May 1, 2024

Account based marketing 101: Everything you need to know to get started

Discover folk - the CRM for people-powered businesses

If you're still using the traditional sales model, you might be wondering whether or not it is time you updated your sales and marketing strategy. Especially if you want to target more high value accounts to help your team reach their sales targets.

In account based marketing you can do exactly that. The sales process starts by priotizing your best-fit, highest value accounts. The catch is you need to work closely with marketing to get the right messaging and build campaigns around it. Even though that might sound efficient on your quest for a higher ROI, it requires key stakeholders and collaboration between your sales and marketing teams to make sure everyone aligned.

In this blog post, we unpack what account based marketing is, why it's an effective marketing strategy and the benefits it brings.

What is account based marketing?

Account based marketing (ABM) is part of a wider range of marketing tactics in which marketing and sales teams collaborate to create personalized buying experiences for a mutually identified set of high-value accounts. In B2B marketing in particular, account based marketing is starting to replace traditional marketing funnels to help accelerate efficient growth.

ABM treats each key account as a market of one, tailoring marketing initiatives to each account based on specific attributes and needs. From marketing campaign to a specific marketing approach making sure it fits a specific account.

This approach not only increases the efficiency of marketing efforts but also enhances the effectiveness of the sales process by aligning marketing resources with the most potentially lucrative opportunities.

Examples of account based marketing

In practice, elements of account based marketing can be spotted across various strategies used by B2B companies. You may have noticed how a technology provider might use ABM to target a specific enterprise through marketing campaigns such as a personalized webinars and white papers to the specific needs of that target account.

Why your inbound marketing strategy still matters

Taking an account based marketing approach doesn't mean you should neglect other key marketing strategies. Your inbound marketing strategy is still crucial as the foundation of your ABM tactic by helping you to attract the right target account. Having both these tactics as part of your marketing alignment is key to casting a wider net across your target account list.

Account based marketing trends in 2024

Wondering where to start with your account based marketing strategy? Get inspired by these ABM trends that Gartner shared.

1.  Take a hyperpersonalized approach with every interaction

Reaching for specific target accounts requires a more personal touch. Gartner suggests that in the ABM context, personalization goes beyond just using a prospect's name in an email. It's all about delivering value at every stage of the sales funnel based on insights into each individual you approach.

Take action by:

Using folk to automate your email campaigns. Our AI feature, 'Magic Field' helps you personalize your message using the data you have on your potential customers saving you time as you take a more personalized approach.

folk Magic Field feature is AI powered
folk's 'Magic Field' feature provides AI powered support

You can also folk's 'Magic Field' to:

  • Clean up data: Parse email domains of companies, Capitalize First Name, Guess first name based on email, etc.
  • Contact categorization: Classify emails as 'Personal' or 'Professional', Categorize contacts by Team (Marketing, Sales, Finance) based on job title, Categorize companies by industries
  • Message generation: Write an email / direct message (this one will have prompt variations depending on the use cases such as recruiting, fundraising, sales, partnerships, etc)
  • Translation: Translate a message to the contact's prefered language
  • Find/Enrich data: Find company revenue, company headquarters, company's main competitors

2. Bridge the gap between sales and marketing

Account based marketing is a collaborative effort. Alignment between two often competitive business functions is the key to nailing your ABM strategy because you will be able to target the same high value accounts, and be in sync in your engagement strategies.

Take action by:

Using a CRM that can create a single source of truth across your sales team and marketing team. folk happens to be an all-in-one CRM that can help with lead generation, has marketing automation tools and pipeline management that can be adjusted to mimic your sales cycle.

Some of folk's helpful features include:

  • Pipeline management: Keep an eye on new accounts and use custom fields to highlight any key accounts you want to pay closer attention to for your ABM strategy. Fully customize the dashboard to fit your ABM process and sales cycles.
  • Contact management: Sync all your contacts into one platform so that you can easily share contact information between your marketing and sales teams.
  • Marketing tools and a mini marketing automation platform for your ABM campaign: From mail merge and email sequences to analytics, B2B marketers can use folk to keep up with their customer journey and create personalized campaigns that can target their ideal customer profile. You can also make notes on each person as you get more intent data and assign someone to follow-up with a reminder.
folk can sync contacts from multiple databases including Google, Microsoft and more through Zapier
folk is well loved for its Notion-like design, making it one of the easiest CRMs on the market to use from day one

3. Optimize your full-funnel metrics

Even though it's important for your sales and marketing teams to be working together, getting input from other cross-functional leaders is just as important. The data you can get from talking to product managers, customer success teams, customer service teams and finance directors can help you identify what metrics you should pay attention to and give you a bigger picture of how well your ABM accounts are performing.

Take action by:

Making use of folk's notes sections to take collaborative notes that anyone with access can build on, so that you can create a single source of truth.  

Create a single source of truth by taking collaborative notes in folk
Taking notes on folk can be a collaborative effort so nothing is doubled up

4. Pay attention to intent data and use it to boost your ABM programs

Intent data refers to the insights gathered about a potential customer's online behaviour that indicates their intention to make a purchase or invest in a solution you're providing. An effective ABM strategy should incorporate your intent data to help you understand how to target the right accounts. It'll help you identify customers who will be a good fit.

Once you know who is in your target customer's buying committee and the key decision makers involved, you can produce relevant content as part of your ABM campaign to prioritise them as leads likely to convert. To gauge how well that is working, you can also use intent data to see who is engaging with your content, to prioritize who to reach out to.

Take action by:

Using folk's custom fields to group leads who are more likely to convert so that your team knows who to prioritize in the sales cycle. You can also use custom fields to create sub-groups once you've made contact with someone to stay organized.

folk's custom field feature is easy to set up
folk's custom field feature

You can also use the custom field feature in folk to create:

  • A sub-category: In an Investors group, for example, you can create a select-type custom field named 'type of investor' to display the investor sub-categories with Business Angels, VCs, Equity, etc.
  • Stages/Status: In a sales group, you could create a select-type custom field to show the different stages of the sales process they're in.
  • Tags: In an Experts group, for example, you can create a multi-select custom field to display the areas of expertise with SaaS, Enterprise Software, Retail, Finance, etc.
  • Date, text, number, member, contact (relationship): You can also use custom fields to add a text description, date for an upcoming event, numerical formats, tag a teammate and indicate relationships between a contact.

Benefits of account based marketing

If you want to foster a healthy collaborative relationship between your sales and marketing teams, adopting an ABM strategy can help you do that. They would have to work closely together to tailor an effective messaging strategy according to the needs of your high-value accounts so you they make sure it addresses the right pain points and drive more engagement. There are other different types of benefits to be reaped if you're interested in why following some best practices of an ABM strategy can help you increase your lead gen efforts. Below are some other key benefits you should consider if you want to build a business case to start.

1. Higher ROI

Even though an ABM approach might require more time, when you target specific high-value accounts – you can get greater returns on your investment. What's more, it'll be easier to measure the ROI from each account.

2. Efficient use of resources

ABM strategies allows companies to allocate their marketing resources more efficiently. By targeting fewer, more qualified accounts, businesses can optimize their marketing spend and avoid wasting resources on less likely prospects.

3. Streamline the sales cycle

By focusing sales and marketing efforts on key decision-makers within specific fit accounts, ABM can significantly shorten the sales cycle. Sales teams are equipped with detailed insights about the needs and preferences of their prospects, allowing them to address these needs more directly and expediently.

4. Better customer retention

ABM strategies focus not just on acquiring new customers but also on expanding relationships with existing ones. By continually engaging major accounts with personalized content and solutions, companies can enhance customer satisfaction, which often leads to increased customer loyalty and opportunities for upselling and cross-selling.

5. Increased customer engagement

Since ABM involves creating customized marketing campaigns that cater to the specific needs and interests of an account, it naturally leads to higher engagement. Personalized content resonates better with the target audience, thereby improving the effectiveness of the engagement efforts.


Following an ABM program will help you move away from a traditional sales funnel so that you can align your marketing strategy to fit the behaviours of a modern B2B buyer. Even though an effective ABM strategy requires more effort, it can transform your conversion rates. And – there's proof. Gartner's research showed that an ABM program helped increase conversions across several key sales metrics including a 28% increase in overall account engagement, and a 25% rise in the MQL to SAL conversion. There's a reason why It's popular amongst specific companies such as SaaS companies.

With all the tips and tricks up your sleeve to build a successful ABM program, you're in a good starting point to to think about how you can bring together key decision makers to drive your own strategic ABM efforts. And, if you need a CRM that can support multiple business functions – Try folk today, free.

More resources

Looking for more from our sales series? Check out these blogs.