising is often thought of as a top-of-the-funnel tactic, focused on driving awareness and generating a large number of leads. Under an ABM umbrella, campaigns become more strategic, zeroing in on specific accounts to increase impact and reduce spend.

ABM the channel by purchasing ads just for your target account segments with personalized messaging. Measure whether each campaign resulted in lift to your website and engagement from those key accounts. Consider measuring “cost per engaged account” to determine the effectiveness of your ABM ad budget.

Web Marketing

Your website is one of your most important channels. Delivering a one-size-fits-all experience means you’re missing out on some of your biggest potential sales. In an ABM world, you can identify the accounts visiting your site and tailor the site—nearly every single word, if you choose to—to their needs.

ABM the channel by incorporating your target segments for analytics and user experience. Add them to your analytics to isolate high-value visitors and study their behavior, engagement, and conversion patterns. Optimize their experience with segment-based personalization driving quickly to relevant content. Start by tweaking existing content and messaging while you build out a library of custom-made assets.

Events and Webinars

These channels cast a wide net and fill your funnel, but adopting an account-based strategy has gets more high-quality leads to your sales team faster. The end result: fewer, higher-value events and increased ROI.

ABM the channel by evaluating events and webinar opportunities which have a high crossover of attendees from your target accounts. (TIP: If you’re evaluating something new, ask for a previous event’s attendee list.) Make sure Sales has event leads as soon as you get them and create CRM reports showing registration of their target accounts—30% of webinar opportunities can come before the event even happens!

Field Marketing

Just because Field Marketing is aligned with Sales doesn’t mean it’s account-focused. Plans are often derived based on Sales or regional requests rather than focusing on overall ABM strategy.

ABM the channel by mapping the locations of your target account list and using this as a way of proactively creating your strategy. Create a list of cities you can reasonably cover based on your budget and headcount and tier the list based on account density. Build programs in conjunction with Sales to help establish a consistent presence within your key cities, run programs that provide momentum and satisfy pipeline generation.

Dave Rigotti
VP Marketing, Bizible
All parts of the marketing organization have changed with our shift to ABM. The biggest has to be demand generation / growth team. They’ve gone from scale to impact, have a whole new set of stakeholders weighing in on their work, and measurement models have changed (though still based on revenue).

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

Advice on Aligning Sales & Marketing

What is the best advice for selling ABM internally?

Step 1: Make sure Sales understands what you’re trying to do with Account-Based Marketing. Matt Heinz, President, Heinz Marketing, provides ways you can sell-in your idea.

“Know why you’re doing it and think about the vested interest for each of the people in the organization that have to say yes to that…And start small.”

How do I align sales and marketing?

Now that everyone knows what you’re planning, it’s time to go beyond personal relationships and formalize your alignment.

“We committed to these numbers. Who’s going to do it? And where is the money going to come from? And who’s got content for this?”

Why is organizational alignment so critical for ABM?

Marketing and Sales go out for a beer… No, that doesn’t mean the teams are aligned. Matt reminds us that alignment must go deeper than personal relationships and shared strategies.

“It’s more than just strategic alignment on what are our objectives and who are we targeting together. You’ve got to move from a strategic alignment to operational alignment.”

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