Stop Waiting For Your Ideal Customer - Use Account-Based Marketing

Learn the steps required for implementing an effective ABM program and the benefits you will derive.


Bill Arnold

12/25/20238 min read

Account-Based Marketing
Account-Based Marketing

Account-based marketing is a highly focused strategic approach implemented by the marketing and sales teams to target high-value accounts using very personalized content. It flips the traditional marketing funnel upside down by focusing on specific target accounts and then engaging individuals within those accounts. ABM includes the same elements of the comprehensive marketing plan: inbound marketing, content marketing, earned media, and outbound marketing. The differentiation between ABM and Comprehensive Marketing is the size of the net you cast and the degree of personalization.

For ABM, you already know not only the company you are seeking to engage but every person in that organization whom you need to nurture and convert. If you have done your homework properly, you understand how those individuals like to consume their content and where they go for information and entertainment.

Account-Based Marketing Strategy

We recommend that you build your ABM program on top of a vibrant content marketing program that has already proven to resonate with the personas you are targeting. There are several reasons for this approach. Because of the highly personalized nature of the engagement, ABM is a strategy that is meant for accounts that represent a major financial win for your company. It would be both impracticable and unprofitable to try and implement where the prospect would not represent a major financial win. We suggest that you build your program off of pre-existing materials that you know resonate. You simply need to personalize that content for the specific individual that you are targeting.

Account Based Marketing is a good alternative when you have a limited number of prospects you are planning to engage and the final sale will have the highest value and matter the most. So if you want to implement an ABM strategy, it will involve the following steps.

Step 1. Align Marketing and Sales: Every ABM program requires extreme alignment and cooperation between marketing and sales if it is to be successful. Pull candidates from each team who have shown a willingness to cross the aisle and work with the other side. Make sure each person understands the objectives and how ABM works. Each of the following steps needs to be a collaborative effort by individuals from both sides.

Step 2. Decide on an ABM Platform: The amount of time and effort you will put into an ABM program is enormous. Do not risk your success by trying to get by without software dedicated to ABM.

Step 3. Decide on What Metrics to Track: The success of an ABM program can be measured with metrics. It is critical that at the outset of any ABM initiative, you come to an agreement on what key performance indicators (KPIs) will be tracked, who will do it, and how it will be shared with the group.

Step 4. Select the Right ABM Candidates: We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to take your time and do the research. Identifying the right candidates will make a difference in whether your ABM program is successful. This is not the same process you used to determine your buyer personas.

Step 5. Do your Research: These companies must represent high-value targets where securing them would mean a significant financial boost to your organization. This is because you will be putting a LOT of time, energy, and talent into trying to secure them. You need to make sure that the effort justifies the potential reward.

You need to enter any ABM endeavor knowing as much about the target company and its industry as the potential client. Figure out what the company's buying cycle is and who is involved in that process. Spend time studying your target company's place within their industry. How do they position themselves? Figure out who their competitors are and what the differentiating factors between them are.

But this is just the starting point. You need to make sure that you have a reasonable expectation that you can reach, connect, and influence both the company's decision-makers and inside influencers. This means you must identify by name, position, and responsibilities these individuals. This has become much easier by using such services as LinkedIn, ZoomInfo, RocketReach, Lusha, and SeamlessAI. Take time to study these individuals' social accounts. It will provide you with insights on what may interest or motivate them to engage with you. It will tell you where they go for information, education, and entertainment. These are the same methods you will try to secure their attention. See if you can determine what type of content they prefer. If they like or comment more about a particular topic or format of information, take note. Find news articles or press releases about the company and their industry. Identify any conferences or networking events that might be of interest to them.

Step 6. Rank the Companies: Now that you have gathered your intelligence, it is time to select your top candidates for your ABM effort. Determine which of these organizations is the best fit for an ABM effort. It may not be the largest organization but the one you feel you have the best opportunity to engage with the decision-makers and the internal influencers/gatekeepers.

Once you agree on which companies will be targeted first, add their information to a customer relationship management (CRM) platform. From that moment on, EVERY interaction or observation about each individual must be added to the CRM.

Pro Tip - NOTE: If this is the first time you are attempting an ABM program, we recommend that you limit your initial list to five companies. Each company will take a lot of time and attention, so figure out what that requires before you take on too many. Even when you become experienced at ABM, we recommend that you take on no more than eight at a time.

Step 7. Create a Marketing Plan for EACH Target: We stated earlier that ABM is a highly personalized engagement. This means that each individual needs to be addressed and engaged with in a manner unique to them. All candidates do not frequent and engage in the same social media channels, and some may not use social media at all. To think you would have the same marketing plan for each is foolish. You need to craft a strategy for each person, individually, based on the information you learned during your research.

This individualized marketing plan needs to include the nurturing actions that will be taken at each stage of the buyerʼs journey.

Step 7. Create the Marketing Collateral: You will want to create marketing collateral that addresses the pain points, interests, and concerns of the company from each individual perspective. The content you create for the Chief Financial Officer will undoubtably be different than the content created for the Chief Technology Officer or a mid-level manager. Each has its unique views and interests, and the content needs to reflect that information. This content should reflect each individual's bias for how they like to digest content and where they go for information, entertainment, or third-party verification. If one individual has shown a preference for short-form videos on TikTok, give them short-form videos on TikTok.

Pro Tip - NOTE: As a starting point, look to the content your company has already created for inbound marketing. If you have content that has been well received, consider how it can be adapted and personalized for specific individuals you are targeting. This will save you considerable time and expense.

Step 8. Engage: Before you engage, consider the sequence of who you should be targeting first. Depending on the personality type, you might have a specific entry point. We once had an ABM target where we learned that the CEO had a very dominant personality and typically rejected ideas that were brought to him. Our strategy was to target him specifically and wait for buying signals before we made an outreach to the internal influencers. Once we saw another C-suite person start to follow us on our social channels, we knew it was time to begin sharing with the rest of his team.

Step 9. Analyze the Data and Adjust: Every marketing program needs to be measured and adjustments made based on performance. ABM is not any different. While it will take time to see the results, the KPIs you are tracking should tell you where you are gaining traction. If you find that one of the individuals in a targeted company is not responding on a given channel, with the content you shared, or how you shared it, make adjustments.

Pro Tip - The steps we outlined are a very high-level overview. The success in any ABM program is getting the details right. If your staff has not implemented an ABM program before, we recommend you seek help from an experienced agency for your first attempt. The cost of hiring an agency will be outweighed by the opportunity costs you may incur if you get it wrong.

Is Account-Based Marketing Worth It?

If you are wondering if all this effort is justified by the results, consider the following.

Higher ROI - ABM typically results in a higher ROI compared to other marketing strategies. This is because ABM is highly targeted, more efficient, and results in more conversions and sales.

Improved Customer Relationships - ABM helps build stronger relationships with customers. The personalized approach makes customers feel valued, fostering loyalty and improving customer retention. If you are getting a truly personal interaction that addresses your particular needs and concerns, you will build a relationship much quicker. If the information you receive is both valuable and relevant to those concerns, a trusting relationship will develop.

Streamlines Sales Cycles: For some companies, the sales cycle is notoriously slow. The time it takes to attract, engage, nurture, and close a B2B prospect can be measured in months and sometimes years. Because you are targeting individuals at a specific company, the interactions that might take months can be measured in weeks. You will grab their attention quicker and each step toward closing the deal will happen quicker because you are focusing specifically on what that individual needs to see, hear, or read to take the next steps. This does not mean you will close all the deals successfully, but you will reach that inflection point that determines whether they will be a client quicker.

Not yet convinced by the benefits? Well, numbers donʼt lie, so let's take a look at what the studies have found.


ABM can be an effective approach when you know all the players and the potential win is big. Because you are providing each decision-maker and influencer with personalized information that pertains to their pain points and concerns, it makes you a more credible solution and produces fewer objections. ABM is a collaborative effort that brings Sales and Marketing together to cooperatively create emotional and intellectual touch points with each key persona in the targeted company. An ABM is a hyper-personalized strategy that focuses your marketing and sales efforts on a limited set of accounts, rather than trying to market yourself over a broad spectrum of organizations. If you have potentially high-value prospects, which could significantly impact your bottom line, consider an ABM approach.

In an upcoming blog, we will share several actual strategies that we implemented for our clients. These produce powerful results.