In this guide, I share with you a step-by-step process that we use to develop a successful account-based demand generation model and ABM strategy.

This is the same process we use in all of our consulting projects, including:

  • Pilot ABM campaign that generated $300k in revenue for an IT vendor
  • Sales opportunities with 7 of 13 Tier 1 enterprise accounts for Google solutions vendor
  • 70% reply rate for physical product digitalization platform selling to major European manufacturers

One caveat: you won’t find a theory here about what ABM is and how it is different from traditional marketing. There are dozens of guides written by ABM vendors, including Terminus and Hubspot.

I assume that you already know what ABM is and want to share the exact process you can use to develop an efficient account-based marketing strategy.

Let’s dive in.

ABM-fit and readiness checklist

Too many B2B companies get excited about account-based marketing and jump right into execution without evaluating if ABM is the right motion for them. 

Before diving into ABM strategy development, I highly recommend going through the ABM-fit checklist and evaluating your readiness to launch ABM.

ABM strategy

Let’s first evaluate if ABM is a right fit for your company by looking at 5 parameters.

1. Long sales cycle (>180 days)

If your sales cycle is short and transactional, I recommend focusing on demand capturing activities (ads, SEO, cold outreach) instead of ABM.

2. ACV (average contract value) > $30k.

Will it pay off to proactively market and prospect a specific set of accounts? I suggest considering ABM if the LTV or ACV of your best customers is higher than $30k.

3. Hybrid sales: product + consulting + best practices training.

ABM is extremely important when you don’t only sell products, but also sell your expertise in solving challenges your buyers have.

It includes product training, consulting alongside implementation, and training on best practices.

4. TAM (target addressable market) <1000 companies.

If your market is limited to 500–1000 companies across the globe, you have no other choices than ABM.

5. Multiple buyers are involved in vendor evaluation and buying processes.

If you usually deal with multiple people (3+) who influence the buying decision, ABM is a perfect strategy.

I weigh and prioritize the first three points. Here is why.

Your market can be more than 1k companies, or you might sell to an SMB where you don’t have lots of decision-makers, but ACV is high.

E.g. Software development service or enrichment software like Zoominfo.

If ABM is a right fit, next check your readiness to launch it.

5 questions to check your readiness to launch Account-Based Marketing

Here are 5 questions that will help to see if your company is ready to launch ABM.

1. Do we have clear ICP (Ideal customer profile) and account qualification criteria to build a list of companies that are likely to buy our product?

Start with selecting a target vertical and then develop ICP including 5 pillars:

  • Firmographics
  • Buying committee structure (roles, stages they join, reasons to buy and not to buy, KPIs)
  • Account qualification and disqualification criteria
  • Account segmentation
  • Account enrichment (buying and demand triggers, research, evaluation, and decision-making processes, channels, etc.)

Many B2B companies make two critical mistakes when developing ICP for ABM programs.

a) Develop ICP based on a wish list of big logos.