strategic ABM and ABM Lite – what’s the difference?

Claire Nash


4th July 2016 / ABM best practice

“Account based marketing helps you win bigger deals and transform customer relationships by treating each enterprise account as a ‘market of one’.”

If Strategic ABM (SABM) is one-to-one, then ABM Lite is one-to-a-few. It works by grouping accounts with common values, like challenges, business motivations and even vertical market. An ABM programme is then developed to work across them all.

SABM is resource intensive – so reserved for strategic accounts. AMB Lite can be executed at greater scale. Although as ITSMA’s Bev Burgess points out,

“The ABM Lite approach is less resource intensive per account than strategic ABM but the returns for any individual account will likely be ‘lite’ as well.”

ABM Lite is associated with a degree of automation. Where some see Programmatic ABM as a separate approach, others see it being used with SABM or ABM Lite.

Now there’s a growing technology stack for account based marketers, with services ranging from predictive analytics to contact data, targeted advertising, ABM management and tracking.

Technology has its role but it can’t replace human graft and ingenuity. It’s works if you’re targeting a small business with a simple message but it won’t cut it with complex enterprises.

IP targeting falls short with reaching users on mobile devices – technology solutions that assume senior decision makers are desk-bound are outdated.

Asking the difference between SABM and ABM Lite is irrelevant. A SABM programme will often combine both.

For example, we’re working with a client to understand the opportunity in over 100 accounts so we’ll specify exactly where the SABM spend should go.

It’s both approaches working together – with Momentum 360 thrown in for good measure. These are mutually reinforcing techniques.

ABM aligns value-based messaging with both individual and clusters of accounts. It’s not strategic or Lite and it’s not about pro or anti-automation. It’s about understanding target account(s) and tailoring an approach to suit the need.