Account-Based Marketing | 3 minute read
Account-Based or Inbound Marketing - Which One Is Right for You?
Glen Quinn
Written by Glen Quinn
Account-Based or Inbound Marketing - Which One Is Right for You?

As advertising paved the way to marketing, generating leads to your business got a lot easier. All you had to do was to employ multiple lead generation strategies. Once the traffic starts flowing, you engage them to increase conversion. One major shortcoming of this method is that there is no guarantee that those leads could add value to the business. You also have to throw many hooks into the water, and that requires a lot of resources. Not to mention, the process of creating content is tedious and frustrating.

In ABM the “fishing with a spear” strategy flips the inbound marketing method and improves on its weaknesses. Does that mean you should ditch inbound marketing and focus on ABM? First of all, there is no superior technique. The two methods can complement each other when used well.

Let us first understand what account-based marketing and inbound marketing entail and their differences.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing aims at attracting new prospects by employing multiple strategies. The strategies focus on creating brand awareness and targeting the leads at all stages of the sales funnel. The methodology works, and you get tons of prospects. However, the conversion rate is low. After the work you have put into it, the results can be discouraging. So should you keep generating volumes of leads without getting customers?

When Should You Use Inbound Marketing?

Most businesses can utilise inbound marketing since the strategy is designed to be helpful to customers during their search and purchase process. The objective is to nurture trust and credibility and increase the likelihood of the leads to make a purchase.  B2B companies may need a more targeted approach by combining Inbound Marketing with ABM.

Account-Based Marketing Explained

While inbound marketing is generic and relies on mass appeal, in ABM, we focus on a few potential clients and use a laser-focused approach to attract those clients. In account-based marketing, we treat individual accounts as our target audience. Therefore, we formulate a strategy that is specific to the prospective customer. Account-based marketing begins with identifying potential companies and going after those companies proactively. ABM fosters strong relationships with the clients.

When Should You Use ABM?

Big businesses require big clients to keep their businesses running. Therefore, it would be a waste of resources to cast a wide net and hope for the best. A highly targeted approach comes in handy. About 87% of marketers agree that Account-Based Marketing generates a high return on investment.

In ABM, we do not just target an account. We focus on the principal decision-makers of the company and create marketing campaigns that are specific to them. With a handful of accounts to focus on, we can foster healthy relationships and ensure the clients are happy.

Inbound Marketing vs Account-Based Marketing

While the two marketing techniques utilise relevant and personalised content, they differ in the methodology and marketing tactics.

In traditional inbound marketing, you should follow these steps:

1. Attract leads

A business uses newspapers, blog posts, and webinars to generate quality leads. The content targets buyers at various stages in the sales funnel. At this stage, they have to generate tons of leads and build trust.

2. Engage

Interact with the new prospects through live chats, personalised emails, and messaging. With the information you collect on the website, create a customised experience. Offer assistance and build brand loyalty.

3. Delight

Relatable content works wonders. Therefore, if you find an effective way to provide relevant information to the right person, you will have a higher conversion rate. Providing an excellent experience to your customers not only establishes loyalty, but they will also recommend you to other clients.


In account-based marketing, you flip the inbound marketing strategy by starting with finding potential clients. While ABM is about tailoring your content, you need to stick to the principles to avoid overwhelming your prospects. It has four main components:

1. Identifying the target company

With a handful of companies to deal with, you can carry out in-depth research. Build customer profiles for your target companies. This involves collecting data on the size, revenue, and structure of the company. You need to know everything, including the most effective channels of communicating with them. By aligning sales and marketing you will have a bigger pool of information about your target accounts.

2. Expand

ABM targets large companies, which have several decision-makers. At this stage, you need to create unique and highly personalised content for each stakeholder. Identify their pain points and create compelling pieces. The objective is to capture their attention.

3. Engage

Establish a relationship with the key stakeholders. Your account-based marketing strategy should focus on reaching out to the stakeholders through various channels. A combination of both sales and marketing efforts are necessary to develop long-lasting relationships.

4. Advocate

Nurture a few advocates within the organisation who can vouch for you. Most buyers nowadays concentrate on what they want to hear and shut out any other information. Therefore, providing value and knowing the right time to talk about your product puts you a step ahead of the rest.

It would be reasonable to create a specialised marketing approach for 100 companies. However, if you offer services to a vast market, an inbound strategy would be cost-effective and scalable. Account-Based Marketing relies on outbound marketing techniques like emails and adverts. Therefore, if you don't do it properly, you risk spamming your prospective clients.

Account-Based Marketing & Inbound Marketing Synergy

Many companies focus on one strategy in their marketing. However, they miss out on the benefits of combining the two approaches. Since the two methods target a specific audience, using both strategies boosts your marketing efforts. You can use inbound strategies to attract new leads. Once you have the prospects, identify vital accounts, and use ABM to approach those clients.


Choosing a marketing strategy for your business is challenging. However, by blending your marketing efforts you can push your business to greater heights.

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