Account-based Marketing (ABM): The Future of Marketing and Sales?

Account-based marketing is becoming as important as traditional lead generation. To successfully implement it in the company, it is necessary to have a clear strategy, structural requirements, and appropriate tools. But what does the term refer to, how does ABM work, and is this strategy becoming the most important benchmark in B2B marketing?

Spearfishing vs. Net fishing

There is a well-known marketing analogy for the ABM strategy – spearfishing. In this analogy, marketing efforts are focused specifically on a targeted company or individual. For this purpose, a target account is first identified, the focus is placed on the respective buyer persona or, in the case of several relevant persons, on the buying center. Through perfectly tailored marketing and sales activities, the contact is established and intensively nurtured so that, ideally, the lead becomes a customer. In contrast to classic lead generation marketing, which – to use a similar analogy – is based on net fishing, i.e., the masses are targeted first. Thus, companies that respond to marketing measures are targeted with further marketing measures, the relationship is strengthened, and, in the best case, they are won as customers.

Traditional vs. Account-based Marketing

Not all Account-based marketing works the same

There are different levels within ABM, depending on the number of target accounts defined as companies. In Strategic ABM, all marketing activities are focused on a single company – one-to-one. This not only minimizes resources for other potential customers, as it is time-consuming but also incurs very high costs. On the other hand, ABM Lite focused on a few target accounts – one-to-few – is very common in practice. In this case, one person focuses marketing activities on ten to twenty companies and adapts the measures accordingly. In addition, programmatic ABM addresses a broad customer base and even several thousand target accounts. In this way of communication – one-to-many – there must be a lot of common ground between the companies so that the targeted marketing measures are tailored to as many of the selected target accounts as possible.

Different levels of Account-based Marketing


To implement the ABM strategy – regardless of the level –, you should consider the following aspects.

  • Determine the target account
    Considering that ABM is expensive, you should define who you want to reach first and set it with clear parameters. These may be industry, company size, or minimum turnover. Target accounts should be both strategically significant and have high sales potential.
  • Matching sales and marketing activities
    Once a target account has been defined – whether it is a company or several individuals– marketing activities can be tailored accordingly. This customized strategy represents the biggest difference compared to traditional lead generation since marketing and sales match their activities perfectly.

Advantages of the strategy

At first glance, ABM seems expensive and time-consuming. But why should you use it? The strategy is time-consuming, but at the same time very effective. Since the focus is on the most important customers – usually key accounts –, time is focused specifically on those where sales can be increased. ABM also encourages the loyalty of potential customers to your company as they are constantly in contact with the marketing and sales departments. Once marketing and sales activities are properly matched, customers' interest will increase, and, ideally, they will immediately identify your company when they hear certain keywords. Furthermore, the success of ABM campaigns is very easy to measure, so customer relationships can be analyzed directly.

Useful tools

There are several useful software solutions for launching ABM campaigns. You can use CRM systems or specific online ABM tools. If you use a CRM system such as HubSpot or Salesforce, you get a complete solution for marketing, sales, and ABM strategy. The possibilities for use are extensive and range from filtering, evaluation, and reporting to nurturing and scoring. Alternatively, online tools such as Demandbase or DiscoverOrg can be used to launch ABM campaigns. The tool defines the target accounts and provides suggestions for buyer personas or buying centers. Marketing measures are also created, communication is personalized, and the success of the campaign is measured.

Conclusion and perspectives on account marketing

Account marketing requires time, money, good planning, and collaboration between marketing and sales. However, if all steps are considered and the above-mentioned requirements are met, a positive ROI can be guaranteed with an ABM campaign. This is why, for example, it is already an established marketing strategy in many companies in the European DACH region. However, traditional lead generation will continue to play an important role in the future. For this reason, it is worthwhile to combine targeted marketing with mass marketing to individually address the most relevant customers who might otherwise be lost due to wastage.

Looking to implement ABM in your company? Take a look at how LiveRamp increased its annual sales to over $50 million thanks to its marketing strategy.

Carina Hoßfeld

Marketing Assistant at snapADDY GmbH

Carina Hoßfeld works in marketing at snapADDY GmbH since 2020 and is completing her master's degree in the same field. She has successfully completed a business training course and a bachelor's degree in business administration. In addition, she has acquired practical experience in project organization and marketing in other positions and internships.