What Is Account Based Marketing? 10 Definitions from the Experts

March 8, 2016

Account Based Marketing Definitions

An increasing number of B2B marketers are embracing account-based marketing (ABM) as part of their overall marketing efforts. Marketers using ABM work closely with their sales team to identify key prospects and then tailor customized programs and messages to the buying team at targeted accounts.

Marketers are using ABM, because it can improve alignment between the sales and marketing teams. A number of new tools and technologies on the market have made ABM more practical by enabling marketers to deliver targeted messages with improved precision. In fact, LinkedIn just introduced a new targeting capability  that helps support ABM: LinkedIn Account Targeting.  

LinkedIn Account Targeting enables marketers to engage the accounts that matter most to their business by tailoring their LinkedIn Sponsored Content and LinkedIn Sponsored InMail campaigns to a list of top priority accounts, and then layering profile-based targeting, such as job function or seniority, to put their content in front of the right people in a particular organization.

Marketers can learn how to bolster their ABM efforts – or implement a new program – by studying other marketers who are ABM leaders. We asked 10 ABM experts to share their definitions of account-based marketing, which can provide some insight of how they put it into practice. Read on for their answers.

10 Marketing Experts Define Account Based Marketing

Account based marketing is more targeted and personalized versus spray and pray, where you’re just trying to capture anyone in your net. You’re being very specific about who you want to talk with, and it’s a way for sales and marketing to align on the target.

                            -- Meagen Eisenberg, CMO, MongoDB

In its purest form, account based marketing has been around forever. Account based marketing is simply instead of fishing with nets, we’re fishing with spears. You identify exactly the prospects you want to do business with and then you market very precisely and narrowly to them directly. I think we have a renewed interest in ABM now, because there’s an advancement in tools and technology that make it a little easier to execute – but the idea of doing target account selling and target account marketing is not new.

                            -- Matt Heinz, President, Heinz Marketing

Our definition of account-based marketing is just good marketing. If you only had one prospect to sell and market to, you would treat them with the same principles as outlined in ABM. It’s just aiming at a more well-defined area of that funnel, and treating your best buyers in a much more personal way. And we’re focusing on not only the lead but the account as a whole.

                            -- Justin Gray, CMO, LeadMD

To break down walls between sales and marketing, ABM is pretty close to a silver bullet in that it aligns programs’ dollars and focus behind the accounts that the sales teams cares about. So there's inherent buy-in. That said, ABM is only as good as your visibility into your highest potential accounts and best-fit customer segments, which gets clearer over time. So it’s most effective when deployed as part of a comprehensive set of targeting strategies.

                            -- Dave Karel, Head of B2B Marketing, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions

Account-based marketing is thinking of the account as a market of one. It’s about being laser-focused on their needs and deploying the most effective marketing tactics available to nurture value-added, pervasive conversations with key stakeholders. This is the place where marketing and sales are at their closest, brought together by common goals and a crystal clear understanding of what success looks like.

                            -- Nick Panayi, Head of Digital Marketing and Global Brand, CSC

I define account-based marketing as total marketing and sales alignment around who are target customers and the efforts to go get them. They align with the same outcome in mind: to get a specific account as a customer.

                            -- Dave Rigotti, Head of Marketing, Bizible

ABM to me and to CSC is treating a single account as a market of one, and within that marketing of one we’re looking to customize our marketing activities and message in close collaboration with our sales team – and not just down to a buying center or persona but right down to the individual.

            -- Dorothea Gosling, ABM and Pursuit Marketing Center of Excellence Leader, CSC

Account Based Marketing is a strategic approach that coordinates personalized marketing and sales efforts to open doors and deepen engagement at specific accounts.

                            -- Jon Miller, CEO and Co-Founder, Engagio

Instead of leveraging a set of broad-reaching programs designed to touch the largest possible number of prospective customers, an ABM strategy focuses marketing and sales resources on a defined set of targeted accounts and employs personalized campaigns designed to resonate with each individual account. With ABM, your marketing message is based on the attributes and needs of the account you’re targeting.

                            -- David Cain, GVP, Global Marketing, Marketo

Account based marketing is focused B2B Smarketing. I say “Smarketing” because ABM is all about focusing on the right accounts in collaboration with sales. ABM is not a solo activity. It's the combination and range of activities from advertising, direct mail, calls, emails, content — all centered around the ideal set of accounts that you believe has the need for your solution. It's quality over quantity in its most basic form.

                            -- Sangram Vajre, Co-Founder and CMO, Terminus

Now that you know how these marketing pros define account-based marketing, it’s time for you to get out there and turn your knowledge into action. Take advantage of the tools that are available to you to target your accounts and market to who matters.

To learn more about LinkedIn Account Targeting, check out our website, contact your Marketing Solutions Account executive, or fill out the form here.

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