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Account-based marketing: your agency’s guide to ABM

Updated: Nov 16, 2021


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ABM. If you and your team don’t know what those three letters mean, you need to get up to speed—right away. And if you do know what those letters mean, there’s still a good chance that you’ve got more to learn, as strategies in this area of marketing evolve at a rapid pace. These days, an up-to-the-minute “ABM game” can be a major difference-maker for your agency. According to a recent Forrester Research article, organizations using ABM strategies experienced a 200% pipeline growth and also saw a 20% increase in their deal size.


So let’s dive in—and discover the ways that ABM can help propel your agency forward.

What is account-based marketing (ABM)


ABM is shorthand for “account-based marketing.” The term itself was coined roughly 15 years ago, but B2B companies have been practicing it for longer than that. The central concept: target-marketing from the get-go, using the most sophisticated tools at your disposal.


In the traditional inbound model, marketers begin with a broad-based approach aimed at attracting the widest range of customers, then narrowing down from there to close actual sales. Account-based marketing does the opposite, focusing on landing a specific target, and then pulling in similar accounts. Agencies then treat that single client as a whole “market” unto itself—a practice commonly thought of as “flipping the funnel.”


The basic idea behind ABM is a growing awareness that an effective marketing-and-sales strategy often isn’t about “chasing the lead.” Instead, it’s about “winning the account”—successfully engaging the integrated group of leaders who, as a unit, make key decisions for a given company.

And how exactly do you pull this off?


You hone in. You customize and personalize. And, usually, you do it on multiple fronts such as account-dedicated campaigns, content, events and creative means.


Why does ABM work?


Account-based marketing isn’t necessarily a replacement for the inbound approach. It’s an alternative, now especially promising as a way of attracting larger-sized clients. And the industry’s data suggests it’s highly effective and gaining in popularity.


Here are 8 advantages of using account-based marketing in your agency:


1. Resource optimization

2. Sales and marketing collaboration

3. Customized client experience

4. Long-term relationship building

5. Client advocacy

6. Analytics refinement

7. Trend navigation

8. Expense reductions and increased ROI


1. Resource optimization

By zeroing in on targets that are most likely to become customers, you’re emphasizing quality over quantity. This allows you to allocate resources more precisely, cutting down the dead ends and unfulfilled efforts that are necessary evils of inbound marketing.


2. Sales and marketing collaboration

Sales and marketing divisions are rarely on the exact same page—they simply lack communication and use different strategies. ABM puts the divisions on the same page, with the lead-chase and marketing strategy directly synced from the start.

3. Customized client experience

By tailoring a specific approach to a specific client, you’re getting to know who your client is and the services they offer. You’re thus establishing a firmer foundation as you enter your actual working relationship.


4. Long-term relationship building

If you don’t close that account quickly, you’ve still built a bond that can pay off down the road. And whenever you do manage to close, you’ll find that the personalized relationship puts you in a better position to retain the client going forward, which is frequently a challenge.


5. Client advocacy

After snagging such an account, you’ve often gained more than a customer—you’ve gained an advocate; someone willing to spread the word on your behalf, and assume some of your marketing burden. This process, known as “land and expand,” is a core ABM strategy.


6. Analytics refinement

With the narrower approach, you give yourself clearer insight into how your marketing resources are actually working. You can easily monitor the performance of your assets. For example, you can compare the performance of two different banner ads for the same asset and you can adjust your budget and outlays accordingly.


7. Trend navigation

The rise in the use of ad blockers, and the decrease in the efficacy of display ads, indicates that customers are turning from mass-market approaches. This is due in part to living in a world that is oversaturated with advertising. The fluid nature of ABM meshes with this larger shift in consumer attitudes. Following the latest consumer trends will help your agency cut through the noise and connect with your targeted customer.

8. Expense reductions and increased ROI

By confining focus, ABM simply tightens your bottom-line expenditures across the board, even in ways you can’t foresee. You spend less time chasing leads that go nowhere, and in turn your ROI inevitably elevates.



What are the key components of an ABM campaign?


As noted, an ABM campaign unifies your sales and marketing divisions around a direct and singular goal that’s established from the beginning. Customized around that specific target (and the decision-makers who comprise it), the campaign might use a range of services, techniques and talents within each division.


Here are a few examples of talents a successful ABM campaign may use:


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