ABM Requires Multiple Buyer's Journeys Based on Individual Targets

Account-based strategies have become a defining characteristic of the modern marketing world. The shift to targeted accounts and hyper-personalized content is enabling B2B marketers to effectively funnel budget dollars to where they’ll have the greatest impact, which—in an economic period dominated by so much uncertainty—delivers welcome focus and efficiency.

But there’s more to ABM than Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs), Target Account Lists (TALs) and message customization. Because the right message to the right target at the wrong phase of their buying journey can render your ABM efforts useless. 

After all, in the era of e-commerce where customers have unprecedented access to product information—and unprecedented demand for marketing that addresses their individual needs at the right time in the right place—the prescriptive, spray-and-pay logic that worked for traditional lead gen just won’t cut it.


Because the buyer’s journey is as unique as the buyer.

That means B2B marketers need to customize them just as they would customize content or media buy. And that means working in lockstep with sales to develop persona-based buyer journeys that provide structure and timing for your entire ABM effort.

Creating a persona-based buyer’s journey

We’ve all heard the saying: a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. For the ABM-minded B2B marketer mapping a buyer journey, that step is creating an ICP

Powered by data and research, the ICP turns hypothetical buyer persona profiles into educated, well-informed descriptions of the prospects most likely to buy your products and services.

From there, a TAL aligned with your ICP can be created, giving your sales and marketing teams a singular view of which accounts—and which roles within those accounts—can be targeted with maximum marketing impact.

Using your ABM platform, you can de-anonymize decision-makers and influencers—and market to them with hyper-personalized content that tackles their unique pain points head-on.

This kind of segmentation is critical to the success of your ABM campaign, and must be undertaken with an eye on the right metrics. 

In addition to demographic data that can be used to segment consumers and firmographic data that can be used to segment high-value accounts, third-party intent data can help you better understand buyer journeys.

Intent signals discerned in a buyer’s research behaviors will indicate whether or not that buyer’s in an active buy-cycle—and where in the cycle he or she currently is. This enables you to thoughtfully approach each as a distinct individual.

And with all the right data at your disposal, you should be able to effectively map unique buyer journeys and align marketing initiatives to them. But as with all things ABM, constant analysis and adaptation is the name of the game.

Servicing a persona-based buyer’s journey

Once a buyer’s journey is mapped out, you’ll have the insights you need to communicate effectively across each phase of that journey. 

Just as importantly, you’ll be able to align the various buyers within a particular organization. 

Though different stakeholders have different needs and pain points, you’ll know who they are (thanks to your ABM platform), how to customize content for them and where they are in their individual buying journeys—making it possible to corral the team toward a unified purchase decision at the same time.

The key is aligning content with each stakeholder—and delivering it when and where it’ll have the maximum impact.

How to get started:

Do the homework
Annual reports, earnings calls, social media posts and blog articles can offer up keen insights into the needs and concerns of your buyer. Understanding these issues will help you personalize content and time the delivery of that content appropriately.

Repurpose whenever possible
Leveraging existing content is an effective way to keep costs down. As you take stock, keep an eye out for pieces that are relevant to your buyers and easily modified to speak to those buyers more directly. It’s also the time to identify and fill any content gaps.

Make friends with sales
ABM doesn’t work if sales and marketing teams aren't aligned. Understanding what content assets your sales team needs is critical to helping them build and maintain relationships that ultimately help you fill and accelerate the pipeline.

Analyze. Analyze. Analyze.
ABM is data-driven—and analytics must constantly be used to track engagement and measure effectiveness. Identifying specific goals and developing metrics mapped to achieving those goals will help you improve the value of your content over time.

Marketing the right content to your buyer at the wrong time or in the wrong place will stall your ABM campaign. Getting it right means taking full advantage of the channels and platforms at your disposal. 

Paid media is a critical part of the puzzle—and using it correctly can be a boon to your ABM strategy.

Some helpful tips:

Identify in-market accounts
Paid media data can help you determine which accounts are engaging with your content and who within those accounts is engaged. This can help you refine your account list and more effectively personalize your content.

Know your buyers
Data derived from search behavior and engagement can help you better identify and understand account buying teams—and who on a given team is engaged with your content. It also lets you know who’s engaged with your competitors, giving you a better sense of who’s on the team and what they care about.

Engage. Then keep engaging.
Ongoing engagement is critical to staying top of mind. Paid media data can help you stay aligned with buyers throughout every phase of their individual journeys—and ensure consistent messaging throughout their entire experience.

Improving a persona-based buyer’s journey

The end-goal of a well-executed ABM campaign isn’t just to convert a prospect into a customer—it’s to help you build and maintain long-term relationships with premium accounts. Evolving content and marketing tactics over time is key to keeping buyers engaged and improving their experience.

For this reason, aligning your campaign with each buyer’s individual journey is essential. And in the end—it’ll help you get the ABM results you’re looking for:

ABM helps you focus on KPIs that align with business goals and help drive down acquisition costs.

Shorter sales cycles
ABM helps you generate more qualified leads by targeting the accounts most likely to convert with the content most likely to engage them at every stage of their buying journey—so you can shorten sales timelines.

Reduced churn
Staying in touch with what customers need and why they need it enables you to nurture those relationships and improve loyalty.

Greater upsell
Determining which targets are most likely to purchase gives you greater chances of upselling them on higher-tier offerings.

But to make it all work, you’ll need to think of buyer journeys as unique entities that vary from consumer-to-consumer and account-to-account.

Once you do, you’ll be able to realize the full marketing potential of your ABM strategy.