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What is One-to-One, One-to-Few, and One-to-Many (ABM) Account-Based Marketing? The following blog post discusses the different types of ABM strategies, the criteria for successful implementation, and how to choose the right style of ABM for your business needs.

Account-based marketing doesn’t look the same for every company. Like one of the basic ABM principles, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach when implementing an account-based strategy. Depending upon the size of your company, your sales and marketing resources, and desired pipeline outcomes, your ABM strategy (including tactics, channels, and budget) can vary.

For example, a large B2B enterprise software company may have an ABM strategist backed by a creative team dedicated to activating one or a handful of accounts. On the other hand, a growth company may only have one to three people dedicated to activating a list of 500 or more target accounts.

The tactics in these two scenarios will have different levels of personalization, tools to support, time to launch, touchpoints, and budgets. But both are still viable ABM strategies because sales and marketing are aligned against a specific set of accounts.

The most significant differences between the three types of ABM programs come down to:

  • The number of accounts you are targeting
  • The level of personalization within your sales & marketing efforts
  • How will you measure success

Types of Account-Based MarketingWhat are the Fundamentals of an ABM Campaign?

Regardless of what type of ABM program you build, the core of an account-based strategy doesn’t change.

Sales & Marketing Alignment

Sales and marketing alignment is a requirement for ABM success. This means that the team is working on the same target account list and sharing and collaborating on everything through pipeline – including measuring, learnings, wins, and losses.

B2B Sales Marketing Alignment StatEstablishing an Ideal Customer Profile

Your ideal customer profile is the foundation of your account-based strategy. An ICP refers to the companies that are the best fit for your solution – not your entire TAM. Depending on which type of ABM you execute, your ICP will be broken down and prioritized at the account level.

Identifying Your Buying Committee

Use your existing CRM data to map out which personas are actively and passively part of the purchasing process for your solution.

Building an Account-Based Tech Stack

You need to be able to show pipeline movement at the account level to prove ABM success. From execution to measurement, a tech stack supporting account-level targeting and reporting is critical.

Dedicated Account-Based Resources

Suppose account-based marketing isn’t your only strategy. In that case, it is important to ensure that your team has the time and resources to create the personalized ABM experience necessary for each type of program.


What is One-to-One Account-Based Marketing?

Sometimes referred to as “strategic ABM”, one-to-one account-based marketing is a hyper-targeted strategy that personalizes tactics, messaging, and activity to individual accounts.

This one-to-one approach is the most advanced ABM play and leads to better engagement, larger deal sizes, and significantly improved customer loyalty. Because of the resources needed to be successful, one-to-one ABM campaigns are positioned for engaging your highest-value accounts, either because of the deal size or a limited market.

In enterprise sales, a 1:1 ABM model creates a uniform sales and marketing approach throughout the long sales cycle – ensuring messaging is tailored and informed at every stage of the buying journey.

One-to-One ABM: Number of Accounts

1:1 ABM programs are recommended for targeting your top 5 most valuable accounts.

One-to-One ABM: Personalization

One-to-one ABM is hyper-personalized to the account and the personas you are trying to reach within the buying committee. The most significant personalization happens within marketing efforts, including your messaging, ad creative, and landing pages.

Due to the high level of personalization, sales and marketing must align and determine how you will strategically message to each company.

ABM strategies create relevancy by calling out the companies they target by name and directly referencing brand assets, pain points, and relevant insights.  This tailored approach boosts engagement and, hopefully, your chances of landing a deal.

While personalized outbound efforts should be present at every step of an ABM campaign, personalization within a 1:1 ABM program should never be automated, and it should include every persona on the buying committee. Alpha tactics, or personalized gifting, can be a great lever when trying to break through with different individuals within the committee. Gifting should be based on personal insight with the intent of developing a relationship.

The biggest thing to remember when running a one-to-one ABM campaign is to take your time to develop each individual activity and aim to drive trust within the target account.

One-to-One ABM: How to Measure Success

All reporting is done at the account level, and you should set up an individual ABM scorecard for each account you are targeting.

Example 1:1 ABM Metrics:

  • Progression through the buyer journey
  • Account engagement level
  • Sales outbound touches on each account
  • Pipeline velocity


What is One-to-Few Account-Based Marketing?

One-to-few account-based marketing is a targeted strategy that personalizes tactics, messaging, and activity to a group of accounts with commonality. This type of ABM is also known as ABM lite.

1:Few ABM is a lighter version of 1:1 ABM and helps you scale your sales and marketing efforts against a small segment of accounts that share a similar attribute. This is great for creating a targeted campaign against accounts while increasing market share.

Like one-to-one ABM, one-to-few campaigns are built upon sales and marketing working in unison to create a single, cohesive journey for the buyer.

One-to-Few ABM: Number of Accounts

One-to-few ABM programs are recommended for targeting a small group of 5-50 high-value accounts.

One-to-Few ABM: Level of Personalization

Personalization for a 1:Few ABM program is done at the cohort level and is determined by shared characteristics within account segments.

Segmentation can be based on firmographics (e.g., industry or company size), technographic data (e.g., the CRM they use), or any company insight that makes sense for your solution (e.g., an initiative to move to a hybrid workforce).

This segmentation allows you to create and serve unique messaging for the cohort at a level that speaks directly to their pain point while not calling out their brand specifically.

This messaging can look like segment-specific landing pages, ad creative on the marketing side, and highly personalized sales outbound efforts with extra attention to primary personas (rather than the entire buying committee).

Because the core of your ABM campaign relies on getting your segmentation right, you must have buy-in from marketing, sales & leadership to ensure messaging resonates across pipeline activity.

One-to-Few ABM: How to Measure Success

While still at the account level, measurement should be broken down within your reporting by segment.

Example 1:Few ABM Metrics:

  • Account engagement level
  • Sales outbound efforts by cohort
  • Cohort positive progression through journey stages
  • Increase in opportunity creation quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year
  • Increase in pipeline and closed/won revenue


What is One-to-Many Account-Based Marketing?

One-to-many ABM, often referred to as programmatic ABM, aligns sales and marketing efforts against a set of target accounts with light personalization.

One-to-many ABM focuses on creating a single sales and marketing playbook for your segmented target account list with broader segmentation. This type of ABM is often used as the first step into an account-based strategy because it requires less time and effort from both sales & marketing – allowing it to run alongside other initiatives.

B2B growth companies typically use programmatic ABM as a proof point to expand account-based efforts across the entire organization.

One-to-Many ABM: Number of Accounts

1:Many ABM programs are recommended for targeting a segmented group of 50-500+ target accounts that have been prioritized within your total addressable market segment.

One-to-Many ABM: Level of Personalization

The level of personalization for a one-to-many account-based program is very light and relies on some generalization to perform at scale.

Segmentation is often based upon key firmographics such as industry and revenue but can also happen within the account and persona level. For example, you may sell a solution that helps sales executives report on rep activity. In this instance, you may want to target multiple industries and customize your messaging to the persona.

For marketing efforts within a programmatic ABM campaign, your goal is to create a similar experience to an ABM lite campaign but at a level that can speak to a broader range of accounts.

Sales teams working with a one-to-many ABM program still need to focus on personalization based on segmentation for primary personas and the place within the buying journey (based on intent signals). Still, they can utilize sales enablement tools to create semi-personalization at scale.

One-to-Many ABM: How to Measure Success

Like one-to-few programs, a programmatic ABM program should be reported by your different segments. Due to the number of accounts you are activating, it is essential to establish engagement metrics instead of traditional KPIs to effectively measure movement through the pipeline as you bring these accounts in-market.

Example 1:Many ABM Metrics:

  • Segment engagement level
  • Sales outbound efforts by segment
  • Segment positive progression through journey stages
  • Increase in opportunity creation quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year
  • Increase in pipeline and closed/won revenue


What Type of ABM is Best for Your Company?

Often, it is beneficial for your company to run multiple types of ABM programs simultaneously.

Even in the early stages of ABM, your sales team should have target accounts they prioritize. If your target account list (TAL) has 500 companies and 20 are considered strategic accounts, you may want to launch a one-to-many playbook and a one-to-few playbook. The segmentation of playbooks will allow you to prioritize efforts and budget against which accounts are the best fit for your solution.

Choosing the playbook(s) comes down to four primary considerations:

1.     Target Account List Size

Start with determining your total addressable market and begin segmenting from there. Based on your best-fit target account list, how granular can you get when breaking your TAL into similar accounts?

2.     Budget & Return on Investment

More personalization means a greater budget is needed to execute. Budget is one of the main reasons why companies that are just starting an account-based strategy begin with programmatic ABM. Once you can prove ROI and build up your pipeline, moving to a more strategic ABM approach is more accessible.

3.     Strategic and Creative Resources

Along with budget, the more personalized your approach, the more resources you need to execute. Resources include employee time and effort (e.g., creating content, doing personalized outbound, etc.) but can also refer to the tech stack necessary to execute at a highly personalized level.

4.     Sales Alignment Level

Sales alignment is necessary for any ABM program, but as personalization becomes more hyper-targeted, their time and investment must reflect that. This means sales goals, compensation, and expectations must align with your ABM program’s level. You cannot run an effective ABM program if your sales team is measured on a traditional pipeline fueled by lead gen efforts.


ABM for Go-to-Market

While most B2B go-to-market strategies are aligned with what’s traditionally referred to as programmatic ABM, as teams start to prove the success of the account-based programs, these smaller organizations can start to explore 1:Few and maybe even 1:1 ABM campaigns.

Ready to jump into ABM strategy? RenderTribe is a full-service account-based marketing agency that helps teams build and execute winning go-to-market strategies. Whether you’re new to ABM or are looking to expand your account-based opportunities, our team of ABM strategies is here to help set your team up for success.

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