ABM vs Volume-based Lead Generation – What’s the Right Call for Your Company

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Account-based marketing (ABM) tactics are being adopted by some of the world’s biggest tech companies, and thanks to a response rate of 47%, these organizations are seeing great success with this marketing tactic.

If, as a founder, you’re wondering whether your startup could benefit from ABM, read on to find out.

What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?

Account-based marketing (ABM) is the practice of focusing your marketing and sales efforts on an account or company, rather than a single person within an organization. This strategic approach to marketing places emphasis on account awareness and targets all of a company’s decision-makers at once.

Account-based marketing strategy is mostly used for larger ACV (Annual Contract Value) sales where decisions are made by several people within a company. The aim is to engage every potential customer by creating content that is company-specific.

The aim of ABM is a higher engagement rate and close rate, improved retention, and the opportunity to upsell. Done correctly, ABM can prove to be an excellent growth strategy for your company.

How Does ABM Work?

The first task of an ABM marketing campaign is to identify the target accounts. You can do so by looking at buyer personas and data including company size, technographics, location, number of employees, and annual revenue.

Even if your solution is aimed at a particular department of a company, it’s important to get through to every person that has a say in the buying process. One way of doing this is to work closely with a handful of stakeholders at the prospect company who can then act as advocates for your offering.

A key factor of ABM is that your sales and marketing teams must work closely together to create personalized messaging and coordinated sales activities. Progress should be recorded across the two departments and it’s up to both parties to decipher when, where, and how your solution is shared. It’s also important for both teams to work together on lead scoring to determine which potential and existing clients are most valuable and should be targeted.

ABM works best when you have target accounts identified. Social media platforms, email and direct mail can also be key to making your ABM strategy work for you, and sites like LinkedIn and Facebook have the power to target customers with refined added value such as content marketing materials. You can also use these channels to build strong working relationships with current customers and sales-ready leads throughout the sales cycle while developing a better understanding of your target accounts.

If your organization already utilizes marketing automation tools, you can make great use of them for your ABM program. Any CRM worth its salt should allow you to tag and filter contacts based on their demographics to quickly identify your target audience. Lead nurturing, which ABM heavily relies on, can be managed by automated email solutions to make your sales reps as efficient as possible.

Why use ABM?

According to Alterra Group, 65% of B2B marketers indicate that ABM provides “significant benefits” for attracting new customers. Further reporting by ITSMA also found that 84% of marketers say that ABM generates a higher ROI when compared to other marketing initiatives. This is likely due to 75% of customers preferring a personalized approach, according to data collected by Aberdeen Group.

An ABM lead generation strategy can also create a united relationship between your sales team and marketing department, which can increase demand generation by helping your company to enter new markets and re-engage current customers.

ABM vs Lead Generation Strategies – What are the Main Differences?

New vs Nurture

As the name suggests, traditional outbound lead generation campaigns typically focus on generating new leads. They also rely on personalized content and a commitment to delivering value and relevance throughout the buyer’s journey.

Account-based marketing campaigns do this too but focus on securing high-value prospects while retaining and growing existing accounts via a series of cross-selling and upselling tactics.

People vs Account

ABM strategy usually focuses on people, whereas traditional lead gen operates from an account-centric perspective. ABM also bucks the trend of sales and marketing departments working as separate entities and brings them together for a more cohesive approach.

Specialized Prospects vs Broad Appeal

ABM works better if you only have a small market that you can potentially sell to. If your offering is highly specialized, it’s feasible to create personalized marketing plans which are imperative to the success of ABM. If however, your product or service can be marketed to thousands of organizations, traditional lead generation may be the better option for your startup.

Channels and tactics differ between the two marketing methods, too. Account-based marketing focuses on outbound channels such as email and outbound marketing to create a highly personalized experience.

Is ABM Right for Your Company?

According to Sirius Decisions, ABM is most commonly used by companies worth less than $100m, with 45% of those companies utilizing this marketing method. 75% of the companies using ABM have more than 1,000 employees, because having enough resources are a significant factor in the success of ABM.

The second thing to consider is how many prospects you could potentially reach out to. If your market is niche, you’re focusing your sales efforts on high-value accounts, or you intend to cross-sell or upsell to your existing customers, ABM is well suited to your startup.


ABM delivers a high ROI but is by no means a quick fix for your business. Results take time, and if the technique isn’t properly implemented or a good fit for your specific organization you might never see results.

But, if you get it right, you can expect to penetrate accounts in a way that other marketing tactics can’t offer. By facilitating the joint efforts of sales reps, marketers, and account managers, and executing a well-planned campaign, your business can really reap the benefits.

Want to see how this applies to your company? Click here for a complimentary strategy session to review your outbound playbook.

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