All You Need to Know about Account Based Selling (ABS) and Account Based Marketing (ABM)

All You Need to Know about Account Based Selling (ABS) and Account Based Marketing (ABM)

Do you want to know more about ABS: Account Based Selling and ABM: Account Based Marketing? If yes, this blog is written just for you!

All You Need to Know about Account Based Selling (ABS) and Account Based Marketing (ABM)
All You Need to Know about Account Based Selling (ABS) and Account Based Marketing (ABM)

Growth in revenue and overall business profitability is the end goal of every business organization. All the efforts and techniques employed by the business organization are directed towards that end goal. Account Based Marketing: ABM and Account Based Selling: ABS, are both required to achieve growth and profitability targets. But they are not substitutes for each other. Rather, they complement each other and work together to reach organizational goals.

Though marketers are aware of targeted campaigns and most of the people involved in sales have an idea about account based selling, there remain some doubts and confusion regarding the functioning of ABM and ABS across the entire organization. Let us understand the two concepts and their relation with each other and the organization.

Defining Account Based Marketing and Account Based Selling

Understanding the relationship between Account Based Marketing (ABM) and Account Based Selling (ABS) is important. But, before we proceed, it is important to understand both concepts individually.

Defining ABM: Account Based Marketing

Account Based Marketing is a marketing strategy focused on concentrating marketing resources on a set of the target account. This is done to encourage upselling and cross-selling through existing customer accounts. The strategy is based on the theory of utilizing limited resources on accounts that are most likely to give profit rather than spreading all over the market without any set target.

This strategy is rapidly gaining popularity among B2B businesses targeting larger accounts for better profitability ratios 

Key Steps Involved in ABM

Account Based Marketing requires marketers to follow a certain pre-defined path to gain a high success rate. The steps include –

  • Identifying the best accounts to target – The first step requires identifying and selecting the best accounts as the marketing strategy needs to be laser-focused on a few accounts rather than being spread over the market. The best target accounts for any B2B company will be those capable of generating the highest revenue and having the tendency to take the quickest decision.
  • Targeting accounts through multiple channels – Once target accounts are identified, they need to be engaged through multiple channels. One needs to reach out through emails, events, web personalization, and any other channel where the potential customer can be engaged.
  • Measuring the success rate – Any marketing or sales initiative need to be measured for its success rate. No business can afford to keep putting effort and resources into a technique that does not generate results. ABM success rate is measured by the speed at which target accounts are identified, how long they take to move through the sales cycle, the conversion rate of the targeted account, and the size of the deal

Defining ABS: Account Based Selling

Account Based Selling is a laser-focused strategy that treats each account as a market. This strategy works with a company or account-level focus rather than focusing on single contacts or leads within the company. To implement this strategy, businesses identify a set of target accounts, and then the marketing and sales teams together offer targeted content to major stakeholders within the targeted companies (accounts). Traditionally, one salesperson used to focus on targeting a single contact within a company. Still, in Account Based Sales, an entire team works together to target multiple stakeholders within a company, thus multiplying the chances of conversion.

This multi-touch, multi-channel strategy is a coordinated effort by the entire company to pursue a targeted number of high-value accounts

Key Steps Involved in ABS

Like any other marketing and sales technique, ABS needs to have a blueprint of the steps required to achieve the target. The following steps can be the guiding path for the purpose.

  • Identifying an ideal customer profile – Even before ABM targets any account to turn it into leads, you need to build your ideal customer profile (ICP). The main motto of creating ICP is to know the pain points of your prospective clients and have an idea of how your products and services can fulfill their needs.
  • Identifying the decision makers in the lead’s company – As already discussed, ABS individually targets every decision maker in the prospective account. So, it is imperative to identify all the stakeholders and decision-makers who can impact the decision of being your customer or not.
  • Creating individualized plans – Once the key decision makers have been identified, the company needs to create individualized plans to target each of those key stakeholders. You need to address the pain points of decision-makers individually and give them personalized attention through multiple channels.
  • Developing an overall organized plan – Though each stakeholder needs to be targeted individually, you need to have an eye on the end goal. This requires having an organized plan that tells you what comes first and what comes after. You must not miss the sequence of targeting different stakeholders and decision-makers. This is important to make the account’s sales journey seamless.

Differences between Account Based Marketing (ABM) and Account Based Selling (ABS)

Account Based Marketing (ABM) and Account Based Selling (ABS) are both important for a B2B business, but every marketer needs to understand the difference between the two.

The Target

ABM and ABS differ from each other based on their set target. Though the growth of revenue and profitability is the end goal for both, ABM does not directly focus on revenue generation. Account Based Marketing works towards revenue growth, but focuses on lead generation. On the other hand, ABS focuses intently on revenue generation.

The Operation

As the target of ABM is to solidify leads, the main operation of the team is to work on data and manipulate the collected information to push the leads in the conversion funnel. All the activities of ABM are planned around moving the leads to the current client position. On the other hand, ABS has operations relating to converting the leads generated through ABM and satisfying existing clients thus reinforcing revenue generation.

The Communication with Clients

ABM and ABS both need to set up proper communication with clients, but their communication varies significantly. While the communication of the ABM technique is focused on making prospective clients aware of their presence and how their service can help those clients. With already existing clients, the communication revolves around the target of cross-selling and upselling. On the other hand, the communication of ABS is more about maintaining communication with existing clients and making sure the client does not move out of the conversion funnel. The communication revolves around checking clients’ present and future needs and ensuring they are fulfilled.

The Relationship between Account Based Marketing (ABM) and Account Based Selling (ABS)

As discussed above, Account Based Selling and Account Based Marketing are complementary rather than competing strategies. Account Based Marketing is focused on generating leads for sales, and Account Based Sales is focused on converting those leads into revenue for the company.

From the execution point of view, ABM is led by the marketing team of the company, whereas ABS is executed with the collaborative efforts of the marketing and sales team.

The ABM tactics are efforts to generate awareness and target a company. These efforts may sometimes be anonymous. ABM includes ads display, promotional emails, social media posts, landing pages, etc. This marketing strategy is essential and effective in cases where a business is trying to engage an account for the first time. ABM helps a business gauge the interest of select accounts. But, research reports show that it is effective enough to penetrate only 15-20% of the target account. This is where the ABS comes into the picture

ABS gets the leads generated by ABM efforts and then works on converting the leads to revenue. As ABM pinpoints the interested leads, it becomes comparatively easy to catalyze the interest and grab actual sales opportunities. ABS includes the human touch in the marketing endeavor to get the prospective customers inclined towards making the actual purchase. For converting the leads to revenue, ABS employs many tricks and techniques. The multi-channel, multi-touch techniques of ABS may include techniques like –

  • Providing a personalized and private experience for the sales team and various stakeholders in the target company
  • Providing relevant content at the right time to each person
  • Building consensus among various stakeholders by bringing them on the same page
  • Reading the digital body language of the target account, i.e., doing customer analytics through data gathered from all stakeholders.

Implementation of Account Based Marketing and Account Based Selling together

Account Based Marketing and Account Based Selling can increase the success rate of any B2B business manifold. When they gel together, they create wonders by creating interest, building relationships, engaging, and creating consensus among different stakeholders.

The dual system of ABM and ABS creates a more productive marketing and sales team aligned toward a common goal. This collaboration between the two departments creates better customer engagement and ultimately leads to revenue growth. But, creating a strategy implementing both these techniques together can feel overwhelming if you or your team does not understand the tactics of balancing both approaches. Allow us to provide you with a brief overview of implementing ABM and ABS together to ensure a high conversion and revenue rate.

Step 1: Create an Ideal Customer Profile and Identify your most likely Buyer

In the first stage, both the marketing and sales team must sit and brainstorm together. As these techniques require focusing your efforts and resources on just a few accounts, it is really important to pick those accounts carefully. For this, you will need to combine your efforts to create an ideal customer profile and then choose the ideal prespective to focus on.

Step 2: Initiating and Automating Engagement Process

Once you have a well-designed ideal customer profile and list of potential buyers ready with you, it is time to move to the second step. This is where the ABM team will initiate multi-level communication with the prospective account. But, communication should not be a ‘once in a while’ type of communication. It needs to be continuous and targeted. Further, the communication will not end when a lead becomes a customer; only the way and content of the communication will change. So, it is important not just to initiate but automate the communication and engagement process. Your blueprint needs to have plans for each stage of communication and engagement.

Step 3: Measure the Success of Your ABM and ABS Efforts

When ABM and ABS work together, the focus is on quality rather than quantity. It is not about how many accounts you target but how many potential accounts you identify and how many of them actually get converted. So, the key metrics for the result of these strategies differ from the traditional key metrics of sales and marketing. Here you need to measure important metrics like your reach and engagement. To identify and define your own key metrics indicators, you need to understand the concepts of ABM and ABS well.


Account Based Marketing and Account Based Selling are both techniques that keep quality over quantity while targeting efforts and resources on marketing and sales of their B2B products and services. ABM targets account with a high probability of converting into leads without wasting resources on spreading marketing efforts over the entire market without any specific target. Similarly, the sales effort in the ABS system is put on leads identified as high-value and high conversion probability. Any B2B company can skyrocket its revenue generation and growth by applying the twin method of Account Based Marketing and Account Based Sales.

You might also like:

  • 10 Effective Account-Based Marketing Tactics That Every Marketer Should Be Aware Of –  Executing the right account-based marketing tactic is crucial for the success of any B2B SaaS business. From developing and executing targeted marketing for key accounts to optimizing and measuring the success of your account-based marketing tactics, we have shared the top account-based marketing tactics that every B2B marketing should be aware of.
  • To see how SmartKarrot helps B2B companies streamline and scale customer success, Request a Demo.

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