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Account-Based Marketing Software 2021: Comprehensive Guide

Account Based Marketing is a B2B marketing technique wherein businesses focus on specific, best-fit, targeted accounts to acquire customers, grow revenue or increase their share of wallet. In ABM approach, both marketing and sales work together to target high value accounts and these accounts would be chosen based on any of the considerations like industry, brand, logo or market penetration. Learn why ABM is important and how it helps businesses and how to choose the right ABM software.

Last updated: Apr 15, 2021

Account-Based Marketing Software 2021: Comprehensive Guide

What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?

ABM is selecting highly targeted prospects and presenting your brand and content that is relevant to their business needs. ABM is not about many leads but about best matching your products and services to highly targeted accounts that are the best possible fit. Each account is treated as a market by itself, and each one should have a strategy tailored directly to them. Think of it as very personalized marketing in a B2B context. ABM will help you enhance your lead-to-revenue management.

Please focus on the target account’s needs and why you are a good fit for their organization and never lose sight of that.

ABM is a part of a continuum of ABM, ABA (Account-Based Advertisement), and ABS (Account-Based Sales). As a result, a successful ABM initiative requires participation beyond marketing such as sales, product, customer success, and executive teams must demonstrate commitment and discipline to help drive efficiency and growth with accounts that matter most.

Forrester believes that ABM succeeds when:

Marketing and sales jointly obsess over how to pursue, establish, and grow long-term, highly engaged revenue relationships with specific customer accounts.

Where ABM and Other Demand Gen Activities intersect:

Inbound Marketing

Leveraging various types of pull marketing — blogs, whitepapers, search engine optimization, webinars, social media, content marketing — inbound marketing aims to attract new prospects/leads and drive brand awareness. Its first step is to attract the right clients or quality leads. The second step is to open a dialogue and engage and convert a visitor to a lead.

Two core differences between inbound marketing and ABM are tactics and scalability. ABM works best when focused on a smaller group of Accounts/Customers.

Outbound Marketing

With outbound marketing, companies find and reach out to potential clients (rather than the customers finding you) with tactics like purchased data email blasts, in-house cold calls, and paid digital or display advertising. In outbound marketing, it can be challenging to target and your ROI can be hard to track.

ABM — which is not to be confused with targeted outbound marketing — is much more personalized and strategic.


In outbound sales, sales and/or sales development run their campaign until they generate an opportunity with a particular account. Marketing may or may not run outbound marketing programs against this target list of accounts.

In ABM, sales and marketing collaborate on building relationships aimed at these accounts.

What is ABM Software?

It is not easy to choose the right ABM software. Some of the software is an add-on to some of the existing CRM software or other marketing solutions. In some cases, ABM is part of the product functionality. Then, there are some point software solutions for different aspects of ABM. Your needs, context, and scale should govern the selection.

A successful ABM approach should solve for:

· Identifying the right accounts and targets within them.

· Delivering tailored marketing and sales messaging to those people.

· Measuring how they respond.

Your selection should ensure that you cover all these aspects through existing and new software.

Benefits of ABM Software

More effective pipeline generation

Apply scarce resources to where they make the most impact. Less wastage too.

Better conversion to closed deals

The likelihood of conversion is higher compared to other marketing methods.

91% of organizations report when they take an ABM approach, they are more likely to convert that deal from the pipeline to closed than with a non-ABM approach

Sirrus Decisions

ROI is Much Clearer

With the well-defined “market” or account, it is possible to calculate the ROI with a reasonable degree of certainty.

ABM delivers the highest ROI of any B2B marketing strategy or tactic.

ITSMA Account-Based Marketing Survey. 2014

65% of B2B marketers agreed that ABM provided significant benefits for attracting new clients.

Alterra Group

Goal-setting and analytics are easier

Campaign effectiveness analysis will yield tangible results, as you are looking at a smaller set of targeted accounts with plans you drew up.

Clients like it because it’s personal

“75% of customers prefer personalized offers” per Aberdeen. ABM is personalizing everything to the account.

Why is ABM Important?

Why is ABM Important?

● Own Analytics, combined with third-party data sources, transforms loose segmentation into tightly defined accounts to focus. Focus can prune a broader list by as much as 90% allowing you to focus on 10%.

● Capturing new accounts is easier because of some of the capabilities for modeling, and discovery.

● Given that B2B purchase cycles are lengthy, it is vital to keep the engagement going through the purchase cycle. ABM software can help significantly in continually staying in touch with customers with relevant content.

● Some of the new-gen ABM Software can orchestrate (and deliver) across all engagement channels.

● They also provide advertising, personalization features

Key Features of ABM Software

There are software products that focus exclusively on ABM. Demandbase and Jabmo are good examples of this scenario.

There are predictive marketing tools that can address ABM as well. MRR is a good example of this category of ABM solutions.

Some of the ABM solutions are start-to-finish to help find, target, and close accounts, while some specialize in different steps, such as Intent-and-lead identification tools, personalization tools, and measurement tools.

Account Identification Process

Identifying potential targets given an ideal customer profile. The data and methodology used to identify these target audiences vary widely. Some of the software products can go well beyond Account selection to Contact selection within the Account.

Sense of Intent

Having a sense of intent associated with the targets will help prioritize the account actions. It is not just knowing the intent and how it changes as time progresses.

Visualization & Reporting

Having a powerful visualization (as is the case with Jabmo) will help you manage the ABM easier.

Targeted Marketing

Target advertisements to people in specific companies. Given the number of people involved in B2B decisions, account-wide coverage has value in addition to one-to-one targeting.

Programmatic ad platform to tailor website messaging, retargeting of various kinds

Collaborative demand generation— between marketing and sales:


Personalized content delivery based on the user/account activity


Analytics that can sync with independent CRMs and other marketing platforms to wed engagement and sales data. The analytics data, in turn, prompt sales staff to follow-up with accounts that show increased interest based on browsing behavior, ad clicks, email opens.


Salesforce. Eloqua. HubSpot. Marketo. WordPress. The list goes on. Integrations move data between platforms and also power automation.

Ability to coordinate marketing and sales touch-points and improve sales reps’ early engagement with prospects.

Which are the industries that benefit from ABM Software?

Technology Vertical, Financial Services, Apparel & Fashion, Management Consulting. Telecommunications, Marketing, and Advertising are among the top users of ABM software

Who are the users of ABM Software?

ABM tools cater to many kinds of roles in Marketing and Sales. The marketing management team, Biz Dev teams, Sales Leaders, Sales Reps, and Account Executives, among others, benefit from ABM software.

The vast majority of companies using ABM have revenue below $100 million, and another large segment had revenue over $1.1 billion. But regardless of revenue, the vast majority of ABM-practicing companies are enterprise-level brands with more than 1,000 employees. (Source: Sirrus Decisions)


In his book “Artificial Intelligence for Marketing: Practical Applications,” marketing guru Jim Sterne wrote, “AI can discover which elements or attributes in a subject matter domain are the most predictive. Even with a great deal of noisy data and a large variety of data types, it can identify the most revealing characteristics, figuring out which to heed to and which to ignore.”

AI in ABM can help you discover new, unique prospects – and their viability

Ensure you’re getting the right information into your ads, so you grab someone’s attention,” advised Jessica, making a case for AI’s place in ABM.


Jessica Fewless

VP of ABM Strategy DemandBase

During her talk at the “B2B Marketing Conference: Account-Based Everything”, Jessica Fewless, VP of ABM strategy at Demandbase. outlined how AI can be beneficial in an ABM product:

1. Identify account intent

AI can be a helpful tool during the account selection process as it’s able to gauge intent.

2. Optimize the buyer journey

AI is able to track and understand the individual’s online behavior, which will allow you to predict the right time to close the deal.

3. Personalize website content

What the audience wants to see and read is at the heart of content planning, and AI can improve this accuracy.

4. Hyper-target ads

5. Develop an account-based sales team

A key element and benefit of ABM is the alignment of the sales and marketing team – and AI can boost this correlation further.

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Buyer’s Guide - Guide to Choose Right ABM Software

Right-sizing ABM

If ABM is new to the organization, a pilot program can be a great starting point. It will help you refine the process and prove ROI to get the necessary buy-in from the organization. If it is the pilot that you are looking for. you would then select the AMB software accordingly. You can also use the pilot program to test the ABM software itself against your needs. Keep in mind a pilot needs the same degree of commitment as a full-fledged deployment for it to show valid results. An example of a pilot could be about Account selection as most ABM programs start with account selection or identification. Since in an ABM approach, you think the account first then lead, your follow-up for inbound leads also potentially changes. Consider the changes required to implement them while selecting the software.

Buyers are recommended to consider peer reviews and expert opinions that are extensively available on Cuspera before making buying decisions. Cuspera’s AI based engine guides you through the requirement process to help you choose the right software.

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You have to choose whether you want an end-to-end capability such as that provided by DemandBase, prefer riding on some other work such as predictive marketing that your organization already uses, or take a step at a time kind of approach to ABM implementation (with each step adding its incremental value). These factors influence the selection of products.

Another significant consideration is any compliances that you may need to adhere to. Please ensure that the products meet this requirement.

You have to choose the integrations needed for the ABM to succeed and ensure that the software supports it. Data integration with the rest of your marketing and sales solution may be a critical factor to take into account.

You also would want to evaluate whether the particular ABM software has any vertical, geo, or another kind of a focus that makes it more suitable for your needs.

We also recommend you evaluate whether the benefits of AI in the selected software provide good ROI.

Within the short-list of products, you would want to evaluate the products for ease of implementation and deployment, risks in adoption, support considerations, etc.

Challenges in Adopting ABM Software

1. ABM isn’t something to take lightly. In many companies, it entails much work and requires alignment not only between sales and marketing. Hence, you would want to calibrate the internal dynamics.

2. It takes time to integrate data across platforms, identify new accounts, target them with messaging—and wait for a months-long sales cycle to prove ROI.

3. ABM requires deep account profiling shared between internal account stakeholders

4. Account-Based Marketing requires a well-built stack. Raab lists 40 technologies in a 142-page guide to ABM vendors! There are alliances and consortiums, and what have you to tell you what an ideal ABM stack looks like and how to assemble it. But, they are far from proven in a specific context.

5. Just because the software vendors check many of the same boxes, it doesn’t mean the solutions are the same. The depth of capabilities in a given area can vary dramatically. You should think through your use cases and your long-term strategy before software selection.

  1. Some of the software products focus on specific industries. For instance, Jabmo has a robust presence in the Manufacturing vertical.

7. The other ABM challenges include tracking results, personalization, budget, and scaling campaigns.

ROI of Account-Based Marketing

All in all, ABM shortens the sales cycle and improves your lead conversion ratio. Research from the Altera Group found that 97% of businesses that use an ABM approach saw higher ROIs than with any other marketing strategy.

Seventy-seven percent of B2B marketers believe ABM has driven greater success with their target accounts and 45% have seen at least double the ROI, according to new research from ITSMA, Demandbase, and the ABM Leadership Alliance.

SiriusDecisions found that 30% of marketers that worked in an account-based manner reported greater than 100% engagement increase with their C-level targets. They have also reported 91% of marketers that use ABM have indicated a larger deal size, with 25% stating their deal size being over 50% larger.

However, it takes time to see the results

According to a study done by Demandbase and Demand Metric, the longer ABM is in use, the more its full-funnel impact is experienced, with 43% of those using ABM for three or more years reporting that it had an impact on their entire funnel.

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90 Account Based Marketing Software