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Technical Models and Guides

Taking an Account-based Approach to Optimise your Marketing ROI

Written by Propolis Expert Robert Norum

Find out how ‘full-stack ABM’ will deliver the most effective results and optimise your return on investment in today’s challenging market conditions.

These are challenging, if rather confusing times for businesses to plan amid varying market and economic signals. Whatever the true situation, there is no question that marketing budgets are being affected, marketing head counts are at risk, and there is increasing pressure on the marketing department to justify or protect planned marketing activities. In this context it is extremely important to make sure your marketing spend is optimised for the best results and return on investment. In my opinion, full-stack ABM is the most logical way to address this challenge.

What is full-stack ABM?

Full-stack ABM is creating an end-to-end ABM strategy that connects your traditional demandgen, industry marketing and customer growth strategies into a single connected whole. It is about concentrating your marketing investments so that everything is pulling in the same direction and each tier should build on the success of the last. This is not about testing an ‘ABM pilot’, it is about putting ABM at the front and centre of your marketing strategy. If on first mention this feels like a risk, it is in fact anything but. Full-stack ABM will enable you to concentrate your marketing budget and resources on your most engaged prospects and your most important accounts.

Start with the total addressable market (TAM) or serviceable addressable market (SAM)

The foundation of full-stack ABM starts by assessing your total market and ensures that you are making informed decisions to short-list the correct named accounts for your 1:Many programme – which effectively becomes a laser-targeted demandgen programme. The pre-ABM phase of TAM or SAM will be covered off with brand, PR, SEO, PPC and inbound marketing to qualify potentially engaged accounts into your 1:Many demandgen. You should also consider utilising an intent platform to identify potential prospects from your TAM that are ‘in market’.

Refocusing your demandgen into a highly targeted 1:many ABM programme

It is obviously essential for almost all businesses to have a steady flow of new name, new accounts coming into the top of the sales funnel but traditional demandgen is often random, and nearly always wasteful of budget and resources. By repurposing your demandgen into a focussed 1:Many ABM programme to named accounts based on propensity modelling and proven engagement or intent, you can ensure minimum wastage and maximum ROI.

Transforming industry marketing into a highly focussed 1:Few programme

Many organisations already segment their business, customers and prospects into vertical or industry aligned business units and produce quality content to promote their products and services in this way. But only a small percentage have adopted 1:Few ABM approach to drive their sales & marketing strategy into a carefully qualified set of key accounts by vertical. This involves selecting a hand-picked of set of accounts with the sales organisation – whether they are growth opportunities or new customers – and creating a highly personalised version of industry/sector marketing for each target account. The value proposition and messaging will be at an industry level, but the delivery will be carefully targeted by account.

Your most important accounts are your biggest growth opportunities with 1:1 ABM

Many well-respected industry voices regard 1:1 ABM as the only true form of ABM, where account strategy, value proposition and messaging are personalised by account and tailored for key stakeholders across the account. This makes absolute sense when you are considering your largest and most important enterprise accounts. As @Bev Burgess demonstrated in her compelling presentation at B2B Marketing’s last ABM conference 40 accounts will contribute 64% of £1bn company’s revenue where the company has 1000 accounts – and based on a fractal (recurring) version of Pareto’s Law (the 80/20 rule), a mere 8 accounts are likely to contribute over half the company’s revenue. This means that investing in your top accounts should be mandatory – firstly to protect them, but just as importantly to grow them and to expand your footprint wherever possible across the account.

The case for full-stack ABM

Full-stack ABM will enable you deliver on a single, coherent and connected strategy with a clear line of sight from inbound marketing to 1:1 ABM, from building early-stage awareness and engagement to developing qualified leads and growing existing accounts. It will do this in the most efficient way possible, with the minimum wastage and the optimal use of your marketing budget and resources. ’

Explore our 1:Many, 1:Few, and 1:1 campaign-specific models


This is one of eight models and guides produced every quarter by the Propolis Experts, each designed to help develop knowledge and drive efficiencies across your marketing campaigns. The full set of models and guides is available exclusively to Propolis members.

Robert Norum

ABM & Demand Strategy Expert, B2B Marketing

Robert Norum is the ABM and Demand Strategy Expert for Propolis, the global community for B2B marketing leaders.

A B2B Marketer with over 30 years experience, Robert has worked in magazine publishing, IT distribution, marketing agencies and for the last 19 years as an independent marketing consultant. For the last 10 years Robert has specialised in ABM working with a wide cross section of global brands. Since 2017, he has delivered the B2B Marketing ABM Essentials training course for 500+ marketing professionals.

Robert is one of seven Experts on hand for Propolis members to access at any time offering impartial, trusted advice that is tailored to their specific business needs. Whether it’s help with enhancing their marketing strategy or working through a specific challenge, Propolis members can save an average £30k a year working directly with the Experts instead of using external consultants.

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