Account-Based Marketing Best Practices In B2B Lead Gen

By Liz MallettOctober 15, 2014

Demand marketers today are constantly challenged to generate more top-of-funnel leads, lower  conversion costs and increase closed/won deals. Many marketers find that they must launch display campaigns to reach their lead volume goals. One critical issue they face with display is effective  targeting to meet their cost-per-lead (CPL) and campaign ROI goals.  

Display campaigns using account-based marketing (ABM) is a great way to  solve this B2B targeting problem. As you marketer, you can now buy media efficiently and at volume, to reach specific target accounts. You can additionally personalize your ads to individual accounts, to achieve higher engagement, and superior ROI versus  traditional display campaigns.

At the simplest level, account-based marketing refers to display campaign in which ads are served to specific target companies or accounts. Often, these campaigns involve buying media through real-time-bidding (RTB) platforms.

We  will now explore the three main types of account-based marketing in use today, and share a couple of recommendations for ABM-based display campaigns.


3 Main Types of Account Based Marketing

account based marketing best practices


  1. IP-Based Account Based Marketing

How it works: Use IP address blocks and targeted media buying to reach the right people at the right accounts. Your company chooses a list of target accounts.  An ABM (account-based marketing) data partner matches account names to IP address blocks, and users at these IP blocks are then served display ads as they browse the web.

Watch out for: This approach can work well if your target accounts are mainly mid-market companies or smaller companies. However, for really large companies, the ABM data partner will return multiple IP-address blocks across multiple locations and geographies, so you could easily fall into the trap of serving wasted ad impressions.

  1. Email List-Based Account Based Marketing (ABM)

How it works: Use in house or 3rd-party email lists that are built specifically around key contacts at target accounts.

-In-house lists: Generate lists of contacts at target accounts from your in-house marketing automation (MAP) or CRM data, and serve ads to users from these accounts. Collect conversion and engagement data back into MAP & CRM to help identify sales-ready leads and accelerate your sales pipeline.

-3rd-Party Lists: Rent or buy lists of target accounts and key contacts at those target accounts   from a 3rd-Party contact data provider. Serve display ads to prospects on these 3rd party rented contact lists as they browse the web, and bring them into your funnel with targeted offers.

Watch out for: Expect a 30% to 35% list match rate for B2B email lists. So, you will be able to reach approximately 1/3rd of your target list. This is a much more targeted ABM tactic than using IP-address blocks, especially for reaching potential buyers and influencers at larger companies.

  1. Predictive Account Based Targeting (ABM)

How it works: Go beyond existing contacts, to identify net new accounts and contacts using past CRM conversion data. This advanced tactic targets users at key accounts using a predictive engine that generates target account profiles which “look like” accounts where you have seen past conversions (closed/won deals) in your CRM. Users at these newly-generated account and contacts lists are then served targeted ads as they browse the web.

Watch out for: This is a newer tactic, and will require more planning and deeper analysis upfront, to generate the best results. Since more data means better predictions, this tactic is more suited for large companies targeting large ABM lists with multiple offers (including net-new, up sell and cross-sell offers).






Our Recommendation


Combine one or more of the 3 ABM tactics with personalization of ads by target account, to get the highest engagement and conversions.

Boost top-of-funnel (net new) leads using IP-Based ABM, especially at mid-market and smaller accounts. Nurture existing contacts at key accounts using Email List-Based ABM. Use past CRM conversion history to generate net new account lists and more top of funnel leads via Predictive ABM. Grow sales and revenues, and get recognized as a true marketing hero at your company, with smart use of the right account-based marketing (ABM) tactics!

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