Marketers love a good buzzword, and “Account Based Marketing” is as hot as any.
There is of course good reason ABM is getting so much attention: an account based strategy can enable a more efficient use of internal resources, more cost-effective marketing spend, and close higher LTV, longer-lasting accounts. But, along with rapid popularity of any term comes variability in how it is defined. The definition of Account Based Marketing is no different.
In fact, when it comes to understanding the true definition of strategies like “content marketing” or the difference between concepts like “predictive intelligence” vs. “predictive analytics,” more often than not the answer is entirely dependent upon who you ask.
While it’s true that ABM’s highly personalized, optimizable approach actually lends itself to multiple interpretations, there are a few underlying factors—we’ll call them common denominators—at the heart of every account-based method.
Take a look at how a few industry experts describe ABM. Notice what’s different, and more importantly, notice what’s the same. You’ll see that while they’re certainly distinct in some respects, they actually point towards a definition that’s more universal than not:
Vala Afshar, Chief Digital Evangelist, Salesforce
- “Account-based marketing is a comprehensive approach for your marketing programs and activities. To successfully take an account-based approach, you start with deemphasizing the vanity metrics such as the number of new leads created, the number of clicks from an email campaign or the number of forms completed. There’s only one metric which account-based marketing teams truly care about, and that’s revenue.” [The Huffington Post]
David Cain, GVP, Global Marketing, Marketo
- “Instead of leveraging a set of broad-reaching programs designed to touch the largest possible number of prospective customers, an ABM strategy focuses marketing and sales resources on a defined set of targeted accounts and employs personalized campaigns designed to resonate with each individual account. With ABM, your marketing message is based on the attributes and needs of the account you’re targeting.” [Marketo]
Prayag Narula, CEO, LeadGenius
- “Attention to detail matters in Account Based Marketing. ABM is a highly personalized approach to connecting with your ideal B2B accounts through a variety of marketing and sales channels. In account an account based strategy, every revenue generating department — marketing, sales, and customer success — works together to close higher value accounts, faster. What differentiates Account Based Marketing from age old enterprise sales techniques is being able to automate and scale personalized communication at the right time. ABM starts with high-quality customer data.” [LeadGenius]
Joe Chernov, VP, Marketing, InsightSquared
- “An ABM strategy allows us to bridge the divide between the polar extremes of inbound and outbound by targeting campaigns specifically to the accounts that sales is working, and ‘right sizing’ the investment depending on potential deal value and likelihood to close.” [InsightSquared Blog]
Meagen Eisenberg, CMO, MongoDB
- “Account based marketing is more targeted and personalized versus spray and pray, where you’re just trying to capture anyone in your net. You’re being very specific about who you want to talk with, and it’s a way for sales and marketing to align on the target.” [LinkedIn]
Dorothea Gosling, ABM and Pursuit Marketing Center of Excellence Leader, CSC
- “ABM to me and to CSC is treating a single account as a market of one, and within that marketing of one we’re looking to customize our marketing activities and message in close collaboration with our sales team – and not just down to a buying center or persona but right down to the individual.” [LinkedIn]
Matt Heinz, President, Heinz Marketing
- “In its purest form, account based marketing has been around forever. Account based marketing is simply instead of fishing with nets, we’re fishing with spears. You identify exactly the prospects you want to do business with and then you market very precisely and narrowly to them directly.” [PureB2B]
David Karel, Head of B2B Marketing, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions
- “To break down walls between sales and marketing, ABM is pretty close to a silver bullet in that it aligns programs’ dollars and focus behind the accounts that the sales teams cares about. So there’s inherent buy-in. That said, ABM is only as good as your visibility into your highest potential accounts and best-fit customer segments, which gets clearer over time. So it’s most effective when deployed as part of a comprehensive set of targeting strategies.” [Huffington Post]
Jon Miller, CEO and Co-Founder, Engagio
- “Account Based Marketing is a strategic approach that coordinates personalized marketing and sales efforts to open doors and deepen engagement at specific accounts.” [Engagio]
Tomasz Tunguz, Partner, Redpoint Ventures
- “An Account Based Strategy is built on the idea of creating many advocates within a company in order to close a sale. Sales and marketing teams use ABS to concentrate their efforts on a discrete list of target accounts.” [Heinz Marketing Blog]
Sangram Vajre, Co-Founder and CMO, Terminus
- “Account based marketing is focused B2B Smarketing. I say ‘Smarketing’ because ABM is all about focusing on the right accounts in collaboration with sales. ABM is not a solo activity. It’s the combination and range of activities from advertising, direct mail, calls, emails, content — all centered around the ideal set of accounts that you believe has the need for your solution. It’s quality over quantity in its most basic form.” [Strategic Internet Consulting]
So now that you’ve read through what the experts have to say, what exactly is that universal definition of ABM?
Regardless of the particular implementation, ABM is a B2B strategy that involves the alignment of sales and marketing teams to focus on highly personalized, multi-channel outreach to key client accounts—with the end goal of closing those qualified accounts and driving increased revenue.
To learn more about how you can use Account Based Marketing at your company, see how LeadGenius helps companies launch and scale ABM campaigns.