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A Peek Behind the Curtain: An Intro to Account-Based Marketing

Last updated on August 17th, 2017 at 11:15 am

What is ABM?

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a strategy that concentrates sales and marketing on targeted accounts within their market, using personalized campaigns designed to the individual account.

ABM is a targeted strategy, based on insights. Be the Wizard of your organization. Know your customers’ desires (a brain, a heart, courage, home), and you’ll be able to guide them down the path (the yellow brick road) to your business.  What do your customers need? What are their roles? What drives them?

dorothy abm

ABM vs Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing has been compared to casting a wide net over potential customers to see what you catch. Material is developed, and then sent out to lists or advertised. If the content is successful a response is received, and then turned over to sales for follow up. The assets are measured for ROI.

You might say it’s like the Wicked Witch (not to say traditional methods are wicked), who sends out her flying monkeys to see what they bring back.


ABM replaces the strategy of putting all kinds of marketing collateral out there in the marketplace and seeing what comes in, with marketing to targeted accounts.

In comparison, ABM:

  • Identifies target accounts
    • Organization map
    • Key roles
    • Goals
    • Channels
  • Collaborates with influencers and the team
    • Goals
    • Tactics
    • Plan
  • Follows a coordinated plan

Benefits of ABM

Marketo has identified five key benefits to Account-Based Marketing:

  1. Clear ROI
    • 97% said ABM had a somewhat higher or much higher ROI than other  marketing initiatives
    • 84% said ABM provided significant benefits to retaining and expanding existing client relationships
    • 65% said ABM provided significant benefits to attracting new clients
  2. It reduces waste
  3. Personalization means optimization
  4. Clarity in tracking and measuring to goals
  5. Easier alignment with Sales

 lion abm

Skills Needed

“ABM-ers have to understand how to take account information and turn it into insights that are relevant to different people in the organization.” – Momentum ABM

It requires a little more skill than traditional marketing. You’ll need:

  • business knowledge
  • intimate understanding of sales and account needs
  • expert consultative skills
  • collaborative skills
  • and leadership skills

scarecrow abm

Account Planning

ABM is nothing without the account. Become part of the conversation with your accounts earlier in their process. Make your customers feel they are appreciated and understood, right from the beginning.

Howard Sewell from Spear Marketing states in his 7 Steps to a Successful ABM Strategy that the best campaigns are:

  • segmented–relevant to an individual account and decision-maker/role
  • integrated – targets should see a consistent message, regardless of channel
  • content-driven– to drive discussion and engagement
  • timely – consistent nurturing and education over a specific time

tinman abm

How to Get Started

  1. Identify 3-4 accounts where you feel you could be building a stronger relationship, and put those in order of priority
  2. Map executive roles, responsibilities, budget cycles, sponsors and partners
  3. Talk to your customer about obstacles and issues important to them
  4. Collaborate with your team to determine how your solutions address your customer’s needs

Be the Wizard. Know your customer, and what will motivate them along their journey.


Images courtesy of: Clarion Content Media, Tumblr, Flickr, Along the Yellow Brick Road,


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