How to Strengthen Your ABM Strategy with Rick Tolman

92% of marketers have an ABM strategy. However, only 19% of B2B marketers are confident in their ability to execute it properly. What makes ABM so popular? How does it work? And why has it been so hard for so many companies to implement it successfully?

In the recent Account-Based Engagement Summit presented by ChatFunnels, Rick Tolman – Vice President at Salesforce – shared insights around how their team has developed and strengthened their ABM strategy.

Why ABM?

Marketers today are moving from broad-based marketing to account-based marketing. In the past, marketers used a broad-based campaign with a wide audience. With broad-based marketing, you cast a wide net to catch a lot of potential clients. This strategy has worked for many marketing companies, but it has its limitations. In his research, Tolman observed that 44% of customers surveyed said that one of their top challenges was generating inbound demand that covered pipeline revenue. With broad-based marketing, most of the accounts that they were targeting didn’t close because they were very early in the buying stage.

Account-based marketing solves that challenge by narrowing the scope of the accounts marketers target by focusing on the key accounts that are most likely to close. Marketing, sales, and service can align their efforts on the right accounts from the start.

Its important to go from lots of accounts to more strategic and targeted accounts. ABM should be used to create multiple, highly personalized campaigns for the most important companies. Doing so will make it significantly more likely to convert in each stage of the sale cycle and more likely to close.  

Done Well, ABM Increases Pipeline Quality and Revenue

There are very impressive results to be seen when ABM is executed well. On average, 77% of ABM users achieve 10% or greater ROI, while 45% see at least 2x ROI compared with other marketing methods. Account-based marketing speeds up the sale cycle and only requires a quarter of the leads to begin with. ABM conversion rates are almost 5x as good as broad-based conversion rates. You start out with less leads, but end up with more customers.

Tolman emphasized, “Less can be more when its higher quality.” That’s why BTB marketers are so interested in ABM.

It’s Not All About Marketing

Even though the term account-based marketing is used, it’s a misnomer to an extent. ABM is not solely the responsibility of the marketing team. Marketing, sales, and service each play a vital role in the process.

The marketing team has the responsibility of identifying key accounts and developing account specific content and campaigns. They also measure, modify, and optimize account lead scoring while managing cross-channel engagement.

Sales teams focus their time on lead-management, accounts, contacts, opportunities, forecasting, and custom workflows.

The service team then takes the role of after-sales support, issue response, and customer satisfaction.

Customer experience is very important and the responsibility of all. Each team must work together in achieving data sync, collaboration, support, training, and integration.

ABM Strategies Require Organizational Alignment

While marketing, sales, and service teams each have their specific roles, they also share the responsibility for driving results. Listed are some of the shared responsibilities for cross functional integration:

  • Aligning on ABE goals and approaches
  • Building integrated infrastructure, data, and analytics
  • Seamless, integrated, personalized customer experiences
  • End-to-end performance measurement for ABE accounts

How can we ensure B2B marketers successfully execute and scale ABM? At Sharepoint, they focus on three main objectives.

  1. Understand your buyers
  2. Align marketing and sales
  3. Grow account relationships


ABM is a business strategy that is fundamentally a new way of going to market. Managing it requires a thoughtful plan and perseverance. When implemented successfully, companies can drive tremendous value for their businesses, including:

  • Increased target account engagement by ~10-15%
  • Improved acquisition
  • Accelerated marketing-influenced pipeline growth by ~50%
  • Increased revenue growth by ~50% in targeted accounts
  • Higher close rate by 2x and speed by ~35%
  • Greater average deal size by 2x
  • Improved cross-sell by ~5%
  • Improved customer retention

With the right technology and process in place, any B2B company can implement a successful ABM strategy. The Salesforce team is willing and eager to help deliver targeted AMB experiences to customers. Now is the time to start thinking about how to strengthen your ABM strategy.


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