Demand Generation vs. ABM – 4 Ways Account-Based Marketing Differs from Demand/Lead Generation

Many businesses work hard to generate and engage larger and larger volumes of leads. This kind of marketing strategy is known simply as lead generation or demand generation. However, this “quantity-driven” methodology has downsides too. The large number of leads does not necessarily translate into what you might call “high-quality” leads.

More, organizations that are targeting revenues of six or seven figures might not succeed while practicing this type of demand generation strategy. However, they can target the high-value clients instead of a large quantity of leads, and in that way, they can generate a greater ROI. And this methodology of focusing on high-value clients instead of on a large volume of leads is known as an account-based marketing (ABM) strategy.

So, how does account-based marketing or ABM differs from demand generation or lead generation? Should you switch your lead generation marketing efforts to account-based marketing approaches?

Here is how you can understand the differences between the two and how to choose the right strategy for your business.

1. Selecting the right accounts (ABM) or generalizing industries (demand generation)

While demand generation approaches require identifying and focusing on specific industries or locations to generate leads, ABM requires marketers to identify specific “accounts” or companies. Although the process of identifying accounts can be more time consuming than the process of generating leads, the account selection process is more effective in landing high-value accounts.

In order to select the right accounts, marketers need to trace previous companies they have worked with and focus on the similar kind of companies in industries which conform to the business profile.

In this phase, companies combine insights and resources from both sales and marketing processes and create a common worksheet, to incorporate the data collected from both processes. Afterwards, marketers can also use predictive analysis data to determine if the targeted companies will provide the right fit.

Sales and marketing teams can collect resources and information to create a list that can help your teams in creating personalized and relevant solutions for target account companies.

2. Key contacts of target accounts (ABM) or no specific type of contacts (demand generation)

With account-based marketing approaches, marketers can zero in on key contacts of their targeted account, instead of chasing a large number contacts with no real unifying factor.

On average, the buying decisions made by large enterprises involve about 17 key decision players. The more marketers can connect and engage with key contacts from target account companies, the better the conversion opportunities they can create to pass on to the sales funnel.

ABM enables marketers to dedicate their efforts to identify these key decision-making contacts within specific high-value accounts they target. In that way, they can provide greater revenue-driven, better quality contacts and accounts to the sales funnel, more customized and more interested in your products, services, or offers.

Finding key contacts across different levels of various teams and functions is crucial in engaging with the right people at the right time, and in order to be able to personalize messages to those decision makers. So, it is also important to find out the ranks and responsibilities of each of those and engaging as many decision makers in an account company to promote your product or service within the organization.

The best and most effective methods of identifying key decision maker contacts are:

  • Look for heads of departments through the LinkedIn page of the company

  • Next, look for those targeted decision makers using tools such as, or Email Hunter to get contact details including address, phone numbers, email addresses, roles and responsibilities in that company.

  • Focus the promotional activities of the company on upcoming events and speakers at those webinars and events, authors at blogs and gated content published on their websites.

  • Marketers can also rely on third-party company intelligence vendors to find key decision making personnel at the target account company.

3. Discovering useful Insights on contacts (ABM) or presuming buyers’ preferences (demand generation)

Since account-based marketing approaches are focused on specific accounts and contacts, marketers need to invest a considerable amount of time and effort in doing the research needed to personalize content, offers and messages for the targeted decision makers. While demand generation strategies may require focusing on a marketer’s own agenda, such as generating leads, marketers who work in ABM need to focus on targeted accounts.

Collecting insights on targeted accounts will equip marketers with information for creating content and messages that will be relevant to key contacts and target account companies. With relevant and personalized content, targeted contacts will be more interested to open, engage and interact with marketers’ messages, content, offers, products or overall communications. That’s why marketers need to get a standard set of contact details and insights on their online behavior for as many of these contacts as is possible, including:

  • Job descriptions, responsibilities, specific choices and needs, objectives of all key decision makers and purchasing team players

  • Latest trends, updates and news regarding the industry and market of the targeted companies

  • Areas of scopes and limitations for purchases with the target account

  • Interpersonal relations and cultures among members of the decision making team and how they interact with one another

  • Connections that your company has already built with the target account company

Marketers can also collect insights by focusing on the blog posts, announcements, other business communications, and social media updates from their target accounts, in addition to personal interactions with key contacts. Your sales reps can connect with those key contacts by attending various events, conferences, seminars, meetups, and networking events, etc. In addition to social media pages, profiles and events, ABM marketers can also run online surveys to collect important insights about contacts and accounts.

4. Personalized Content (ABM) or generic, one-size-fits-all information (demand generation)

Creating high-quality, unique content and offers should be the top priority of marketers; however, ABM approaches require creating the kind of personalized content that will address the particular needs of key decision makers. Such personalized content will help companies to improve their engagement as well as show their own content to be the most relevant, and definitely a cut above the competition targeting the same account company.

These are some simple and effective techniques to personalize content and speed up purchase decisions:

  • Create titles or subtitles which will be targeted to the contacts

  • Create or incorporate case studies which match the industry or market of the target companies

  • Include images which will attract and engage the target company

  • Modify the introduction, key points or conclusion of existing content to personalize for the target accounts.

  • Create, clone or tweak an existing landing pages as per industry or market of the target company.

  • Craft simulations for the type of solutions that are required by the target account.

  • Create personalized reports for the target company.

  • Personalize content which will address to particular needs, limitations, problems and scopes of resolving those issues.

Are you planning to transform your marketing efforts from demand generation or lead generation to an account-based marketing approach? If you are looking for the best practices to start ABM campaigns, identify target accounts or conduct ABM programs to win high-value account companies, start by discussing business objectives with an experienced ABM specialists at (408) 502 6765 or DM us via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn social channels.