Implementing Account-based Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide

Published on 31 May 2023

account based marketing guide

Account-based Marketing (ABM) is a targeted marketing strategy that focuses on individual accounts or customers, rather than a broad audience. It has gained popularity due to its effectiveness in engaging key decision-makers and driving revenue growth. In this whitepaper, we will provide a comprehensive step-by-step guide to implementing ABM successfully.

The purpose of this whitepaper is to equip marketers and sales professionals with the knowledge and tools necessary to launch and execute an ABM strategy. In this account-based marketing guide, we will explore each stage of the account-based marketing process, from defining target accounts to measuring and analyzing results.

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What Is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?

ABM stands for Account-based Marketing. It is a strategic approach to marketing and sales that focuses on targeting and engaging specific individual accounts or customers, rather than a broad target audience. ABM aims to tailor marketing efforts and messages to the unique needs and preferences of key decision-makers within those target accounts.

Unlike traditional marketing approaches that cast a wide net to attract a large number of potential customers, ABM takes a more personalized and targeted approach. The account based marketing framework recognizes that not all accounts hold the same value and that a focused effort on high-value accounts can yield better results. This is probably why on average, companies focus up to 29% of their marketing budget on ABM.

Essentially, ABM is a strategic approach that recognizes the importance of quality over quantity and seeks to create targeted, meaningful interactions with key accounts to achieve business goals.

Benefits of ABM

Did you know that approximately 87% of ABM marketers believe that Account-Based Marketing surpasses other marketing initiatives in terms of performance. Here are some other statistics that prove the importance of ABM:

  • Better Engagement: 99% of respondents said engagement was higher for their ABM accounts
  • Improved Win Rate: 80% of respondents said win rate was higher for ABM accounts
  • Higher Deal Size: 73% of respondents said the average deal size was higher for ABM accounts 
  • Improved ROI: 901% of respondents said the ROI was higher for ABM accounts


Here are some more benefits of implementing an ABM strategy:

  • Highly targeted approach: ABM allows you to focus your marketing efforts on specific high-value accounts, increasing your chances of engaging with decision-makers and key influencers.
  • Personalized messaging: ABM enables you to tailor your marketing messages and content to the specific needs and pain points of each target account, resulting in more relevant and impactful communications.
  • Stronger customer relationships: By providing a personalized and tailored experience, ABM helps build stronger relationships with key decision-makers, fostering trust, loyalty, and long-term partnerships.
  • Improved conversion rates: The personalized and targeted nature of ABM increases the likelihood of converting target accounts into customers, leading to higher conversion rates and faster sales cycles.
  • Sales and Marketing Alignment: ABM encourages close collaboration between sales and marketing teams, aligning their efforts to pursue shared goals and ensuring a seamless customer experience.
  • Efficient Resource Allocation: ABM allows organizations to allocate their resources more effectively by concentrating efforts on high-value accounts, reducing waste and maximizing the return on investment.
  • Enhanced Customer Insights: ABM involves in-depth research and understanding of target accounts, providing valuable insights into customer behavior, preferences, and pain points, which can inform future marketing and sales strategies.
  • Stronger Brand Advocacy: By delivering personalized experiences and addressing the specific needs of key accounts, ABM can foster brand advocacy, leading to positive word-of-mouth, referrals, and increased market influence.

Steps To Implement An Effective ABM Strategy

Step 1: Define Your Target Accounts

Researching accounts and identifying target contacts are the two most commonly employed strategies by ABM marketers, according to HubSpot.

Identifying the right target accounts is crucial for the success of your ABM efforts. Start by aligning with your sales team to determine the ideal customer profile and the key characteristics of your target accounts. Consider factors such as industry, company size, revenue, location, and any other relevant criteria.

To identify target accounts effectively, leverage both internal and external resources. Internally, analyze your existing customer base to identify high-value accounts that align with your ideal customer profile. Externally, utilize market research, industry reports, and data providers to identify potential target accounts.

Tools such as customer relationship management (CRM) software, marketing automation platforms, and data enrichment services can greatly assist in identifying and managing target accounts.

Step 2: Build Your Target Account List

Once you have defined your target accounts, it's time to build a comprehensive target account list. Start by consolidating the information gathered from various sources, including your CRM, data providers, and market research. According to the account based marketing framework, you need to prioritize your list based on factors such as revenue potential, strategic fit, and engagement level.

Consider utilizing account intelligence tools and predictive analytics to refine your target account list further. These tools can provide valuable insights into the likelihood of an account's engagement and its potential value to your business.

It's essential to collaborate closely with your sales team throughout the account based marketing process to ensure alignment and gather their valuable input and expertise.

Step 3: Create Your Ideal Customer Profile

A significant majority, around 56% of marketers, consider personalized content as a crucial element for achieving success in an ABM strategy. This is why building a strong ICP is crucial.

An ideal customer profile (ICP) defines the characteristics of your perfect customer. It helps you understand their needs, pain points, and motivations, enabling you to tailor your messaging and marketing efforts accordingly.

To create an effective ICP, conduct in-depth research and analysis of your existing customer base. Look for commonalities among your best customers and identify the factors that make them ideal. Consider their industry, company size, job titles, challenges, goals, and any other relevant characteristics.

Collaborate with your sales team to gather their insights and experiences working with customers. This collaborative effort will ensure that your ICP reflects the realities of your target market.

Various tools and resources are available to aid in creating ideal customer profiles, including customer surveys, interviews, and market research reports.

Step 4: Develop Your ABM Strategy

Once you have a clear understanding of your target accounts and an effective ICP, it's time to develop your ABM strategy. ABM can be implemented in different ways, depending on the scale and resources available to your organization. The three main types of ABM strategies are:

  • Strategic ABM: This strategy focuses on a small number of high-value accounts that require personalized and customized marketing approaches. It involves close collaboration between sales and marketing teams to develop tailored messaging and campaigns.
  • ABM Lite: ABM Lite targets a larger set of accounts with shared characteristics. It combines personalized and automated marketing tactics to engage these accounts effectively. It requires a balance between customization and scalability.
  • Programmatic ABM: Programmatic ABM leverages technology and automation to scale ABM efforts to a broader audience. It utilizes data-driven insights to deliver personalized experiences at scale. This strategy is ideal for organizations with a large number of target accounts.

To develop an effective ABM strategy, consider the resources available to your organization, the characteristics of your target accounts, and the goals you aim to achieve. Collaborate closely with your sales team to align your strategy with their objectives and ensure a seamless customer experience.

Several tools and resources, such as ABM platforms, CRM systems, and marketing automation tools, can support the execution of your ABM strategy.

Step 5: Execute Your ABM Plan

With your ABM strategy in place, it's time to execute your ABM plan. This involves implementing a range of tactics to engage and nurture your target accounts. Some key tactics include:

  • Personalized Content: Develop content that resonates with your target accounts' pain points, challenges, and goals. Approximately 42% of marketers are adopting content personalization as a means to enhance account engagement and establish long-term relationships. Customize messaging and materials to address their specific needs and deliver value. 
  • Account-specific Campaigns: Create targeted campaigns tailored to individual accounts. Use a combination of channels, such as email, social media, and direct mail, to reach decision-makers and influencers within the organization.
  • Sales and Marketing Alignment: Foster strong collaboration and communication between your sales and marketing teams. Ensure they are aligned on objectives, strategies, and tactics to provide a cohesive customer experience.
  • Relationship Building: Focus on building strong relationships with key stakeholders within your target accounts. Leverage personalization, thought leadership, and networking opportunities to establish trust and credibility.
  • Continuous Engagement: Maintain a consistent presence and engagement with your target accounts. Regularly provide value through educational content, industry insights, and personalized interactions.

Implementing these tactics requires careful planning, coordination, and effective use of the tools and resources available to you. Continuously monitor and optimize your tactics based on the feedback and engagement of your target accounts.

Step 6: Measure and Analyze Results

Measuring and analyzing the results of your ABM efforts is crucial to understanding the effectiveness of your strategy and making data-driven decisions for optimization. Key metrics to track include:

  • Account Engagement: Measure the level of engagement and interaction from your target accounts. Track metrics such as website visits, content downloads, email open rates, and event attendance.
  • Pipeline Velocity: Monitor how quickly target accounts progress through the sales pipeline. Measure conversion rates, deal size, and time to close to assess the impact of your ABM efforts on revenue generation.
  • Customer Retention: Evaluate the impact of ABM on customer satisfaction and retention rates. Track metrics such as customer churn, cross-sell, and upsell opportunities.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): Calculate the ROI of your ABM activities by comparing the costs incurred with the revenue generated. Consider both direct and indirect revenue contributions.

Leverage analytics tools, CRM systems, and marketing automation platforms to gather and analyze data effectively. Regularly review the results and adjust your strategy and tactics accordingly to improve performance.

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Implementing Account-based Marketing requires a systematic and strategic approach. By defining your target accounts, building a comprehensive target account list, creating an ideal customer profile, developing an ABM strategy, executing your plan, and measuring results, you can effectively engage key decision-makers and drive revenue growth.

ABM empowers marketers and sales professionals to deliver personalized experiences and build lasting relationships with their most valuable accounts. By leveraging the right tools, resources, and best practices, you can maximize the impact of your ABM efforts and achieve long-term success.

Implementing ABM successfully requires collaboration, data-driven decision-making, and continuous optimization. By following the account based marketing guide outlined in this whitepaper, you will be well-equipped to embark on your ABM journey and unlock the full potential of your target accounts.


Featured image: Image by Freepik


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