What Is Account-Based Marketing? (And How To Use It)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 21 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Marketing tactics make a company's products more appealing to potential buyers. Depending on what and to whom they are selling, businesses might employ various marketing strategies. If you are working in the domain of marketing or sales, you can succeed in facilitating business-to-business transactions by understanding the notion of account-based marketing and knowing how to use it. In this article, we define account-based marketing, describe various strategies it includes and provide examples.

What Is Account-Based Marketing?

Account-based marketing or key account marketing is a marketing approach that customises resources to appeal to a specific group of target accounts. It enables a company to concentrate on bigger accounts besides its conventional sales and marketing techniques for customers. It also helps facilitate the promotion of business-to-business or B2B sales.

Its primary objective is to generate sales leads that lead to revenue development. It is vital that a company customises its sales and marketing strategies for each account if it is to be effective. This helps establish a good rapport with each individual account and can supply account-specific content by concentrating on distinctive sales and marketing strategies pertaining to each account. For example, companies adopting this strategy can identify their target accounts and then customise sales programmes and products to suit those accounts' requirements, as opposed to attempting to appeal to a large client base.

Related: What Is Strategic Marketing? (With Benefits And Tips)

Benefits Of Using Key Account Marketing Strategies

These are some benefits of using key account marketing strategies:

Promotes diversity

Key account marketing techniques are widely applicable in a range of methods in most businesses and industries. It encourages diversity among firms in the context of business proceedings. Even though enterprises may utilise the same marketing tools across all accounts, each account typically maintains a separate sales procedure and message. Companies that sell to a select group of large accounts and only to a specific size in a particular industry can also use key‌ account marketing strategies in B2B sales.

Example: Key‌ account strategies can be beneficial for both a major technology company with many significant accounts and a small t-shirt company with one or two large accounts. Even though the firms differ in size and industry, the same key‌ account techniques can apply in both instances.

Related: What Are The Elements Of The Marketing Mix? (With 7Ps)

Enhances marketing performance

Using a key account strategy improves marketing performance since marketing teams establish themselves as valuable components of a business model and collaborate on advancing all accounts. Several teams work together to identify a target market. Key account marketing improves marketing performance by enhancing a marketing team's comprehension of the target market and identifying the most effective ways to reach it. A better understanding of the target audience helps professionals make marketing strategies more direct and aimed towards customers in a logical and practical way.

Example: The sales and marketing teams of a corporation have teamed together to plan strategies for a selected number of crucial accounts. The sales team divulges the list of potential clients it has targeted and the strategies it has used to do so. The marketing team can collaborate on the most effective strategies for connecting with these prospects through social media and using promotional offers, among other channels. When the teams collaborate, they can come up with innovative marketing ideas that can help turn potential clients into regular customers.

Related: What Is The Difference Between Sales And Marketing?

Establishes better customer experiences

Since key account marketing is a personalised marketing strategy, it promotes better customer experience. Customers tend to like material and business transactions that are unique and personalised. Businesses can provide customised content and deliver unique sales pitches when they have a key‌ account plan in place. Customers value the time and effort put into creating individualised content and they may be likely to show their appreciation by investing in products and services.

Example: A furniture business is seeking to gain an apartment complex's account. The business wishes to sell kitchen, dining, living room and bedroom furniture to the apartment complex. To get this account, the furniture business has decided to use a key‌ account strategy. The furniture business customises its sales and marketing strategies for this specific apartment complex. The furniture business uses social media, blogging, targeted messaging and promotional offers to attract the attention and gain the trust of the client. The company's efforts impress the apartment complex's stakeholders and they reward the furniture company by purchasing in bulk from them.

Related: How To Manage Customer Relationships: A Complete Guide

How To Use A Key Account Strategy

To apply a key‌ account strategy to conduct business, follow these steps:

1. Identify the highest-value accounts

Before creating a key‌ account strategy, identify which accounts you can target with your key account approach. As a marketer, you may decide to concentrate a lot of resources on accounts that are most important to a company. Analyse each account to identify the ones that have the most loyal consumers and profitable transactions.

These are the accounts to concentrate on since they add value to the organisation and fit well with its culture. You can examine current clients who want to expand their business relationships with the firm and also newly acquired clients, who want to establish a steady business relationship with the firm. To acquire and hold on to these accounts over an extended period of time, it is critical to modify the key‌ account strategy periodically.

Related: A Comprehensive Guide To Account Management Skills

2. Connect key individuals to accounts

In B2B sales, identify the individual who makes the financial decisions for each account and then devise strategies that may appeal to that person. By connecting key decision-makers to accounts, you can link an account with a person and then personalise a strategy for that individual. If you are unable to persuade the decision-maker, you may risk losing their business. A marketer's objective is typically to identify, interact with and persuade individuals who make financial decisions, to act and invest in products and services.

For example, a software company which uses a key‌ account strategy may identify the decision-making roles within its key computer accounts. Employees like the chief financial officer and the executive managers may be decision-makers. The company can establish contact with these decision-makers, build connections with them and show them how their software solutions can support their interests. In this way, the software company may request the decision-makers to agree to a purchase contract.

Related: How To Develop Effective People Management Skills

3. Develop customised campaigns

After you have identified high-value accounts and connected the decision-making individuals to those accounts, create personalised marketing campaigns for those accounts. In key‌ accounts, establishing and building relationships with customers is vital to success. Customers tend to buy from companies that are relatable and reliable, with the capacity to provide valuable products.

Personalised marketing campaigns typically include consultation regarding products and their functionality and personalised messages for each decision-maker. Campaigns may also include interactive and engaging content that drives customers to make purchase decisions. Personalising marketing messages and content shows that you value each account and have spent time and energy customising sales and marketing approaches to meet specific needs.

Related: What Are Channels In Marketing? (Definition And 14 Examples)

4. Implement marketing campaigns

After customising each account's marketing campaign, you may implement each key account plan. You can distribute content using a range of methods in a key‌ account strategy, including email, standard mail, social media, special events and through advertisements. As a marketer, you can also use informal ties that exist between team members and members of each account, to your advantage.

For instance, if a member of a company's marketing team went to the same university as a member of a prospective account, marketers may use that relationship to establish a point of contact and to build trust with customers. The team member with the connection to the account can make introductions between the business and the account. Once you have an introduction established, you can implement a customised key account marketing strategy for that account.

Related: Campaign Manager Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

5. Track results

For key account marketing to be effective, it is vital for sales and marketing to effectively collaborate to attract clients and produce revenue. As marketers put key account marketing tactics into practice, it is critical to monitor their progress and outcomes to optimise and strengthen strategies. To acquire the highest-value accounts, optimising strategies enables change and alters key account marketing plans as and when necessary.

Explore more articles