Is Account-Based Marketing the Holy Grail for Lead Generation Nirvana? [PowerOpinions Part 3]

Posted by Dan McDade

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on Sep 29, 2015 9:30:00 AM

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Is Account-Based Marketing a holy grail?

I recently asked fellow industry leaders to weigh in on the rising popularity of Account-Based Marketing among B2B companies. This is the question I posed:

According to a report by SiriusDecisions, 2015 State of Account-Based Marketing (ABM), more than 60 percent of companies plan to invest in technology for ABM to better align sales and marketing over the next twelve months. Is ABM the Holy Grail to lead generation or just another black box solution destined to cost a lot of money, distract marketing and end up getting more bad leads to sales faster than ever before?

Today in part 3, we hear from James Obermayer, Executive Director of the Sales Lead Management Association. (Click here for part 1 & part 2.)

Account-Based Marketing, because of technology, is steadily advancing from the B2B big dollar, small prospect list marketplace, into mid-market B2B sales arena. Instead of companies with 100 prospects world-wide using it, the IP-based targeting can, through software and a little manual labor, be applied to companies with a much larger total available marketplace (TAM). Even in companies with a TAM in the many thousands, there are key accounts and current customers that can be segmented for ABM applications while leaving the remainder of the marketplace to the normal marketing automation applications.

As technology continues to be simplified and automated, 1-1 selling through ABM will become commonplace. For instance, let’s look at this chart about hospitals in the US (2014 Stats from the American Hospital Assn).

Total Number of all U.S. Registered * Hospitals


Number of U.S. Community ** Hospitals


Number of Nongovernment Not-for-Profit Community Hospitals


Number of Investor-Owned (For-Profit) Community Hospitals


Number of State and Local Government Community Hospitals


Number of Federal Government Hospitals


Number of Nonfederal Psychiatric Hospitals


Number of Nonfederal Long Term Care Hospitals


Number of Hospital Units of Institutions
(Prison Hospitals, College Infirmaries, Etc.)


If I am selling a diagnostic instrument that can be used in all hospitals (5686), ABM may not yet be practical. But if I know that my larger or repeat sales most often come from nonfederal long term care hospitals (81) and Federal Government Hospitals (213), ABM may be perfect as a competitive advantage for my marketing and sales efforts. A few years ago the Federal Government count of 213 would have been a non-starter for ABM. Now, however, or in the near future, it is within reach—with effort.

If I want to sell to hospitals by the largest bed count, there are 454 and it may be worth some extra effort to apply ABM to these.


Less than 50 beds

50-250 beds

250-500 beds

More than 500 beds


























But a further breakdown to 1000-bed hospitals would make this is an ABM chore that is easier than expected and not left to just the 50 largest hospitals.

The bottom line? Now that ABM technology is out of the box and available, and the human mind is applied to improve upon the problem, it will be improved upon again and again until ABM is applied to larger and larger total available marketplaces.

Jim has done an excellent job of differentiating between target segments that are good fits for ABM and larger target markets (or what Jim calls TAM or total available marketplace) that may require marketing that is more traditional. (Jim uses marketing automation as an example, and he knows I feel that inbound marketing has been used at the exclusion of outbound marketing.  I think we both agree this is a mistake.)

Jim’s approach is absolutely on target. We find that many companies try to prospect too broadly and in his example a 500-bed for-profit hospital (most likely part of a hospital group) buys much differently than a Federal Government Hospital.

Thanks, Jim! Great input, as always.

Next up in part 4: Scott Vaughan.

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Topics: Account-Based Marketing

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