Account-based marketing for B2B eBook

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Account-based marketing (ABM) requires long-term strategic thinking, and often a cultural shift within organisations, but it needn’t be complicated, difficult, or expensive to implement within your existing global B2B branding and marketing strategy. With clear, measurable benefits, ABM won’t just improve your bottom line – it will build trust in your brand, your people, and your promise.

Table of contents

  1. Why you need ABM to drive international growth with high-value B2B accounts
  2. How to ensure greater ABM impact and better returns
  3. What can ABM do for you?
  4. The role of ABM in your global brand position
  5. Step 1 / Align sales and marketing
  6. Step 2 / Identify your targets
  7. Step 3 / Create and activate content
  8. How can CBC help you to implement an ABM programme?

Why you need ABM to drive international growth with high-value B2B accounts

In today’s hyper-competitive market, B2B businesses can no longer just rely on traditional forms of inbound marketing or hope that valuable and coveted accounts will simply stumble across their content and decide to reach out. It is far better to proactively focus on the highest opportunity, highest-value accounts to maximise your relevance to them and build strong, long-lasting relationships. This will promote growth, boost revenue, and position your business as a trusted, valued partner. ABM can be the way to achieve this.

What is ABM, and what does it achieve?

  • A strategic, customer-centric approach to marketing based on account awareness
  • Allows you to communicate with individual prospects as individual markets of one
  • Demonstrates understanding of your customers’ needs through content and campaigns tailored for specific buying centres at specific companies
  • Shortens the sales cycle and makes efficient use of resources
  • Ensures a greater ROI on your marketing spend and, ultimately, a better bottom line
  • Aligns sales and marketing towards unified goals

Done right, ABM is not difficult
Establishing a dedicated ABM programme needn’t be complex or difficult – it can be designed in various ways depending on how your business is structured, what performance metrics you consider to be the most valuable, and what resources are available. The value and impact of adopting ABM into your marketing strategy are clear. We’ll show you why, alongside practical steps to prepare your ABM pilot, and how to activate content to engage target accounts.

How to ensure greater account-based marketing impact and better returns

Solve your customers’ problems
With ABM, the focus should be on solving the buyer’s problems, not simply promoting a service or product you want to sell. To do this, you need to understand your target’s business sufficiently to create content that shows how you are uniquely placed to help them achieve their business objectives.

Getting sales and marketing to work together in a consistent, coherent way is the key to providing a more personal experience for individuals within target accounts. But this requires more than just sharing information and agreeing on goals – they need to be equal partners working as one.

Easy to implement
ABM goes beyond lead generation and focuses on delivering personalised content that enables buyers to envision why your solution will bring unique value to their business. Not only does this help you influence, win, and retain customers, but it fosters loyalty and brand advocates.

Craft personalised content
ABM takes sales and marketing personalisation to a deeper level by developing content that provides value-focused insights to key decision-makers, demonstrating how you will help them achieve their business objectives. Doing this increases your relevance in the eyes of the buyer centre and positions you as a partner for solving specific challenges.

What can account-based marketing do for you?

Many organisations want to launch an ABM initiative but are unsure where to start. ABM begins with a simple question: “What are the target account’s business objectives?” By identifying what challenges key accounts are focused on solving, you can concentrate resources to drive change and intent. However, to maximise the benefits, you need be crystal clear on your goals, and what you want to achieve. As with other inbound strategies, ABM requires a committed, long-term plan – it’s not a quick fix. And it’s vitally important that any ABM programme is aligned with your overall brand strategy, to ensure it supports – and elevates – your global brand positioning. Do this, and the benefits of ABM are numerous, both for your own business and for your potential customers.

Internal benefits

  • Gather better customer insights that will benefit you in the future as well as now
  • Relevant content improves your brand image and builds trust in your brand
  • Greater sales and marketing collaboration shortens sales cycles and maximises upsell
  • Improved reporting and more relevant metrics lead to better targeting and conversion rates
  • Higher win rates generate growth, increased revenue, and greater market share

Customer benefits

  • Personalised content delivers a buying vision focused on business impact and value
  • Speaks to customer’s precise needs and offers concrete solutions
  • Helps customers take steps to grow their business
  • Streamlines the whole sales process, making it simple, seamless, and pleasurable

The role of account-based marketing in your global brand position

Remember the bigger picture
Branding isn’t often mentioned when considering ABM programmes, but it should be. ABM is just one aspect of your global B2B branding and marketing strategy, and a very useful opportunity to align values between your brand and the key decision-makers in buyer centres. As such, your brand values need to play an active role in your ABM content, both internal and external and demonstrate your brand’s commitment to helping customers achieve their business goals.

Use brand values to engage customers on an emotional level
If your brand values do not align with those of your targeted accounts, no amount of marketing or sales will turn them into customers. Buyers build an emotional connection to brands that speak to them, so you need to consider how an ABM programme fits into the more global picture of your brand, and what you stand for. Your ABM content needs to match reasons to believe in your brand with the specific objectives and pain points of your targeted accounts, demonstrating how you are uniquely equipped to solve them. This will foster far deeper connections, turning your brand into one that leads and that customers trust.

Step 1: Align sales and marketing

Empower both departments to achieve more
For ABM to be successful, sales and marketing cannot work in their own individual silos. However, working together and close collaboration is just part of what’s required. A shared belief in the value and benefits of ABM is vital, as is a mutual commitment to transparency, sharing insights, and continuous improvement across operational processes, KPI metrics, and goal alignment. It also requires uniting key stakeholders from sales and marketing – and the C suite – for discussions and agreement on the desired outcomes of the ABM process. It can be very effective to create an ABM taskforce as an agile team who are engaged and committed to driving a fresh approach.

Pull together to maximise ABM’s benefits
Making sure all the relevant departments are aligned and fully supportive of ABM means they are more invested in its success. They should feel they have a say in establishing goals, and you should ensure these are realistic, measurable, and have a direct impact on improving business results.

Plot a path to success
For an ABM approach to work, your sales and marketing teams need to communicate proactively, and both need to be involved in new account acquisition from beginning to end. This means there will be overlap in the go-to-market planning process. For example, sales should provide input on the creative side of planning and implementing advertising, while marketing teams must have an understanding of what constitutes a high-value deal or customer. The end goal is to mutually understand key touch points in the buyer journey from prospect to customer, so that both sales and marketing can add their own insight into the process to define and support high-value accounts.

Step 2: Identify your targets

Create an ideal customer profile
An ABM target is a specific account or closely related group of companies that represent potential high-value customers. These target accounts require focused outreach from your sales and marketing teams in order to turn them into customers and brand advocates – loyalty, and positive word-of-mouth recommendations, are priceless. The bulk of your energy and resources should therefore be laser-focused on best-fit accounts that have the highest revenue potential for your business.

So, how do you decide which companies to target, which to prioritise, and which resources will most effectively move them through the sales cycle?

  1. Identify existing high-value accounts and develop insights to determine what factors make them ideal
  2. Consider which companies, industries, or sectors might provide future strategic value
  3. Decide what might eliminate an account from consideration

Use technology and data to focus research
CRM tools like Salesforce, Hubspot, or Microsoft Dynamics can help you create a unified view of existing relationships across a current account. Example qualifiers might include: customer lifetime value, forecasted projects in the pipeline, company financial information, and decision-maker relationships.

Choose your targets wisely
Remember, not all accounts are created equal. It’s wise to allocate more resources to accounts that have the highest revenue potential or provide the most strategic value for your business; Tier 1 accounts are most similar to your highest value customers (Tier 1 also includes logos with strategic value), while Tier 2 accounts have great profile characteristics but a lower potential lifetime value.

Step 3: Create and activate content

Improve the buyer experience
Having aligned your sales and marketing teams, and identified and prioritised target accounts, it’s time to engage them with targeted content.

Your focus should be on building contacts with buyers, decision-makers, and stakeholders by delivering tailored experiences and campaigns.

This means publishing relevant, value-adding content that gives them useful knowledge and insights and positions you as an expert uniquely placed to address their pain points.

For your content strategy to be truly activated, you must always be able to anticipate what content will resonate best based on behaviour, engagement, and data. Content activation allows your buyers’ content journeys to be living, breathing things that can quickly and easily change course based on their behaviours.

Designing a tailored content experience across relevant channels will help you achieve this, as will understanding and accurately measuring account engagement.

Offer unique solutions and value
Thought leadership content can help differentiate your company and positively influence potential customers.

Thought leadership impacts on brand perception, compels decision makers to take action, and provides a basis for target accounts to determine your trustworthiness, competence and credibility.

Each blog post, white paper, case study, or explainer video is an opportunity to demonstrate not only your expertise, but also your desire to provide useful content geared toward people whose needs you understand – in other words, turning your customer’s challenges into commercial opportunities.

Action plan

  1. Conduct a content audit to understand what relevant content you already have
  2. Adapt existing content to fit the purpose of ABM programme
  3. Create new, missing content assets


How can CBC help you to implement an account-based marketing programme?

What we can do for you

  • Strategy: Set clear goals for strategic opportunities
  • Planning: ABM programme and planning with sales and marketing
  • Mapping: Define the ideal accounts you want to target
  • Setup: Provide the platforms for data, measurement, and tracking
  • Content: Map, audit, and develop targeted content
  • Execute: Implement your campaign across relevant touchpoints

At CBC, we can help you use account-based marketing to build a stronger global brand position and to drive new business opportunities. With over 40 years’ experience in international B2B branding and marketing, we are experts in brand development, marketing activation, and digital engagement – the core competencies required to make your ABM programme a success.