Account-based marketing, or ABM, is a strategy that aims to identify high-value accounts and engage their buying teams with marketing content and personal communications tailored to their needs. The goal is to increase sales revenue quickly and efficiently.
ABM stands in contrast to demand generation, an older approach that’s geared to collecting sales leads by using broad methods such as advertising and marketing automation to foster interest in products and services. Fundamentally, ABM is about bringing marketing methods and personnel into the sales process. It requires marketing and sales teams to collaborate on identifying key accounts, understanding their needs and challenges, and building closer relationships through custom content and personal interaction.
Read this overview to understand the essentials of ABM and click the links for the more detailed explanations and how-to articles included in this comprehensive guide.
Why is account-based marketing important?
You can’t grasp ABM’s importance without knowing some history. Salespeople had been selling into large accounts for decades before ABM came along in the early 2000s to give them a methodology and the digital marketing tools to target those accounts more directly and efficiently. This was a time when the attention of most marketers was on exploiting the newly popular web to reach as many people as possible.
ABM was initially used by IT services firms — including Accenture, IBM and Xerox — that had major tech vendors for their largest accounts, according to Rob Leavitt, senior vice president at Momentum ITSMA, a consultancy that claims to have coined the term in 2003 and developed the initial methodology. These early adopters were also distinguished by having large portfolios of offerings they could tailor for big clients.
Marketing is intended to build brand awareness and interest and foster a reputation for competence, but it wasn’t widely done at the