Get Started with Account-Based Marketing

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Define account-based marketing.
  • Understand the benefits of account-based marketing.
  • Identify the effectiveness of artificial intelligence in account-based marketing campaigns.
  • Learn how to build an account-based marketing strategy using Salesforce.

What Is Account-Based Marketing?

Companies vet major purchases through an internal buying committee, and each committee member—often an executive—brings different concerns to the table. To win this business, you have to capture the hearts and minds of everyone on the buying committee. 

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategy where sales, marketing, and service teams work together to target key accounts, engage every buyer on the account, deliver connected engagements, and grow those relationships over time. In traditional broad-based marketing, a marketer creates a single campaign to target a large audience, which usually results in a less personalized experience. With ABM, internal functions join forces to identify and target accounts that are the best fit for their business. Marketing then uses this knowledge to build highly personalized campaigns that resonate with each individual buyer on the account. 

Ultimately, companies want to partner with businesses that have invested time in getting to know them and their needs. They want the right fit for the long term. An account-centric approach to business growth puts your buyer at the center of every interaction. It allows you to build trust with your buyers, close deals faster, and increase the lifetime value of your customer relationships. 

Business-to-business (B2B) marketing technology has made ABM more accessible, efficient, and powerful. About 84% of businesses that implement account-based strategies successfully have reported an increase in return on investment. 


For more information about current market trends, check out Information Technology Services Marketing Association.

By adding artificial intelligence (AI) to your ABM strategy, you can:

  • Identify accounts with a high revenue potential earlier in the buying cycle and surface the ones with the highest likelihood to purchase.
  • Design a content and campaign strategy targeted to accounts that match your ideal customer profile.
  • Personalize campaign messages efficiently.

This is where the Salesforce platform comes into play. It’s simple to implement an ABM strategy that incorporates all your data within a single AI powered, Lightning-enabled platform. Having all your data on one platform enables you to work from one data set and one set of KPIs. It also helps you align with sales and service on pipeline and revenue goals. 

Because there’s no one right approach to ABM, it can be an effective strategy for almost any B2B company. It is not meant to replace your broad-based marketing strategies and tactics. In fact, ABM works best when executed in conjunction with strategic broad-based marketing. 

Effective ABM strategies are based on developing highly personalized, targeted, 1-to-1 experiences for the accounts that matter most to your business. ABM can help you find new, high-value customers based on your best accounts today. It can also help you grow existing customer relationships through upsell and cross-sell opportunities and elevated service.

Four pillars support a successful ABM strategy: Identify key accounts, engage buyers everywhere, deliver connected engagement, and grow customer relationships. Let’s review how you can use Salesforce to implement an ABM strategy in your organization. 

Identify Key Accounts

Because an ABM strategy works best when targeting a relatively small number of accounts with the highest revenue potential and propensity to buy, you can dedicate the majority of your marketing efforts to engaging with just a few accounts within each campaign.

To identify the key accounts for your business, start by creating a single account view in your CRM solution—enriching the data you already have with external data from our Lightning Data partners. This data can include: 

  • Firmographics: Sets of characteristics, such as company size and location, that you can use to segment prospect organizations
  • Technographics: Data related to the technologies and software that companies use to run their organizations
  • Engagement data from Pardot, which you can use to develop ideal customer profiles that are similar to top customers

When marketing, sales, and service work from the same information and insights, you can engage your most valuable accounts across Sales Cloud and Pardot to net the greatest benefits to your business. 

This full customer view can also inform every account engagement across all channels.

Engage Buyers Everywhere

In an ABM campaign, first you need to understand how your targeted accounts are engaging with your campaigns. Engagement is one of the most important metrics in a campaign because it’s a good way to tell if your brand awareness and messaging are resonating with your audience. ABM practitioners usually take advantage of a broad set of channels, such as digital advertising, to create personalized experiences anywhere and anytime buyers engage.

Aligning on a single AI-powered platform provides a unified view of accounts so you can take an account-centric approach to engagement. With a marketing automation platform, such as Pardot, you can tailor messaging for your targeted accounts and deliver it in the right channel at the right time. 

Even better: By extending Pardot with Advertising Studio, you can synchronize targeted messaging into some of the most important B2B advertising channels including LinkedIn, Google (both Search and YouTube), and Facebook (including Instagram).

Together, Pardot and Advertising Studio provide a full solution that helps you create meaningful connections and engage with your accounts across the broadest set of channels possible.

Deliver Connected Engagement

Aligning your sales, marketing, and service teams begins with breaking down the traditional silos created from working with separate tools, processes, and data to achieve different goals. Effective ABM relies on these departments opening the lines of communication and ensuring that they are united around which accounts to target, which channels to use, and which metrics to track. 

AI makes it simpler than ever for internal teams to come together. The unique insight that AI provides enables marketing to identify the hottest accounts and leads. It also transforms lead management from a linear event to a cyclical one. 

For example, if a lead doesn’t convert, it goes back to marketing for additional nurturing. With additional insights, marketing can create the right content needed for sales to close the deal. And when the account is a customer, marketing, sales, and service can all use this data to understand their audience on a more granular level.

Aligning your internal teams around common and visible goals helps create transparency and accountability. This is key to providing consistent messages and experiences for your customers, no matter who they interact with at your business. 

At the end of the day, delivering connected engagement through ABM empowers the entire revenue team across marketing, sales, and service to work together to close bigger deals and nurture relationships for the long term. 

Grow Customer Relationships

Developing a culture of data-driven decision-making helps you identify the best way to personalize your marketing campaigns as you work with each account. It also gives sales, marketing, and service teams unprecedented levels of insight into the business and into your accounts.

Through the effective use of AI and analytics to measure the business, B2B companies can learn which channels and tactics have the highest rate of success and predict which ones will have the biggest impact on future campaigns. Gone are the days of educated guesses; instead, businesses can accurately pinpoint which types of campaigns produce the highest customer lifetime value.

Also, empowering your marketing and sales teams with data about service interactions—and your service teams with sales and marketing data—helps these three teams to work together to build long-term relationships that drive sustainable growth.

In the next unit, we talk about the best tools for ABM.


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