• John Walker

What is “Account Based Marketing?” How should you use it?



Let me start by giving you a “no duh” definition of Account Based Marketing from Marketo.


“Account-based marketing is a focused approach to B2B marketing in which marketing and sales teams work together to target best-fit accounts and turn them into customers.”


So you might say, “What’s so special about that? Isn’t that what all B2B marketing does?!”


The answer is, yes, that’s what all B2B marketing seeks to do, but here’s what’s different about ABM. Traditional marketing uses the funnel concept- pull lots of leads into the top of the funnel, cultivate and nurture them, and qualify the best ones into customers at the bottom. But this approach has several problems. It can be inefficient and long. And, B2B buying decisions tend to be made by groups of people so if your lead generation programs target individual professionals, it can be hard to pull in the whole “committee” of people necessary to get the sale closed.


ABM attempts to use a more efficient process- find good-fitting, high-value accounts and then market directly to the decision makers there with highly relevant messaging. This concept makes a lot of sense. But executing it can be a challenge.


Large marketers with deep pockets can invest in platforms that facilitate this, like Terminus. Termimus claims to “gives sales and marketing teams a crystal ball that shows them who their next best opportunities are– and how likely they are to become your next customer.” Cool!


But smaller marketers might be faced with a highly manual process of trying to gauge which potential accounts to target and how. I’ve implemented the concept of Account Based Marketing with some clients by using personas to define the ideal customer profile and then using LinkedIn advertising to target specific accounts.


But, large or small, here are some of the pillars of Account Based Marketing:


· Identify accounts that are the best fit with the highest potential value.

· Focus marketing and sales efforts narrowly on these accounts.

· Use a high degree of personalization in your marketing messages.

· Create strong alignment between marketing and sales efforts.

· Use the most precise digital ad targeting possible.


Account Based Marketing Vocabulary:

Marketers love buzzwords but they like acronyms even better. Here’s a list of Account Based Marketing vocabulary so you can fit in with the cool kids- buzzwords and acronyms included!


· Ideal customer profile (ICP): Ideal customer to target.

· Intent data: Data indicating likelihood to buy from you.

· Inbound marketing: Using content to attract potential customers.

· Cookie targeting: Targeting ads based on browser-based cookies.

· Post-cookie world: A marketing environment where digital ads can’t be targeted by browser based cookies the way many are now.

· Firmographics: Demographics, but for companies.

· Account intelligence: Knowledge of a potential customer account.

· Account lifecycle: It’s the ABM version of the buyer’s journey.

· Account tiering: Prioritizing your account list based on revenue opportunity.

· F.I.R.E.: Acronym for FIT, Intent, Relationship and Engagement.

· I.P. Targeting: Targeting ads based on the physical location of an account.

· Marketing Qualified Account (MQA): It’s a qualified lead.

· Pipeline acceleration: Increasing the speed with which an account moves through the account lifecycle.

· Total Addressable Market (TAM): The total available market for your product or service.


To see more Account Based Marketing definitions, on these and other definition, visit the Business 2 Community website.


This post was written by John Walker, Principal Consultant at J. Walker Marketing. Contact John to discuss your digital marketing campaigns.

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