Lead Generation vs ABM: Which Approach is Best for My Business?

Shannon Correia October 10, 2021

So, you know all about the importance of leads, from generation to conversion. But is this the best strategy for your business? The alternative approach of account-based marketing (ABM) gained traction in marketing circles a couple of years ago, helping businesses to develop a more targeted strategy of audience interaction. Which one will deliver optimal results for your business? Let’s find out. 

The Lead Generation Strategy 

Lead generation is a broad-based approach to attracting and gaining leads or contacts for your business. There are a number of ways to do this, from website sign-ups to social media contacts. The value of leads is in expanding your reach among your targeted audience. When you generate leads, you grow your potential customer base and gain valuable information that pertains to them. This helps in better understanding your target audience in order to drive more sales. Businesses gather this information, then segment markets with the goal of helping each segment move along the sales funnel. 

Businesses set up lead-generating forms via their various platforms and touchpoints to facilitate the natural progression for these potential consumers. The first step is therefore to attract audiences and inspire them to become a lead, before moving on to becoming a qualified lead. Qualified leads refer to leads that have been assessed and noted for having an active interest in moving along to the next stage of the consumer journey. 

The process of lead generation is generally as follows:

Marketing techniques (like SEO) and campaigns (like paid social media campaigns) attract targeted audiences. The visitor engages with the content and is inspired to follow the call-to-action (CTA). Compelling CTAs are key to attaining lead conversions. Finally, the information is captured and the consumer journey moves along according to a workflow that is geared towards closing a deal or making a sale. It is during this stage that the lead is nurtured through various strategies with the ultimate goal of creating a long-lasting customer relationship.  

Based on this, it is clear that lead generation is vital for modern-day sales. There are various ways to carry out the steps above, though the attraction and attention of the right audience are required to set this approach in motion. 

Lead generation works for all businesses and is especially great for larger companies, B2C businesses, and new market entrants. Since it requires several steps and broader marketing, it may require a higher marketing budget. Hence if you’re looking for a more targeted approach, ABM might be the better approach for you. 

The Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Approach

ABM is often used in B2B marketing, though it can be applied by all kinds of businesses. With this strategy, you focus your resources and efforts towards a set of pre-identified key accounts or clients. Naturally, this requires you to have a set of qualified leads or historical customers. It is therefore also an option for high-end or exclusive audiences who require specialized attention (which is why ABM works for schools).  

Established businesses opt for this approach since it allows them to focus on retaining their customer base without having to do extensive marketing to be successful. With this, you can provide highly specialized and personalized customer service. Lead nurturing is about creating a bond between a business and customer, but ABM takes that a step further, with individual attention that goes beyond personalized messaging. Businesses using this approach put a significant amount of time into engagement with customers and accounts.

This means the sales and marketing teams are not only aligned but working together to keep conversions in motion. This may require focusing more on renewals, repurchases, upselling, and cross-selling to increase sales, as opposed to closing deals as one would with lead generation strategies. It means the pipeline or position in the sales funnel is shortened, and with acute attention, you can grow your business quality accounts (as opposed to a higher quantity of accounts). 

For ABM to be successful, you need to manage your accounts or customers and engage with them regularly and personally. The process consists of regular engagement in various ways, such as events and communication that is highly personalized. Sales are longer-term with ongoing facilitation and more interactions. Content is also more customized and reporting is in-depth.

Lead Generation vs ABM: The Verdict 

The above shows how both of these marketing strategies can be highly beneficial to businesses. For most businesses, focusing on lead generation is best. For those who require more focus and long-term repeat business, ABM is the way to go. It comes down to whether your business needs lead generation and if it is working for you. Your business would need to have qualified leads to work with. 

Both of these approaches are best rolled out when there is technology in place to support them. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are ideal for this since they can help you to filter your audiences and put workflows and communication triggers in place. These systems also hold a wealth of information about your leads which can provide invaluable insights. 

CRMs also make the work of marketers easier and more cohesive, since you can segment your audience, automate communication with cross-channel support, improve internal collaborations, and capitalize on predictive technology. 

Lead Generation vs ABM

Is Lead Generation or AMB Better for Your Business?

If you know which approach is best for your business or need help figuring it out, Nexa is here to help. We have specialists in lead generation and ABM to help your business grow optimally, ultimately increasing sales and attain success in the long term. Book a meeting with us to find out more.

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