B2B ABM: Unlocking Account-Based Opportunities

Marketers in the business to business or B2B sector have a lot to contend with.

For a start, there are now literally thousands of B2B brands out there, each vying for the attention of consumers in a highly competitive market. Within any particular market niche, there is generally a significant degree of similarity between the product or service portfolios of B2B providers in that space. Simply on the basis of the numbers, B2B marketers face the challenge of making their particular brand stand out from the rest of the crowd.


Those that manage to catch the eye of potential consumers then face the obstacles presented by the B2B sales cycle. This often involves several stakeholders, each of whom must be fully on board before any purchasing decision becomes final. The approvals process for buyers may also be long and complex.

The last thing that a B2B marketing organisation wants to do is spend valuable time, energy, and resources on pursuing sales leads that ultimately don't go anywhere.

All of these issues highlight the need for a B2B marketing strategy that enables marketing and sales teams to focus their efforts on prospects who have a higher probability of ultimately becoming paying and loyal customers. One such approach is to utilise a B2B account based marketing agency to deliver an ABM strategy.

What is account based marketing (ABM)?

Account based marketing or ABM is a marketing model and growth strategy that aligns marketing and sales to deliver targeted advertising, personalised content and messaging to a mutually agreed set of high-value accounts. ABM is a focused strategy that enables B2B account based marketing agencies to weed out prospects with little hope of becoming actual consumers, and to treat high-value accounts as if they were individuals. In this way, account based marketing takes a different approach to conventional lead generation.

lead generation and account based marketing approach

[Image source: Echobot]

ABM flips the traditional sales funnel by beginning with a small group of key target accounts that widens as these accounts are nurtured along the path to purchase.

how ABM fixes the traditional sales funnel

[Image source: Seismic.com]

B2B account based marketing agencies can typically use any combination of three types of ABM strategy:

1.     1-to-1 or  “Strategic ABM”: Using outreach methods like face-to-face or virtual meetings, marketers work with account teams to develop and execute highly customised programmes for each target account.

2.     1-to-few or “ABM Lite”: Marketers separate target accounts into clusters having similar needs or business attributes, and use less customised methods of outreach, such as email marketing and specialist events.

3.     1-to-many or “Programmatic ABM”: Here, marketers may deal with hundreds or even thousands of target accounts, but use Machine Learning to send highly personalised messages.

Benefits of account based marketing

Account-Based Marketing confers a number of benefits, which include the following:

Improved customer experiences

As recent Salesforce studies indicate, almost 70% of B2B consumers now expect businesses to know what they need. With ABM, you can provide a highly specific and personalised experience for B2B decision makers, which increases the chances of customers engaging with, and ultimately buying from, your organisation.

Better return on investment (ROI)

Salesforce studies also indicate that ABM provides at least double the ROI of other marketing channels, for 45% of users. Over 75% of businesses that use Account-Based Marketing see an ROI of 10% or more.

Marketing and sales alignment

A major part of account based marketing is being able to reach specific accounts that fit your ideal customer profile (ICP). Through customer interactions, your sales team is uniquely positioned to figure out who would be a good candidate for this form of marketing. Sales information can also reveal what the typical candidate would like to see from a business – which can inform your marketing content.

Maximising your budget

A focused ABM strategy enables you to engage the most qualified leads – meaning that you’re paying to reach people who you consider very likely to become a high-value customer. This cuts down on wasted marketing spend.


High-value customers tend to spend more, and are likely to remain loyal to your brand. This means that, over time, you can spend relatively little on nurturing them, while earning a lot from their repeat business.

Strategies for solidifying ABM gains

To design and deploy an effective strategy for Account-Based Marketing, you can take the following steps.

1. Promote alignment between your sales and marketing teams

Successful ABM hinges on marketing-sales alignment. As a starting point, you can designate a small task force of one marketer and one salesperson, who will work together to identify and sell to target accounts. Over time, you can scale up your efforts by having your marketer support additional salespeople. Each salesperson can typically manage up to ten accounts.

2. Establish your account personas

Begin with research identifying which accounts to pursue. Consider your ideal customer profile (industry/vertical, size of business, budget, geography, etc.). Look also at the tools and platforms that the ideal customer is currently using.

3. Create plans for each account

Your marketing and sales teams should work together to map out the potential leads they’ll need to attract to reach their key accounts. They should also determine what content they’ll need to produce, in order to engage with this audience.

4. Reach out to contacts associated with target accounts

Here, you can harness the power of inbound marketing through blogs, newsletters, and targeted ad placements on the platforms and publications where your target contacts go to find solutions related to the products or services you offer.

5. Engage with decision-makers

As you create campaigns to build and nurture relationships with key contacts, make sure that both sales and marketing are actively engaging with everyone involved in making purchasing decisions. At this stage, marketing can support sales by creating relevant materials to reinforce your messaging.

6. Get the help you need

Account based marketing is a highly focused strategy that requires close attention to the needs and behaviour of your target accounts, the continuous production of personalised and targeted content, and the monitoring of your success metrics. Since you may not have the skills or human resources needed to manage all this, consider partnering with a B2B account based marketing agency.

Here at Incisive Edge, we build ABM campaigns and strategies based on our winning 4R framework for making your brand story Real, Remarkable, Relevant, and Reputational. We'll create the pillars on which your brand is built and evolve your brand position to carve out your own space within the competitive landscape. With a firm understanding of your personas, our team of experts will create your messaging platform to speak to your audience directly, using your own brand language and tone of voice.

To find out more about how Incisive Edge can assist your account based marketing efforts, get in touch with us.



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