What does Account Based Mean?
Account-based marketing is a B2B strategy that targets sales and marketing campaigns as well as personalized messaging to high value accounts and/or the persons that manage those accounts. It is based on the idea that high value accounts represent the largest and most profitable business opportunities.
Unlike the traditional sales funnel demand generation approach that begins with a wide net capturing a large number of prospects, ABM begins with a small number of prospective accounts. Effectively, each account is ‘a market of one’. It is a high touch, high frequency and highly coordinated marketing method.
Account-based marketing is based on the understanding that B2B procurement is made by a small group of individuals representing these high value accounts. It first appeared in the corporate scene in the 1990s and has seen growing adoption since.
The proliferation of the Internet and data digitization has created opportunities for more sophisticated access to ABM-relevant data. Modern marketers no longer have to sift through mountains of paperwork and data to identify and engage with high value accounts. These insights are available almost instantly.
ABM starts off by bringing the sales and marketing teams together. Thereafter, multiple factors are used to identify the most viable accounts including the nature and size of the business, location, transaction history, growth trajectory and its industry’s growth potential. Once the target account has been settled on, marketers often use one of three approaches to content creation, messaging and engagement:
- 1-to-1: High customized sales and marketing program for each target account.
- 1-to-Few: Less customized campaign for multiple accounts in similar industries or with similar traits.
- 1-to-Many: Messages sent to hundreds or thousands of key accounts. May leverage AI to customize messages to different accounts.
Account-based marketing does not replace but supports traditional lead generation techniques. It leads to increased trust, content relevance, ROI, a more consistent customer experience and shortens the B2B sales cycle.