Maximizing your B2B spend: Is account-based marketing worth it?

ABM promises precise B2B targeting, but is it right for you? Learn the pros, cons and key considerations for implementing ABM effectively.

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In B2B marketing, the traditional approach of casting a wide net is increasingly being challenged by a more targeted and personalized strategy: account-based marketing (ABM).

This method focuses on identifying and engaging with specific high-value accounts, treating each as its own distinct market.

But is ABM the right approach for your business?

This article explores the potential benefits and challenges of implementing an ABM strategy, along with key factors to consider when evaluating its suitability for your organization.

Understanding account-based marketing

At its core, ABM is a strategic approach that focuses on targeting high-value accounts with personalized and relevant marketing efforts.

Unlike traditional marketing methods that typically cast a wide net, ABM is laser-focused, treating individual accounts as unique markets in themselves.

The upside: Benefits of ABM

  • Improved targeting: ABM allows digital marketers to tailor strategies to the specific needs and pain points of target accounts, resulting in more precise targeting.
  • Enhanced personalization: Personalization is crucial in today’s digital landscape. ABM enables marketers to create customized content and messaging for each targeted account, fostering stronger connections.
  • Increased sales and revenue: By concentrating efforts on high-value accounts, ABM can lead to higher conversion rates and increased revenue. The personalized approach tends to resonate more with decision-makers, facilitating the sales process.
  • Better alignment of sales and marketing teams: ABM encourages collaboration between sales and marketing teams, ensuring a unified approach towards specific target accounts. This alignment can lead to improved communication and a more streamlined sales process.

The downside: Challenges of ABM

While the benefits of ABM are significant, it’s essential to also consider the challenges that come with implementing this type of strategy:

  • Resource intensiveness: ABM requires substantial time, effort and resources. Marketers need to evaluate whether their team can commit to the level of personalization and attention required for effective ABM.
  • Data accuracy and integration: Successful ABM relies on accurate and integrated data. Digital marketing professionals must ensure their data management systems are robust enough to support the intricacies of an ABM strategy.
  • Longer sales cycles: The personalized nature of ABM can sometimes lead to longer sales cycles, meaning marketers must weigh the potential benefits against the patience required for the strategy to yield results.

A contrarian approach to ABM

The LinkedIn B2B Institute’s “2030 B2B Trends” tackles contrarian ideas for the next decade. Below are key takeaways to think about from the 43-page report: 

  • Most third-party data is unreliable; it’s highly inaccurate and expected to worsen due to the changing privacy landscape.
  • Employees frequently change roles, resulting in an unstable buying committee. Moreover, we tend to buy from the brands we know.
  • While you may be aware that IT professionals will use your product, depending on the company structure, individuals with different backgrounds, experiences and decision-making power may be involved in the purchasing process.
  • Although hyper-targeting is more expensive, this contrarian approach recommends going broader. This doesn’t imply zero targeting; rather, it suggests focusing on category reach to avoid imaginary efficiencies.
LinkedIn 2030 B2B Trends report - ABM

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So, is ABM right for you?

The key to identifying whether you are ready for ABM comes down to this.

Unless you can seamlessly pass account information from the top of the funnel to the bottom and then automate the transfer of this information to the sales/business development team, you can’t execute ABM correctly, period.

Ultimately, you must have the capability to exclude or update accounts from all targeting based on their status with the sales team in order to provide the desired experience to the client.

The following notes are also important when considering ABM:

  • Identify high-value accounts: Assess whether your business model relies on a small number of high-value accounts rather than a larger volume of smaller accounts. ABM is most effective when targeting a select group of key accounts.
  • Evaluate resources: Consider the resources available for implementing ABM. Assess your team’s bandwidth, technology infrastructure and budget to determine if you can commit to the demands of an ABM strategy.
  • Analyze sales cycle and lifetime value (LTV): If your product or service involves a complex sales process with longer decision-making timelines, ABM might be a suitable strategy to nurture and engage key accounts over time, assuming you have an LTV that will support “waiting” for the right account.

Where to start?

The best place to start is LinkedIn. It is the go-to platform for B2B marketers.

LinkedIn easily integrates with your marketing automation, CDP or CRM platform, allowing seamless back-and-forth sharing of audiences. These audiences can include email addresses (both business and personal) and account names.

While you can manually upload audiences using a CSV file, doing so may hinder the effectiveness of your ABM efforts.

You can technically add email addresses to all major ad platforms (such as Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, X, Reddit, etc.), but none offer the match rates you can find on LinkedIn, where they typically exceed 70%.

If your company leverages tools like 6Sense, Terminus or DemandBase, you can also target specific decision-makers or influencers across diverse placements and platforms they use daily.

Dig deeper: Why B2B marketing needs brand building more than lead gen

Deciding on ABM

While ABM offers a potent strategy for B2B marketers, its success ultimately depends on carefully considering resource availability, target account characteristics and a commitment to personalization. These are simply necessary for success. 

Furthermore, the LinkedIn B2B Institute’s report sheds additional light on key considerations, including the challenges of third-party data and the need for a balanced approach, considering the dynamic nature of buying committees. 

With this information, you are set up to make an informed decision. Leveraging the benefits and challenges discussed, use strategic evaluation to determine whether ABM aligns with your digital marketing objectives – then reconsider the question, “Is ABM right for you?” 

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Andrea Cruz
Andrea Cruz is a Senior Director of Client Strategy at Tinuiti. She has a decade plus of experience in driving and implementing SEM, Social Media, ABM, and content syndication campaigns on platforms including Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, Meta, LinkedIn, and more. Beyond paid search and social platforms, Cruz is proficient in Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, various CRMs and has previous experience in operations and B2B purchasing. Originally from Venezuela, Cruz earned a master's degree in international business. She has spoken at numerous industry events, including SMX Advanced.

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