Account Based Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing: “Either, Or” or a Tandem Approach?

By William Mills Agency November 29, 2018 Marketing

ABM-InboundAccount Based Marketing (ABM) isn’t a new concept, but it has been gaining more attention recently. In essence, ABM revises the traditional inbound marketing strategy by creating custom content and communications for targeted accounts as opposed to creating a wide variety of content for a broader audience. ABM advocates for starting with a list of target accounts and tailoring your content to those specific companies.

When executed properly, this approach can yield significant results, especially for B2B companies. In fact, a study from CEB found that individual stakeholders who perceived supplier content to be tailored to their specific needs were 40% more willing to buy from that supplier than stakeholders who didn’t. ABM also has the added benefit of realigning sales and marketing teams, which a study by SiriusDecisions found helped B2B organizations grow their revenues 24% faster in a three-year period compared to those whose teams work separately.

So, does this mean that it’s time to abandon any memory of inbound? That all your efforts and resources spent creating content and promoting it were for naught? Fortunately, no.

You don’t need to create customized content for each target account in order to make them feel “heard.” At their cores, ABM and Inbound are both about positioning your content as helpful and not disruptive. ABM simply requires a bit more sleuthing and gathering of information on specific accounts so you’re able to customize the content they receive. If you’ve been creating content for a few years, you likely have some that can be repurposed for specific accounts.

It’s also important to keep up appearances. Under ABM, you may not send every white paper you publish to every account. However, activities such as blogging and social media are still signals of credibility. Consistent content marketing efforts open the door for other opportunities in public relations and relationship building.

In fact, even if you are content with your existing Inbound strategy, you can still benefit from adding some ABM influence using your existing marketing automation tool. HubSpot is practically synonymous with Inbound, but the platform has a number of functions that work well with ABM practices, too. Terminus, for example, provides some handy HubSpot workflows that any company can implement to accelerate “hot” leads, engage with accounts before an upcoming conference, and pre-target certain people. HubSpot integrates with SalesForce and also has native CRM capabilities, making it easier to align marketing and sales teams. Incorporating ABM into your marketing program can be as simple as a series of small adjustments to your existing protocol.

ABM provides the opportunity for a refocus that many companies could benefit from. It starts with involving your sales team, reevaluating prospects, and taking a deep-dive into your organization’s overall goals. However, the distinction between Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing is important to the discussion. Whether you choose to forgo Inbound and adopt ABM or not, creating valuable content is still the basis of either approach.


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