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Account-based marketing (ABM) addresses the biggest problem faced by B2B marketers in the last decade: Traditional strategies focus on high-velocity, low-value deals, and not enough on the major accounts.

ABM is built on six processes that flip the focus from generating leads to courting the companies you want to do business with.

ABM isn't a quick fix: It takes patience and a long-term commitment. But you can drive real results by effectively using the six processes:

  1. Selecting accounts
  2. Discovering contacts
  3. Developing insights
  4. Generating account-relevant content
  5. Delivering account-specific interactions
  6. Orchestrating account-focused plays

1. Select accounts: Get Sales and Marketing Together from the start

Selecting your target accounts is the most important step in any ABM program. An effective plan will focus on a limited number of accounts; if you choose unwisely, you'll be wasting time and resources on accounts that don't amount to anything.

How to do it

Start by creating a profile of your ideal client, based on past business experiences, business compatibility, a growing market, and committed account managers. You can use a combination of analytics—such as firmographics, technographics, and intent data—and old-fashioned gut instinct to make your selections.

Depending on the number of accounts you want to target, prioritize them into tiers that range from one-to-one campaigns to industry-specific campaigns. This process is as much an art as it is a science.

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image of Jon Miller

Jon Miller is a marketing entrepreneur and ABM thought leader. Prior to his role as CEO and co-founder of ABM automation company Engagio, he was a co-founder at Marketo. Jon is a frequent speaker and writer about marketing best practices.