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Heather FrederickApr 30, 20217 min read

Your Account-Based Marketing Handbook for B2B


Attempting to get as many leads as possible at one time is not only exhausting, but it’s also a very “one-size-fits-all” approach that can lead to many that are unqualified. Although sales VPs everywhere want to get as many leads as possible, it is important to understand that in addition to “getting more leads” there are tactics that enable you to pick and choose these leads and do it in an informed way. It's called account-based marketing (ABM), and SIX is here to tell you what ABM is, what the benefits of ABM are, and what some tactics of ABM are that will help your strategy be successful. 

Table of Contents

What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?

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.”1 This strategy allows you to focus on the most valuable companies for your business and make sure that marketing and sales are in alignment. By catering to the highest valued and most probable to close accounts first, you are more likely to get a higher ROI, stronger customer loyalty and a shorter sales cycle. Combine ABM with inbound marketing tactics and you can soar even higher.

woman climbing stairsWhat are the Benefits of ABM - From a Birds-Eye View?


It Aligns Your Sales and Marketing Teams

Closely aligned B2B teams are extremely beneficial to any organization's growth. 

For successful ABM to occur, marketing and sales must work closely together. The marketing team must attract high-value accounts and then hand them over to the sales team. Marketing and sales teams need to focus on the same goals, and agree on the key accounts they wish to target. 

It Leads to a Shorter Sales Cycle

ABM helps your sales cycle be more efficient. Decision-makers are catered to with the right messaging from the beginning, and throughout the customer’s journey. By focusing on target accounts that are the most ideal for your business, you can spend more time on building relationships and engaging these target accounts. 

It Creates a More Personalized Customer Experience

Account-based marketing relies on personalization. Since your marketing and sales teams are completely aligned, they will be better able to understand the wants and needs of each account. Because of this universal understanding, your team will be able to provide a feeling of consistency and personalization to each account. 

It Makes Assessing Your ROI Easier

Since you have fewer accounts to track, an ABM strategy  can easily be measured. You can also tell whether or not these accounts that you invested in were a good fit for your business. 

chess pieces on boardWhat are some ABM Tactics?


Create Organizational ABM Alignment

As stated above, ABM cannot succeed if your marketing and sales teams are not aligned, but this also goes for your organizational team. Make sure all of your internal stakeholders have agreed on your account-based marketing strategy. This will ensure that all of your accounts experience consistency, as well as help the process run smoothly.

Create Your Team

Your ABM team should consist of your best marketing and sales leaders. They will need to decide who will be the marketing and sales decision-makers for each account, as well as what sales channels and what type of content will attract the target. Your team should be reliable enough and have the prior knowledge and experience to support the other marketing and sales team members at each stage of the process. They will also need to come up with the right resources and budget for each specific account.

Identify High-Value Accounts

Once you have your team together, it's time to pick out the accounts that will be the most ideal for your business. You want to make sure that these accounts will be worth your time and resources. There are a variety of ways you could do this, but one way would be to turn to LinkedIn. There, you can create alerts for specific criteria and filters. 

Create Account Profiles and Personas

Use the research you did on your high-value accounts to help you build personas for each account. This will allow you to create more personalized content. Make sure to focus on one vertical with a high average contract value instead of trying to expand multiple verticals at once. This will give you more time to improve your personas and also make sure that you understand the role every individual plays with in the organization. 

In order to grow your business you need to be able to gauge your specific markets potential for growth. This is where total addressable market (TAM) can be very useful. TAM is the total amount of revenue that could be generated if 100% of the market share belonged to your product or service. In other words, it is the highest revenue a company could possibly generate by selling their product or service to a specific market.

There are three ways you can identify your total addressable market:


  1. The Top-Down approach starts by looking at a large known population of the target market and uses the data gathered on this large population to narrow it down to a more specific target. The Top-Down approach will use industry data and reports to identify TAM.
  2. The Bottom-Up analysis uses primary market research and is based on previous sales and pricing, and because of this, it can be more reliable. To calculate TAM using this method all you need to do is multiply the total number of customers by your annual contract value (ACV). 
  3. The Value Theory is based on the estimated value that is provided to the customers by the product and how much a customer is willing to pay for that value. This approach to calculating TAM is usually used when you are trying to introduce new products to the market or you are cross-selling your products to already existing customers. 

You are not going to be able to fit everyone from your target into one broad title. Try to match each title to these three personas: champion, influencer, and decision maker. A champion is someone who will advocate the solution you have to others. An influencer is someone who will offer input during the buying process. A decision maker is the individual making the purchase within the buying process.

After you have come up with your personas it’s time to create your ideal customer profile or your ICP. This is a description of a fictitious company as a whole that fits your solution. You can start to identify what your ideal customer looks like by considering these characteristics:


  • Size - How large is the company? What is the lowest cost that this customer will pay?
  • Industry - Are there any specific verticals that you work or don't work in?
  • Geography -Is there a specific region where you don't want to sell to?

There are other characteristics such as legality and service limitations that you should also consider, but these qualities should get you started. 

Personalize Marketing Campaign and Identify Sales Channels

Focus on finding out the specific needs of your prospects and define how your product or service will fill those needs. This way, you will be irresistible to the prospect. It is also important that you know how your prospects like to communicate. Do they like to interact over social media? Or do they prefer to meet face-to-face? Some customers might prefer a direct email. Every ideal customer will be different, but their preferences will impact the way you interact with them.

Establish Interpersonal Relationships with Accounts

Getting to know your customers is a part of a successful ABM campaign. To create a personalized experience for your prospects, you need to get to know them on a personal level. This could happen organically at meetings or conferences, but your sales team can also reach out directly to send a personalized message or share personalized content, such as case studies. 

Measure and Analyze Campaign Results

Now that you have some tactics to help you with your ABM strategy, it is important to measure your success. Pinpoint what is working and what is not. You need to be able to find the gaps in your strategy and identify what needs to be changed for the best outcomes to occur. Use KPIs, or key performance indicators, to measure and analyze your campaign results. Some examples of these include account engagement, percentage of deals closed, or net new revenue.2

If you want more information on ABM or need more tools to get started, HubSpot, Terminus, Demandbase, and Engagio are great options.

Want to learn more about business strategy? Check out our blog.



1The Most Comprehensive Guide to Account Based Marketing

2The Ultimate Guide to Account-Based Marketing (ABM)


Heather Frederick

Junior Analyst/Intern | SIX Marketing