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Everything you need to know about B2B account-based marketing

8 February 23

Business-to-business (B2B) marketing has fallen behind the times. While business-to-consumer (B2C) or direct-to-consumer (D2C) organizations have transitioned their marketing strategies to be customer focused, B2B marketing strategies are still overwhelmingly sales focused. The emergence of account-based marketing (ABM) as a B2B marketing strategy has begun to turn the tide, employing multiple departments and teams to support customers throughout their journey.

B2B account-based marketing is an emerging marketing strategy which focuses on providing high quality, end-to-end customer service. Compared to traditional B2B marketing models, ABM is less sales focused and aims to support the customer throughout their journey by leveraging the expertise of various departments, including marketing and customer success teams.

What does ABM mean in marketing?

Account-based marketing, often referred to as ABM, is a marketing strategy which leverages the combined expertise of sales, marketing and customer service teams within an organization to target high-value prospects or accounts with unique, tailored marketing and outreach. 

In order to engage and close deals with high value prospects, B2B sales, marketing and customer success teams each work with one singular ABM strategy, each taking ownership of different parts of the customer journey.

While the traditional B2B customer journey is handled largely by sales teams, B2B account-based marketing strategies utilize sales, marketing, and customer success teams in tandem, extending the customer journey end-to-end, and providing the customer with more support and more touch points throughout.

What does account-based experience (ABX) mean?

Account-based experience, more commonly known as ABX, is a B2B marketing strategy which is solely focused on providing the highest level of customer experience to high value prospects and accounts. ABX marketing strategies are similar to ABM strategies in this regard, though there are marked differences between the two strategies.

ABX is an emerging type of marketing strategy that can be viewed as an extension of an ABM strategy. B2B marketing has, until recently, been largely centered on achieving sales. The development of ABX shifts the focus away from sales and towards customer experience instead, which thus allows marketing outbound operations to be more effective.

What’s the difference between ABX and ABM?

ABM and ABX are largely similar as marketing strategies, both focused on leveraging the skills of different departments to provide outstanding, well-targeted customer service to high value prospects and accounts. ABX should be viewed as an extension of ABM. If you’re practicing an ABM strategy – with a focus on customer experience and a joint approach from sales, marketing and customer service teams – it’s likely you’re actually already practicing ABX without even knowing it.

Account-based marketing strategy plays for every team

ABM, as we’ve touched on above, is a multi-channel marketing strategy. Utilizing the skillsets of different departments, including sales, marketing, and customer success teams, ABM strategies support and engage customers throughout the entire pipeline journey, end to end. Below, you’ll find some tips for incorporating B2B account-based marketing plays into your existing strategy.

ABM strategies for marketing

ABM is an incredibly useful strategy for acquisition marketers trying to engage new contacts and leads. Creative outbound marketing emails that stand out from the crowd, particularly those including something of use to the recipient, are sure to improve the odds of a lead converting. Use intent data to create high-quality, narrowly targeted email content. Share resources, landing pages, and blogs with prospects to help educate them.

Even consider leveraging the power of corporate gifting by sending prospects a small gift to engage them. By focusing your outbound marketing efforts on creating the best customer experience possible, you’ll ensure prospects and high-value accounts have a positive and lasting impression of you and your organization.

ABM strategies for sales

Sales teams also have a lot to gain from an ABM strategy. Personalizing your prospecting process is a great way to engage key stakeholders in target accounts – check out our case study to see how this tactic increased’s response rates by 600%.

Getting creative with events is also sure to boost engagement. As hybrid-remote working remains the norm for many workers, C-suite members often find themselves in back-to-back virtual meetings on a daily basis. 

While in-person events and conferences used to provide ABM marketers with opportunities to engage with executives, the new working landscape presents a challenge as marketers need to do something unique to be noticed. Host out-of-the-box virtual events to capture the attention of key stakeholders, and send personalized follow-up emails afterwards to keep engagement up.

ABM strategies for customer success

ABM strategy plays for customer success teams are all about ensuring the best customer experience at every opportunity. Direct mail can form part of an ABM strategy and be employed throughout the customer journey to create memorable, physical touchpoints at key milestones, such as onboarding, contract renewals, or even personal milestones, like birthdays, work anniversaries or weddings.

Nurturing customer relationships is crucial to any ABM strategy and corporate gifting plays should not be reserved for new prospects. They should also be utilized to re-engage quiet customers, as these customers are usually considered a churn risk. ABM strategy plays should be utilized to re-engage them before they’re lost.

Benefits of ABM

ABM marketing strategies present a wide range of benefits, including...

Better close rates

B2B account-based marketing uses a narrowly targeted, aligned approach to engage decision makers in key organizations. The alignment of different departments working towards one goal with highly personalized outreach and marketing content results in higher close rates and greater revenue.

Better customer experience

Customer experience is absolutely vital for engaging and retaining key accounts. Account-based marketing strategies are all about customer experience, focusing on engaging prospects and clients at key moments in the customer journey, leaving them with a lasting and positive impression of your business.

Better efficiency

B2B account-based marketing is also an incredibly efficient strategy. After singling out the highest value prospects you wish to engage, and the accounts you want to retain, the sales, marketing, and customer success departments focus all their energy directly on these targets. This means that your account-based marketing strategy invests all of your outbound marketing resources into the targets with the greatest potential – wasting no time, effort, or budget on less valuable prospects.

How to implement account-based marketing plays into your marketing strategy

Are you ready to elevate your ABM strategy? Check out our blog post to learn how to deliver great customer experiences with data-driven account-based experience, our on-demand “ABX next gen" webinar to discover best practices for integrating ABX across channels and building a scalable ABX program, or our comprehensive ABX guide, packed with tips for creating a data-driven and personalized experience for your customers. 


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