Digital Account Based Marketing for Prospecting and Lead Generation

Part 1: Digital ABM Prospecting Basics

Account Based Marketing (ABM) is a B2B marketing and selling strategy that seeks to direct targeted, highly relevant messaging to key existing accounts OR prospective accounts.

At least, that’s how I recommend approaching ABM – utilize a strategy for existing and prospective accounts.

The majority of B2B companies view ABM from the key account, existing clients viewpoint.

However, in our digital marketing world an ABM approach is perfectly suited for new customer prospecting.


Step 1 – Identify the accounts you want to win. Industries > Companies > Job Titles…with possible geo considerations.

Step 2 – Develop content that speaks to each key account. White papers, case studies, podcasts, video blogs, etc.

Step 3 – Use digital to identify accounts and remarketing accordingly. If you’re using a sophisticated CRM or lead nurturing platform (HubSpot, Salesforce/Pardot, Marketo) you’ve got all the built-in tools you need. (If you need help, call someone like me). If you don’t have an enterprise level CRM here’s just a handful of ways to use digital for ABM prospecting.

  • Analytics: Create audiences for remarketing based on landing pages that users visit and actions users take on your site.
  • Email: Use lead magnets to attract prospects and capture email address.
  • Paid Search: Structure campaigns so they speak to specific industries and/or companies.
  • Social: Run Facebook and LinkedIn ads targeting specific companies, geos, and titles.

The over arching strategy is to use digital to identify and unlock information about specific visitors. Here’s a real-life example. I’m focused on growing my digital consulting business with restaurants. Specifically, single-location restaurants in Northeast Ohio. I’ve got a list of ideal clients who fit this description, but instead of cold calling I’m using digital ABM to generate awareness and demand.

I’ve created a restaurant focused case study that lives on a dedicated page on my site. Visitors to that page are added to a Google Analytics audience called “Restaurants”. I’m then serving ads (AdWords and Facebook) to persons who visited that page. The ads offer additional case studies that users can get via email. At this point I can now craft highly specific messaging (emails, custom landing pages, banner ads, paid search ads, personalized site content, etc.) for each account.

That – in a condensed explanation – is how you go about deploying an Account Based Marketing approach to digital prospecting.

Up next, how to rollout digital ABM for existing accounts.

5 Ways to Reach B2B Decision Makers on Facebook

I touched on the recurring – albeit incorrect – rhetoric of “you can’t reach B2B decision makers on social media,” in a recent post (read it here). Let’s put some meat on that plate.

But first, there is ONE prereq you need to master: Don’t post shitty content.

  • Don’t post a slideshow. Don’t post a boring keynote. Don’t post a regurgitated case study.
  • If your content is boring, pull the plug and start over.

Let’s assume you have some quality videos/photos and stud-driven, creative messaging. Here are 5 ways you can gain awareness, consideration, and business from B2B decision makers on Facebook and Instagram.

5 Tactics for B2B Marketing on Facebook and Instagram

1) Think Big, Target Small
Take time to explore all of the targeting options (age, sex, geo, company, job title AND interest and behaviors). Don’t launch a one-size-fits-all campaign. Take the time to craft your creative to niche audiences.

2) Recruit Influencers
Social media is built for sharing. So, use copy and creative that is likely to be shared. Example, let’s say you’re selling IT/Network services in Cleveland.

  • Launch a campaign with messaging of “5 Security Tips for CTOs in 2018”
  • Target industries in Cleveland
  • Colleagues will share compelling content with their company’s CTO

3) Straddle
Align your brand with content of interest to your audience.

  • Identify the interests of your target audience. Are they into golf, boating, gaming…whatever.
  • Find content to sponsor OR create your own unique content around that subject.

4) Be the Content King
Own the content in your niche. Post (and promote) podcasts, videos, and articles of experts in your target audience. Even interview your target audience. Sticking with the CTO in Cleveland example, interview CTOs in Cleveland for your blog or podcast and bury your flag in the ground as the content expert in that niche.

5) Troll
Business decision makers are inundated with meeting requests on LinkedIn. You know what they aren’t getting a lot of? Comments and messages on Instagram. It’ll take some manual outreach (or hire a virtual assistant to do it), but messaging via Instagram can be a goldmine for B2B.

  • Identify a list of decision makers you want to connect with
  • Find their Instagram accounts
  • Like, comment and engage with their posts
  • Send personalized messages when appropriate

Have fun with your social posts. The platforms are designed to be entertaining – your content and ads should keep that in mind. And while there’s no singular solution for social B2B you should be able to launch, measure, and optimize rapidly in order to determine what works best for your company.

Our Customers Aren’t on Social Media


I’ve been involved in a handful of B2B pitches and strategy sessions the last couple of weeks and the conversations sound like a broken record.

All the seats at the table enjoy talking about Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, even Snapchat. They’re topical platforms. They’re in the news. They’re fixing elections. They’re being scrutinized by congress. Everyone (most everyone) personally uses them and tends to have a strong opinion on the impact – good or bad – of the leading social media platforms.

But when we talk about using social media to generate leads and customers for their B2B business, the reactions tend to be a mix of aghast with a little disgust sprinkled in. Oh the horror and stupidity you spew. Read more