Home / Blog / The importance of the ABM...
Strategy & Planning Updated on: Apr 12, 2024

The importance of the ABM tiered approach

Get monthly executive SaaS marketing advice in your inbox


Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a B2B marketing strategy in which Marketing & Sales acknowledge and align their resources to work together to provide a personalized experience to a specific number of key accounts. 

The ABM Tiered Approach

One of the key aspects of ABM is the acknowledgment that not all prospect accounts within your target list are created equal. There will always be higher and lower priority accounts, and it is fundamental to clearly make this differentiation so that you invest the right amount of resources and treat them accordingly.

Segmenting your Target Account List

Target Account List segmentation is usually done following three pillars: Intent, Fit, and Engagement.


Intent refers to information or triggers which would signal that a specific individual or target account would be interested in your product or type of service. This intent can be demonstrated in the form of particular personas at target accounts looking for specific keywords or browsing specific websites. Intent can also be measured by looking for recent company publications or monitoring specific hires or departures. There are many intent data providers in the market, but you can also get started by setting up your own LinkedIn and Google Alerts for some specific topics.


Fit refers to how close a target account is to your  ICP; this can be measured by how many of the firmographic data points overlap with our preferred ranges. This can also be measured by the potential ACV the account will bring in relation to the ease of sale.  Good questions to ask at this point are the following:

  • In which regions or Industries do I have a stronger penetration?
  • What is my sweet spot in terms of company size?
  • Is there any tech stack my solution integrates better with?


Engagement refers to all forms of past communication with your target accounts. These are usually a combination of website visits, past webinar attendees, and downloadables as well as lead gen form filled. Opportunities in the pipeline going cold are also an indicator of existing engagement.

If you are trying to break into a new market, and do not have any of this data available, then you should leverage common connections between your organization and your target account. These common connections can also include your client’s network which you can leverage through targeted referral campaigns.

The ABM Tiered Approach

The ABM tiered approach consists of effectively allocating your marketing and sales resources according to your list of different list tiers. ABM tiered approach can be divided into three categories: Strategic ABM, ABM Lite, and Programmatic ABM.

Strategic account typesStrategic ABM

Strategic ABM, also referred to as the one-to-one approach, is a hyper-focused approach in which sales and marketing create a personalized experience for a specific account. One-to-one ABM campaigns should really be personalized. In one-to-one ABM you are looking to either open the door to the conversation or change the existing perception that an account has of your company.

Examples of initiatives used in Strategic ABM are:

  • Custom Landing Pages with curated content.
  • 3D Mails including door openers and post-meeting packages.
  • Personalized outreach at every step of the sequence.
  • Special deals and discounts.

ABM Lite

ABM Lite, also referred to as the one-to-few approach, is a focused approach in which sales and marketing create personalized experiences for groups of accounts that share similar traits. One-to-few ABM is still a very personalized play, but these are not necessarily the top highest value accounts you are going after. 

Examples of initiatives used in ABM Lite:

  • Custom Landing Pages for specific Industries
  • Personalized outreach to key personas
  • Gift card or small care packages

Programmatic ABM

Programmatic ABM, also known as the one-to-many approach, is the less focused version of ABM, in which marketing uses programmatic personalization using data points in your CRM to personalized content at scale. Programmatic ABM is usually run with the primary goal of generating engagement. Once an account has demonstrated enough engagement, this can allow the account to progress from a Tier 3 account to Tier 2 and therefore receive a more personalized experience. Most of the initiatives used in Programmatic ABM to generate engagement should also be present in ABM Lite, and Strategic ABM.

Examples of initiatives used in Programmatic ABM:

  • Programmatic Outreach via email
  • Programmatic Content through Webinars
  • Display ads for air cover

Additional considerations 

Follow a tiering system

There are all forms of ABM initiatives and campaigns, the ones mentioned above are just a few examples. The most important thing to remember is that the accounts in each tier are of different value, and therefore you should be treating them differently. When running your ABM campaigns, you should always ask yourself three things. 

  1. Am I treating my Tier 1 accounts and my Tier 2  accounts differently?
  2. Is the investment of resources proportional to the expected return?
  3. What other initiatives can I add to my existing strategy?

Start a Multi-channel approach

Regardless of whether it is Programmatic ABM or Strategic ABM, you should always run initiatives on multiple channels for your ABM campaign.

While most of your conversions will probably come from a few high converting channels. Air cover in the form of display ads, voice mails through cold calling, and regular marketing communications will help keep your brand top of mind and ultimately positively influence the account’s decision to engage with your company when the timing is right.

Get monthly executive SaaS marketing advice in your inbox


Similar posts

Get notified on new marketing insights

Be the first to know about new B2B SaaS Marketing insights to build or refine your marketing function with the tools and knowledge of today’s industry.