Why ABM and Inbound Marketing Go Hand-in-Hand

By Madison Taylor
February 17, 2023
Woven pattern

More than three-quarters of marketers are using an inbound marketing strategy, and we’re no exception. We’ve been an inbound marketing agency since day one. So is ABM a supplement to inbound or a replacement?

Your first instinct might be that ABM and inbound don’t really overlap. Inbound marketing is all about setting up marketing that’s designed to help your prospects as they do their research and work toward making a decision, slowly building expertise and nurturing leads over time. ABM, on the other hand, is about reaching out to clients who may not even be looking for your product. But ABM and inbound marketing strategies can mesh together well if applied properly. 

How ABM and Inbound Marketing Intersect

Here’s how ABM and Inbound Marketing intersect to create synergies within your marketing strategies:

Create Two Lead Funnels

A lot of B2B companies work on multiple tiers of business. You might have thousands of small clients and half a dozen huge ones, and there’s no rule that you have to acquire them all in the same way. With a purely inbound strategy, you might bring in a lot of small customers, but you’ll only snare one lead at a big company — and that big company has eight decision-makers that need to be on board before you’ll sign them. An inbound strategy isn’t targeted enough or personal enough to bring a big client into the fold, and an ABM strategy isn’t broad enough to generate enough lead volume among the smaller clients.

Your Funnels Can Complement Each Other

If you’re segmenting and targeting your inbound strategy properly, there’s a good chance that you’ll make contact with someone at one of your target companies. Let’s say you sell retail database software, and you’re trying to land a big chain company like Safeway.

With traditional inbound marketing, you’ll hopefully be able to get your materials in front of lots of people in the right industry, whether it’s through paid search, SEO optimization, or maybe LinkedIn ads. Let’s say you get lucky and catch the attention of John Smith, who oversees all Safeway operations in the Mountain West region.

That’s already a huge step. Making contact is one of the hard parts of an ABM strategy — finding the right people to talk to and figuring out how to get in touch with them is one of the biggest stumbling blocks. But John Smith isn’t the only guy in charge. You’ll need to convince the other regional supervisors, the C-suite execs, and maybe even the board that your product is the best.

If you already have an account-based marketing strategy in place, you’ll have the materials at hand as soon as you get a lead. As soon as you see John’s name, your CRM will flag him as a key person on one of your target accounts. You’ve already prepared whitepapers, emails, and even landing pages that are built just for Safeway execs, from the language to the imagery.

Since you built an ABM strategy ahead of time, you can jump in with your usual ABM strategies as soon as you get the opportunity. Even better: your inbound efforts might bring in a lead to a company that wasn’t even on your list, giving you an ABM target that you didn’t even know you wanted.

Your Content Works for Both

Inbound marketing relies entirely on content — you generate useful, relevant, informative content that helps nudge your visitors down the funnel toward making a purchase decision. And even though ABM uses a more outreach-based strategy, it still relies on content.

When you reach out to the target companies on your list to initiate an account-based marketing strategy, you’ll need content to make your pitch to those companies. After all, you have to convince the decision-makers at these companies that your product can solve their problems, make their lives easier, save them money, and whatever else you bring to the table. The same content that informs your ABM contacts can also be optimized to bring in search traffic to your website — serving multiple purposes with one piece of writing.

ABM and Inbound Marketing Can Level-Up Your Strategy

At first glance, it’s easy to think that there’s no overlap between ABM and inbound marketing. However, if you really think about it, ABM and inbound marketing actually complement each other rather well, depending on how they’re used. By leveraging their strategic areas of overlap, organizations can unlock synergies and level up their marketing strategies.