Table of Contents

Defining Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

How Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Integrates Marketing and Sales

5 Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Acquisition Techniques:
1. Create a client wish list
2. Conduct qualitative research
3. Assess your current marketing
4. Create marketing tactics
5. Execute and monitor

5 Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Retention Techniques:
1. Analyse customer data
2. Segment your clients by value
3. Speak to your customers
4. Cross-sell and upsell
5. Create and implement regular check-ins with your clients

Do you need help with your Account-Based Marketing Strategy?

Right now, my team and I are, individually, spending a lot of time as the fractional CMO, within businesses from many different industries.

By far, the most common question that I am personally getting asked by these different businesses is this:

"How can we refine our marketing efforts to make them more targeted and efficient during these leaner economic times?"

This is a great question at the best of times, but it’s especially pertinent now. However, I believe this question can be simplified even further:

“How can we achieve more but spend less?”

In response to this question, I ordinarily encourage a business to integrate its sales and marketing departments, especially considering the synergy of the metrics between each of these arms.

If you have been following me for some time on LinkedIn, you have come across the methodology that we believe in at Ask Marketing, and that is demand generation, specific for B2B and service businesses.

Let's assume that you are up to speed on what that is and have considered how this approach benefits you. If not, here is a quick run down of the difference between Demand Generation and Lead Generation.

However, given today's climate, there’s a secondary marketing methodology I recommend that not only ticks that box but also takes things one step further: Account-Based Marketing (ABM).

At its core, ABM is a focused strategy that tailors marketing efforts to specific dream accounts (clients), prioritising personalised engagement over mass outreach.

In this article, I’m going to delve deeper into this strategy and walk you through 10 Account-Based Marketing techniques that you can use for both client acquisition and client retention.

Ultimately, if executed correctly, this ABM strategy promises to amplify the efficiency and efficacy of your marketing initiatives, helping to improve your sales revenue despite you working with a much tighter budget.

Let’s take a closer look.

Defining Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

Account-based marketing, or as I prefer to call it, “customer-based” or “client-based” marketing, is a strategic approach that focuses on targeting specific high-value accounts with marketing efforts that are personalised to them.

Unlike traditional marketing, which casts a wide net to reach a broad audience, ABM prioritises precision, targeting one direct prospect with precise strategic material.

It involves tailoring your marketing:

  • messages, 
  • content,
  • collateral, and
  • campaigns

to resonate with the unique needs and preferences of individual target accounts.

For this reason, ABM is all about choosing one (or multiple) dream “whale” client(s) and building your marketing strategy with the end goal of landing that client in mind.

This methodology empowers businesses to optimise their marketing resources, directing efforts to not just land a chosen client but to land a client that will account for the highest proportion of their revenue.

In other words, more revenue, less marketing spend!

But more on that later.

First, let’s consider how ABM can help you synergise your marketing and sales functions to save you valuable time and effort.

How Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Integrates Marketing and Sales

A primary benefit of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is that it seamlessly integrates the marketing and sales efforts of a business by encouraging alignment (or a total merge) between the two departments.

Unlike traditional methods, where marketing generates leads and hands them off to the sales department, ABM encourages both teams to work together throughout the entire customer journey.

While ABM results in a sale, the entire process is largely a marketing execution, guided by sales tactics and research.

Now, I’m a marketer, so you may accuse me of bias – but let me explain.

ABM ensures that marketing campaigns are precisely targeted to meet the needs of specific accounts, which the sales department has identified as high-potential opportunities.

So, by aligning sales and marketing metrics, using the latest AI tools, as well as client research and strategies, the new combined department can develop tailored content and campaigns that resonate with targeted accounts, guiding them through the entire customer journey to nurture the relationship and ultimately close the sale.

This integration between sales and marketing leads to greater efficiency, as marketing resources (with the guidance and expertise of the sales team) are directed towards the most promising sales opportunities, resulting in higher conversion rates and increased revenue.

Win-win, right?!

5 Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Acquisition Techniques

1. Create a client wish list

Step one in Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Acquisition involves creating a Client Wish List, where you identify and prioritise a select group of dream clients.

As opposed to casting a wide net across an entire customer segment, industry or market, this targeted approach allows you to focus your resources and efforts on accounts with the highest potential for revenue generation and long-term value.

By carefully curating a list of 5 “whale” clients to target, and pairing this with a specific time frame such as “over the next year” or “over the next financial year”, you can tailor your marketing messages and campaigns to specifically address the needs, pain points and preferences of these accounts.

This personalised approach not only increases the likelihood of capturing the attention and interest of your target clients but also fosters stronger relationships and deeper engagement from the outset.

2. Conduct qualitative research

Step two involves conducting qualitative research to gather the insights and understanding you need to inform your approach to targeting your dream list of accounts.

This requires your sales and marketing teams to collaborate and engage in conversations with decision-makers within companies similar to the clients you’re targeting.

Another great way to gather this data is to run LinkedIn Polls or distribute Surveys to gather mass feedback from your audience and customers.

Qualitative research offers the chance to gather valuable information about the needs, challenges, preferences, pain points and priorities of your target audience so that you can better tailor your messaging and offerings to resonate with them.

On top of this, it’s important to conduct a competitor analysis for your dream client and use this to identify the gaps or opportunities they could fill or take advantage of with your assistance. Ultimately, this will boost the value of your offering.

Furthermore, identifying any network connections or relationships between your company and the target account can help facilitate introductions or warm engagements, increasing the effectiveness of your ABM strategies.

3. Assess your current marketing

Step three involves assessing your current marketing strategies and tactics in light of the insights gained from researching your dream account(s).

This step requires a thorough examination of your existing marketing efforts to identify any gaps or deficiencies that may hinder your ability to engage and convert the client.

Take the time to assess your:

  • content, 
  • channels, 
  • collateral,
  • messaging, and
  • overall marketing strategy

to determine areas for improvement or optimisation.

If your current marketing initiatives are already aligned with the needs and preferences of your target audience, then great! However, in my experience, most organisations identify plenty of opportunities to improve their strategies during this process.

By closing these gaps and addressing deficiencies in your marketing efforts, you can ensure that your ABM approach is strategic, impactful and successfully tailored to the unique requirements of your target accounts.

4. Create marketing tactics

The next step involves translating your findings from the previous two steps and using them to create actionable marketing and sales tactics that are tailored to landing your target accounts.

With a clear understanding of your “whale” client’s:

  • needs, 
  • pain points, and
  • preferences,

as well as an assessment of where your current marketing efforts are falling short, you can develop highly targeted marketing campaigns and sales tactics designed to resonate perfectly with key decision-makers in your target organisation.

This could encompass a range of strategies, including:

  • personalised email or LinkedIn outreach, 
  • client-specific content creation, like case studies from like-for-like businesses
  • customised pitch decks, and much more.

By aligning your tactics with the unique characteristics and requirements of your target accounts, you can increase the relevance and effectiveness of your outreach efforts, driving engagement and conversion rates upward.

Just remember, this means landing your biggest and best client to date with fewer marketing dollars spent in the process!

5. Execute and monitor

Finally, it’s time to execute on your strategy.

You need to begin distributing your marketing tactics through a variety of previously identified channels.

As you roll out your campaigns, it's crucial to closely monitor their effectiveness, tracking key metrics such as engagement rates, conversion rates and pipeline progression.

By continuously assessing the performance of your ABM efforts, you can identify what's working well, and more importantly, where adjustments may be necessary to improve your results.

Put simply, the tactics you develop in step four aren’t meant to be static. Rather, you need to refine your approach over time, making data-driven decisions to enhance the impact and efficiency of your client acquisition strategies.

If done successfully, I’m confident that you will land one or many of your dream “whale” clients. But that’s just the beginning of the story.

You need to be able to retain them as well!

5 Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Retention Techniques

1. Analyse customer data

Once you’ve landed one or multiple dream clients, it’s crucial to retain them.

To do this, begin by analysing customer data to gain insights into their purchase and usage trends with your company, including:

  • transaction records, 
  • engagement metrics, and
  • any feedback or reviews,

and use this to develop a comprehensive understanding of your client’s behaviour and preferences.

This analysis enables you to identify patterns in their purchasing habits, determine their preferred products or services, and most importantly, uncover any areas where they may be underutilising or disengaging from your offerings.

Armed with this knowledge as a foundation, you can tailor your retention strategies to effectively address the needs and desires of the client, increasing their satisfaction and loyalty.

This approach also allows you to anticipate their future needs and proactively engage with them to ensure a long-term relationship is formed – maximising their lifetime value to your business.

2. Segment your clients by value

Next, segment your clients based on their value to your business per year.

By categorising clients according to their annual value, you can prioritise your retention efforts and allocate resources more effectively.

In the same way that you aimed to land the highest value client during the acquisition process, ABM retention is about doing everything you can to keep your most valuable account(s) on the books.

The rationale is simple: high-value customers who contribute significantly to your revenue should receive special attention and personalised engagement to ensure their continued loyalty and satisfaction.

Conversely, customers with lower annual value require less intensive investment (especially when times are tight) because the ROI of retaining them is much lower.

Difficult as it may be, this strategy is how you get more for less during an economic downturn.

3. Speak to your customers

Customer retention is all about relationships.

Therefore, the strategies you adopt should naturally involve engaging with your high-ticket client to gain deeper insights into their needs, challenges and goals.

Through these interviews, you can establish open communication channels and demonstrate a genuine interest in addressing their concerns so that the business arrangement doesn’t sour over time.

Ultimately, the goal of these conversations is to nurture the client and uncover valuable feedback so that you can tailor your offerings and services to better meet their needs moving forward.

It’s also important to keep an eye on the future, which means discussing potential challenges and goals in advance so that you can proactively identify opportunities to support and collaborate with the client.

In this way, conducting interviews with customers is a powerful way to deepen your understanding of their needs and strengthen your relationship with them for the long term.

4. Cross-sell and upsell

Part of the value of keeping an eye on the future is that it helps you identify cross-selling and upselling opportunities that may interest your high-ticket clients.

This shouldn’t be done for the sake of upselling, but rather as a means of preventing future challenges or helping the target client reach their future goals.

By leveraging the insights gained from:

  • client data,
  • client interviews, and 
  • the segmentation process,

you can pinpoint not only which clients to upsell, but more importantly, which additional products or services align with their needs and preferences moving forward.

This ensures your marketing efforts are proactive, not reactive, boosting the chances that they continue to seek your business – and increasing their lifetime value!

5. Create and implement regular check-ins with your clients

As a final step, create and implement a structured check-in process on a:

  • monthly, 
  • quarterly, and 
  • annual basis.

TIP: I suggest building this process into your regular operational task management software. I like to use but other tools like Asana or Trello work well too. This isn’t about re-inventing the wheel, but building this process into your existing systems so they are followed systematically.

This may seem like a lot, but consistent communication with your client is crucial to ensure the relationship remains mutually beneficial.

This check-in process is designed to track customer satisfaction, address any issues or concerns that they may have, and ensure that they are satisfied with the current offering.

In the case that they aren’t satisfied, you and your team can tend to any problems before they begin to disengage. This approach also allows you to maintain open lines of communication and prevent the likelihood that they grow tired or un-involved with your team or your products and services.

Again, these check-ins are designed to reinforce the value of your offerings, or even to showcase new services that you can cross-sell and upsell, meaning you aren’t just maintaining your relationship with your dream client – you’re also strengthening it over time.

Okay, that’s a lot to take in and execute. While ABM is straightforward in principle, it can be a difficult process to implement in practice, so what can you do?

As we always say, all you have to do is ASK!

Do you need help with your Account-Based Marketing Strategy?

At Ask Digital Marketing, we act as an outsourced Chief Marketing Officer, offering a managed marketing solution to help B2B service-based businesses build demand, establish thought leadership and own their industry through digital business marketing.

Stop waiting. Start building. And land your dream client!

Just get in touch with us and we can discuss your business and the ways we can help you adopt an Account-Based Marketing Strategy today.

Together, let’s solidify your Account-Based Marketing Strategy and achieve your business goals!

For more great marketing content, connect with our company leaders, Alexandra King and Stephanie King, or follow our Ask Marketing LinkedIn page.

Alexandra King

Ali has a proven track record of aligning with commercial business objectives and translating research into key insights that result in exceptional marketing strategies, online user experiences and positive financial results.