Account Based Marketing: Debunking the Myth That It Can’t Work for Small B2B Companies

Published on: | Updated on: | Trisha Miles


It’s a common misconception that Account Based Marketing strategies can’t work for small B2B companies. Organizations think they don’t have the time or the resources to dedicate to crafting personalized and individualized content and campaigns for each account in their pipeline. 

In this episode of our Marketing Expert Chat series, we brought in an ABM expert to bust the myth that ABM can’t work as part of demand generation and marketing automation strategies for small B2B companies or companies with limited dedicated team members.  

Account Based Marketing for B2B

Shannon King, Demand Generation Lead at Tidelift, has a track record of success that exemplifies how powerful ABM strategies that drive results can be lucratively implemented even if you have a small team behind the efforts. 

In this interview, Shannon reveals: 

  • The buy-in you need from other departments in your company for an ABM strategy to work 
  • Important steps to take in the ABM process 
  • Metrics to look at in cohort analysis 

Watch the episode and get started on your next profitable ABM strategy for your business today.  



Video Transcript:


CAROLINE: Hi. Today, I’m here with Shannon King. Shannon is a demand gen and ABM expert. Shannon, thank you so much for being with me today.

SHANNON: Thanks for having me. Happy to be here.

CAROLINE: Today, we’re gonna talk about ABM. ABM is very popular in B2B, but there’s kind of that conception or misconception that it’s really not for small teams or for a small B2B company, but Shannon is the proof that it’s not true. Shannon, what is your secret to launch a successful ABM campaign?

SHANNON: Yeah, I think it really starts from the top down. It needs to be a full organizational strategy, not just a marketing program or a sales program. This is something at my current company, we’re a demand gen team of one with two other marketers on the team, we are able to do in every way possible because we have the product team bought in, we have sales working from an account-based structure, even engineers are understanding what we’re doing and how it ties back to the work that they do so that we can make sure we are always putting in account quality lens on everything we do.

We’re writing content for the right types of accounts, we’re building out product features for the right types of accounts, and then, of course, on the marketing and sales side, we are using this information to target the right accounts in the right way with the right message at the right time and connecting all of those dots from that high-level company level down to an individual.

And I think that’s kinda the biggest challenge in ABM and getting sales bought in, especially, is great. I know this account is the right account, but how do I find the right person? And so, when you can start connecting those dots for them using your martech stack, that’s when everybody starts to buy in and your marketing team of one kind of scales out to be as big as your organization. And I think some tips to help that happen is to not speak in the marketing language with, here’s my CTR and here’s my conversion rate or CPA. It’s to look at it from a funnel perspective and bring it down to dollars because that’s what everyone understands and really report in a way that you as a marketer could explain to anybody within the organization and they can see the value in what you’re doing with ABM and understand that it’s moving the dial.

CAROLINE: Right, and I think when we talked last time, you mentioned something that really resonated with me and I thought was really powerful. You mentioned that you were doing kind of cohort analysis and showing how your ABM was impacting sales cycle and opportunity rates and all of this. Could you tell us a little bit more about that?

SHANNON: Yeah, so I think that this is the most important part to getting full adoption is everybody in the company is focused on a list of accounts, if you really have a true ABM focus. And for you to say that, oh, my marketing efforts, that’s why this account closed, it’s gonna rub some people the wrong way. Because they’re working those accounts, they’re calling into them, they have been prospecting them for a while and going through the usual go-to-market motions there. When you’re able to do a cohort analysis and say, okay, well, let’s just say a hundred accounts this rep has, I’ve been targeting 50 with my ABM programs on the marketing side, he’s been working his full 100, and then compare each group of 50 and see what’s happening, at the end of the day, what I want to see is that the 50 I’ve been working have more opportunities for a higher dollar value and are closing faster.

And when you look at those three metrics and compare your ad group or your program group of accounts to a very similar list of accounts that are also being touched by sales and worked, then you can start to see the success of your programs. And we at the company I work for are looking for a very high-level metric as a health metric, which is lift, and we’re trying to see that the accounts that we’re focused on are more engaged on our site than they were before we launched these programs. And we’re not looking for 5%, more or 10% more, we’re looking for about 40 to 50% more active as a starting point.

And one thing that gets harder and harder and harder as your ABM model matures is that you start to measure this lift on top of lift on top of lift and you kind of have to lower that benchmark each time. But once you do that cohort analysis and you get everybody to understand that we’re all in this together, we’re all targeting these accounts, but it is moving the dial, it is making a difference, then they start to look at that lift metrics and get a little more excited about what you’re doing.

CAROLINE: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for sharing this. Again, super powerful advice. I think every marketer should use this. Thank you for sharing this.

SHANNON: Of course.

CAROLINE: Yeah, thanks a lot.

SHANNON: No problem.