June 7, 2022

Unveiling the mystique around account-based marketing (ABM)

A comprehensive overview of what Account-Based Marketing is and how you can use it to grow your business.

What Is Account-Based Marketing?

Digital Marketing is a field that advances and changes almost daily. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of all trends, analyze them and decide if they could work for your business.

One of the terms that revolutionized digital marketing as we know it to date was “Inbound Marketing” a few years ago. Today, it is already an established strategy: using specific content to capture prospects and then convert them into leads, and ultimately create happy customers.

And after InboundMarketing, Account-Based Marketing (ABM) arrived, and everything indicates that this new strategy is here to stay.

Today we’ll explain everything you need to know about this new marketing strategy.

First Thing First - How Traditional Marketing Works: Classic Sales Funnel.

Have you ever come across the term sales funnel?

It is likely that immersed in the marketing world, you have come across many different terms and concepts, including the sales funnel.

The sales funnel is how a company plans and establishes processes to get in contact with different users and thus reach a final goal.

Look at the image and see how this sales cycle works.

As you can see, in this traditional sales funnel, the company starts by attracting a lot of people. Then they start filtering the prospects and leads that made their way into the funnel to see which leads are qualified and which are not. In the end, only the leads that are qualified will be the ones to do business with.  

But Account-Based Marketing offers you something new.

Keep reading!

What Does Account-Based Marketing Mean?

Let's start with the definition of Account-Based Marketing.

Account-Based Marketing is a strategy that focuses on specific accounts that the marketing and sales department identifies and to which actions. In other words, it is turning the inbound marketing sales funnel upside down.

Until now, what we do: is generate leads, nurture them, and decide which leads are qualified for doing business with.

Now, however, what Account-Based Marketing proposes is the following: First of all, identify interesting accounts and then attract them with personalized content, and finally, build long-term relationships that generate new opportunities.

Turning the Sales Funnel Upside-Down: The Account-Based Marketing Funnel

Don’t worry, this won’t be a post about Stranger Things or Netflix, but upside-down does play a role in this blog post. How could upside-down ever play a role in this article you ask? Well in account-based marketing the sales funnel is flipped upside down. But keep reading and you will see how it works!

Following A NewPath: How Does the ABM Sales Funnel Work?

In ABM the sales funnel is being turned upside down and it’s used in a completely different way compared to traditional marketing.

Account-Based Marketing fosters close alignment between your sales and marketing teams and helps you convert your target accounts into customers. Let’s have a look at how the ABM sales funnel actually works.

  1. Identify the most suitable accounts.
  2. Engage your leads through different forms of targeted content such as email, ads, videos, events, etc. This step continues until the leads become customers.
  3. Land and expand: Convert interested accounts to customers and expand your business. 

So, unlike traditional marketing, where you target many accounts, the ABM sales funnel focuses on marketing to only a few. It emphasizes designing seamless user experiences, inducing engagement, and building relationships.

The ultimate goal is to turn them into customers.

Account-Based Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing - Differences

To better illustrate the differences between these two marketing strategies, we had a look at the five main points of difference and explained how each aspect is looked at in each strategy


  • Traditional marketing: it targets a large audience, anyone. So, it often targets people who are not potential buyers.
  • ABM strategy is limited by the profile of the ideal customer or target account, the decision-makers of the company you aim to win over and sell your products or services to.  


  • Traditional marketing builds a website, advertisements, mailings, and content and then hopes that it reaches the audience and that some of them are potential customers.
  • In an ABM strategy, you study the market, define the customer profile, look for companies that meet it and actively work to achieve a business relationship with them.


  • Traditional marketing creates content to engage with a large audience.
  • Account-Based Marketing creates personalized content for specific accounts using sales intelligence data offered by the sales team.

Communication Channels

  • Traditional marketing uses websites, landing pages, blogs, videos, events, SEO, etc.
  • In account-based marketing, the channels are chosen based on the targeted accounts. If a company mainly uses e-mail, the ABM strategy will be focused on e-mail, and so on.

Not suited for any Business

  • B2C businesses won't be able to use ABM as a strategy because of the high number of customers and low level of personal interaction with these customers.
  • ABM is best suited for B2B companies that focus their efforts on a lower number of customers but with a high level of personal interaction with these companies.

5 Main Benefits of Using an Account-Based Marketing Strategy

  1. Faster Sales Cycle: By directly engaging with the target account, you quickly get in touch with the decision-makers.This allows you and the target company to quickly make deals and offers, ultimately shortening the sales cycle.
  2. High profitability: Effective ABM translates into good results for your business. Compared to other marketing initiatives. Terminus concluded that 60% of companies achieve at least a 10% revenue increase in year one of their ABM strategy.
  3. Efficient use of resources: By being so targeted, an account-based marketing strategy allows the sales and marketing team to maximize resources and create optimized marketing programs for target accounts.
  4. Personalized and optimized campaigns: Account-based marketing strategies include personalizing messages and communications to specific accounts to make campaigns connect with the target accounts. Leads are more likely to respond to content created specifically for them if it is relevant and well-tailored to their business.
  5. Clear attribution and ROI: When analyzing the effectiveness of campaigns, whether through emails, ads, websites, or events, it is easier to draw clear conclusions with a specific selection of accounts than with a large data set.

What About the downsides? Cons Of Using Account-Based Marketing

Of course, next to its main advantages this marketing strategy also has some downsides to it. Being able to work on specific accounts and create valuable campaigns for specific businesses you want to work with creates a bit more work compared to traditional marketing. Let’s see what the downsides of ABM actually are.

  • It is only useful for some types of businesses: ABM is mainly used in a B2B context. B2B engagements are relations. It’s hardly that a purchase is a one-off. That’s why ABM is a very useful strategy to create relationships with specific accounts because you give them value and a reason to work with you. This would be very hard to accomplish in B2C because there are just too many clients.
  • Higher budget demand: Yes, I know we have already insisted on the efficient use of resources, but these resources are used to create specific campaigns for specific accounts. Each company gets its own marketing campaign which naturally demands a big budget if you want to do it right. ABM requires you to create customized catalogues and unique follow-up mailings for each account, and these efforts impact your budget.
  • The increased amount of work: With creating specific campaigns for every single account also means that the amount of work for the sales and marketing department will naturally increase.  
  • Little support for inbound marketing: ABM mainly focuses on outbound marketing. This means that the company is engaging with its targeted accounts. They search for who they want to work with and go after these accounts. Inbound marketing is less of a priority when using ABM, but it still should be monitored and used. You never know if you missed a valuable account in your research and they happen to start engaging with you instead of the other way around.
  • It takes time to get into action: this is because the task of researching, analyzing, and determining the target accounts, the most profitable and the ones you want to conquer, is time-consuming. Gathering the necessary information on each account will waste time, and if you add to that, evaluating options and deciding with whom you want to relate. You must be patient to see the results.

Account-Based Marketing Implementation Process In 5 Easy Steps

Well now, we’ve covered most of what there is to know about ABM. We’ve had a look at what it is, how it’s different from traditional marketing and what the pros and cons of Account-Based Marketing are. All that’s left is to explain how you and your business can start implementing an ABM strategy.

Keep in mind that this won’t be a fully detailed guide on how to use account-based marketing in your company. But if you are looking for the main ideas and steps to get started? Well,

Step 1: Align your sales and marketing departments

To be able to identify accounts that are valuable enough to start your ABM campaign, it’s mandatory that your sales and marketing teams are aligned. Without this alignment, the efforts to engage with certain accounts will never be valuable enough to even get noticed by the companies.

Sales and marketing teams sit down to identify and understand their sales objectives. We ask questions such as:

  • Which companies would we want to work with?
  • Which companies would be valuable enough for us?
  • What marketing efforts would we need to undertake to land these accounts?

From there, you can identify the characteristics that would make a company a good fit for your sales objectives. For example, details such as the industry they should target, company size, location, revenue, the technology used, etc. In other words, it helps with defining the ideal customer profile.

Step 2: Identify your target accounts

In this step, you identify the target accounts with whom the sales and marketing teams will directly engage during the account-based marketing implementation process. It helps you determine which people your company needs to serve, their job description, roles, responsibilities, and challenges, and how your product or service will help them solve them.

Step 3: Craft custom-tailored campaigns

The next step is to engage with them. It is important to create well-made campaigns for each account. You probably won’t be the only company trying to get their attention, so make sure you stand out from the crowd. Make sure the custom catalogues or personalized e-mails are valuable and stand out to the company.

Step 4: Calculate the reach of your campaigns to determine the ROI

From the moment you start engaging with the targeted accounts, you should be keeping track of how much you are spending to engage with the accounts and how much your efforts cost. It’s important that you do this for every account. This will allow you to have a clear view of your expenses and will give you the ability to calculate your ROI in the long run.

Step 5. Land and expand

After all the efforts you should have landed your first couple of accounts. That’s great of course, but we can’t stop there! Let’s use this momentum to keep growing and landing new accounts. Remember the upside-down sales funnel that we are using in Account-Based Marketing? At the bottom, the funnel opened. The first couple of accounts that we wanted to work with are now stepping stones to landing even bigger accounts and growing the company even further!

Key Takeaways

To summarize let's have a look at what we’ve covered in this article:

Account-Based Marketing is a B2B marketing strategy that focuses marketing and sales resources on several targeted accounts within a market. The sales and marketing departments of your company have to be closely aligned in order for this strategy to bear fruit. But once the alignment is in place, your company can start engaging with targeted accounts with tailored marketing efforts for each of those accounts.

In ABM strategies, the message is focused on the specific attributes and needs of a given account, hence the name.

What are the benefits and the disadvantages?


  • An Account-Based Marketing strategy creates a more efficient, faster, and personalized sales cycle.
  • It allows a highly accurate ROI calculation.
  • It aligns sales and marketing efforts.


  • Account-Based Marketing requires more budget.
  • Is optimized for B2B-businesses
  • It increases the workload for sales and marketing teams.
  • It can take a while to see results 

If you want to start with ABM, here are the key steps to keep in mind.

  1. Align the work of sales and marketing teams
  2. Detect the most valuable and exciting target accounts.
  3. Generate individual marketing content for each account
  4. Figure Out the Best Communication Channel for Each Account
  5. Calculate the reach of your campaigns to determine the ROI

If you want to learn more about Account-Based Marketing, or do you want to set up your own ABM campaign, but still need some help? Just drop us a message or give us a call! We are here to help you and your business grow.


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