Account Based Marketing (ABM) Vs Traditional Lead Generation – Key Differences

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Published on: November 11, 2021 Updated on: June 03, 2024 views Icon 753 Views

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Sakshi Arora
Sakshi Arora LinkedIn

Assistant Manager- Content Marketing

Sakshi Arora is a seasoned content writer and marketer specializing in B2B topics such as marketing automation and website development. Leveraging her journalism background, she infuses her work with clarity and creativity, captivating audiences. Beyond her professional pursuits, Sakshi finds joy in writing about personal emotions, showcasing her introspective side and adding a unique touch to her portfolio.

Article Reviewed By: Rahul Saini LinkedIn

Table of Contents

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a marketing strategy that focuses more on high-value targets. This approach is driven by user data and delivers a more personalized approach to better capture them.

The strategy takes the preferences and attributes of the accounts to craft a specific approach towards them. With the help of ABM, you can make the maximum profit from the targeted accounts by cross-selling.

Unlike a focused approach, the spectrum of traditional lead generation is exponential, which helps in intriguing a broader audience. However, traditional marketing is extremely diverse, resulting in a lack of focus on the key leads.

Traditional lead generation creates maximum business opportunities for the long run, which can be accomplished through social media, email marketing, and other modern lead generation tactics. 

ABM vs Traditional Marketing

For those in the marketing world, the debate between account-based marketing (ABM) and traditional marketing is a hot topic. Both approaches have their merits, but understanding the differences can help you make an informed decision about which one is right for your business.

Traditional marketing casts a wide net, targeting a mass audience in the hopes of reaching as many potential customers as possible. It involves creating generalized marketing campaigns such as TV commercials, print ads, and billboards. Traditional marketing is all about getting your message out there and generating brand awareness. It can be effective in reaching a large audience, but it can also be costly and may not always produce the desired results.

On the other hand, ABM takes a more personalized approach. Instead of targeting a broad audience, ABM focuses on specific accounts or individuals within a company. It involves creating tailored campaigns that address the specific needs and pain points of these target accounts. ABM is all about building relationships and engaging with key decision-makers. It can be highly effective in driving sales and generating high-quality leads, but it requires a greater investment of time and resources.

Ultimately, the choice between ABM and traditional marketing depends on your business goals and resources. If you have a specific set of target accounts and want to create personalized experiences for each one, ABM might be the way to go. If you're looking to generate brand awareness and reach a wide audience, traditional marketing may be a better fit.

Regardless of which approach you choose, it's important to remember that marketing is not a one-size-fits-all solution. What works for one business may not work for another. It's essential to continually evaluate and adjust your marketing strategies to ensure they align with your business objectives and resonate with your target audience.

When it comes to marketing strategies, there's a lot of debate over which approach is the most effective: account-based marketing (ABM) or traditional marketing. Both methods have their merits and can yield positive results for your business, but it's important to understand the differences between the two and how they can impact your overall marketing efforts.

Traditional marketing, also known as mass marketing, focuses on targeting a wide audience through various channels like television, radio, and print advertisements. This approach is best suited for businesses with a broad target market and a high volume of potential customers. Traditional marketing aims to create brand awareness and reach as many people as possible in the hopes of converting them into customers.

On the other hand, ABM is a more strategic approach that focuses on targeting specific accounts or companies that align with your ideal customer profile. ABM requires a deeper level of research and personalization, as it aims to build strong relationships with key decision-makers within these target accounts. By understanding the unique challenges and goals of each account, ABM allows you to tailor your marketing efforts and provide a more personalized experience.

When it comes to choosing between ABM and traditional marketing, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer. It ultimately depends on your business goals, target audience, and available resources. Traditional marketing can be a cost-effective way to reach a large audience, but it may not be as effective in engaging with high-value accounts. ABM, on the other hand, can be more time and resource-intensive but can yield higher returns by focusing on quality over quantity.

To determine which approach is best for your business, consider factors such as your target market size, the level of personalization required, and your budget constraints. It may even be beneficial to combine elements of both ABM and traditional marketing to create a comprehensive strategy that reaches a wide audience while still nurturing key accounts.

Ultimately, the choice between ABM and traditional marketing is a matter of finding the right balance for your business objectives. By understanding the nuances of each approach and carefully assessing your own needs, you can make an informed decision that will drive success in your marketing efforts.

ABM Marketing: A Powerful Strategy for Targeted Growth

ABM marketing, also known as Account-Based Marketing, is a powerful strategy that has been gaining popularity in recent years. This approach focuses on targeting specific high-value accounts and tailoring marketing efforts to their specific needs and preferences. By placing emphasis on personalized communication and building strong relationships, ABM marketing has proven to be highly effective in driving growth and generating results.

The key to successful ABM marketing lies in understanding your target accounts in-depth. This involves conducting thorough research on their industry, pain points, and goals. By gaining a deep understanding of their unique challenges and aspirations, you can create highly personalized and relevant content that resonates with their needs.

The next step is to develop a comprehensive plan that outlines the specific tactics and channels you will utilize to engage with your target accounts. This may include a combination of direct mail, email marketing, social media campaigns, and personalized landing pages. The goal is to create a seamless and integrated experience that shows your commitment to understanding and supporting their business.

One of the main advantages of ABM marketing is its ability to nurture strong and lasting relationships. By focusing on a smaller number of high-value accounts, you can allocate more resources to building personalized connections with key decision-makers. This can involve regularly engaging with them through personalized content, inviting them to exclusive events or webinars, and providing tailored solutions to their challenges.

Another benefit of ABM marketing is its measurable impact on ROI. By targeting specific accounts and tailoring your efforts, you can see a direct correlation between your marketing activities and revenue generated. This allows you to allocate your resources more effectively and make data-driven decisions for future campaigns.

In conclusion, ABM marketing is a powerful strategy that can drive targeted growth for your business. By understanding your target accounts, developing personalized campaigns, and nurturing strong relationships, you can maximize your marketing efforts and see tangible results. If you are looking to take your marketing to the next level and stand out from the competition, ABM marketing is a strategy worth considering.

How Do ABM and Traditional Lead Generation Differ?

In the ABM approach, the marketing teams create a list of prospects and then proceed with campaigns to capture them. These teams follow a robust outbound strategy over an inbound strategy so that they can seamlessly reach the target leads. 

On the other hand, If you are looking for more targeted operations, then choosing ABM is a sound decision - as traditional lead generation is uncertain of generating more qualified leads as compared to ABM. Several companies work on a defined budget, and using a traditional approach for lead generation can take a huge toll on the company resources. Here’s how these approaches differ:

1. Lead Focus

The ABM and traditional lead generation strategies have a different takes on generating leads. 

ABM emphasizes more on high-value targets, while traditional lead generation works with a loosely targeted approach for a wide audience pool. This is the reason companies opt for ABM as more leads do not always convert. 

The goal of a business is to produce qualified leads, which is not always possible with traditional strategies. The high-value leads are followed up by personalized and relevant content throughout their buyer journey. 

ABM generates the best by using cross-selling and upselling strategies. Simply said, ABM pursues quality while traditional lead generation tactics prioritize quantity.

2. Clicks

When it comes to clicks, traditional lead generation tops the chart. Clicks and views are one of the important aspects that shows how far the net of traditional lead generation tactics reached.

On the other hand, ABM strategies cannot determine which click or view has high value.

3. Conversions

In the aspect of conversions, the number can go either way. ABM gets its job done by going after high-quality leads and they are likely to be converted based on the strength of the approach.

A traditional lead generation targets a broader pool, thus having the potency for a high conversion rate. Both ABM and traditional lead generation offer high conversion, so depending on the present marketing scenario, companies can choose either.

4. Relationship Between Marketing and Sales 

In account-based marketing, the marketing and sales teams are aligned with each other as these two departments go hand in hand for the ABM operations. These two departments work together to identify the target accounts and then create personalized campaigns to attract them.

However, traditional lead-based marketing has a disadvantage with its traditional corporate structure. As the marketing and sales sectors work separately, which makes it is hard to accomplish the processes. Even if the leads generated are moved down to the sales sector there is a lack of streamlined flow between these operations.

5. Scalability

Scalability is the forte of traditional lead generation strategies. As ABM requires more time and effort to target leads, it is known to be less scaler than traditional methods. 

Traditional lead generation is crafted for a wider audience. Therefore, traditional marketing is much easier and time-consuming to scale as it is not highly personalized.

6. Personalization

Attracting customers has become more difficult than ever. Thus, personalization helps in setting brands apart from their competition and catches the eye of target prospects. If we talk about personalization, it is complex with a wide pool of target leads, which is why it is possible in ABM strategy.

7. The Extremity of the Sale

Traditional lead-based marketing works to ensure maximum leads are generated. This only leads to smaller individual account deals. Collectively it can make a big margin, but if you seek major enterprise-level deals you require account-based marketing strategies.

With a targeted approach, you have higher chances to secure high-value deals. The high-priority accounts of existing customers are further expanded with the help of ABM. 

Read More: Focusing on Lead Nurturing for B2B Marketing Success

8. Distribution channels 

The distribution channels vary completely based on the approach you pursue. In traditional lead generation, marketers use organic channels like blogs, articles, social media posts, etc.

Account based marketing is the complete opposite, as its approach is much more direct and focused. The marketers make use of emails, direct mails, social and other direct interactions.

9. Customer Impression

The traditional lead generation does not take the fullest consideration as the strategies paved are generic and not targeted. They might only satisfy the customer within the buyer’s journey.

In ABM, a lot of investments are made for targeted personal interactions. This forms a good impression that results in satisfied customers and has them coming for future sales. This is a result of constant relevant content paired with personal interactions.

10. Customer Lifetime Value

Traditional lead generation is a great way to attract a larger audience. However, the large pool of audience can possibly result in unqualified leads. For most of them, it could be a temporary customer relationship that mostly lasts till the first purchase is completed. 

The targeted approach in account-based marketing aims in producing more qualified leads, which can result in increasing customer lifetime value. The operations with ABM are strategically focused to nurture customer relationships.

With the help of ABM, you can make the most out of your clients and build long-term relations with your end-users. The initial stages will require lots of investments but rest assured these resources can reward you in the long run.

11. Return on Investment (ROI)

Source: Investinganswers

Investments in traditional lead generation tactics are figuratively low. as they require little to no cost for a sustainable time. For example, social media posts, if done organically, this type of content will significantly increase brand awareness with no costs.

On the other hand, ABM needs a hefty investment to get up and running. It requires time, resources, and additional efforts. As it is a more targeted approach, thus it requires personalization, where a great deal of research and analysis is required for each client.

Best Lead Generation Strategies

Using the best lead-generation techniques can help you remain ahead of the curve in the quick-paced world of marketing. Modern strategies have become effective instruments for obtaining high-quality leads, even though classic strategies have their advantages. Let's look at some of the top lead creation techniques that can boost your marketing efforts:

Content Marketing

To attract and engage potential prospects, content marketing entails producing and disseminating useful, pertinent, and educational material. This may be done through blog posts, eBooks, whitepapers, webinars, videos, and other means. Businesses may attract new leads and position themselves as thought leaders in their field by offering their target audience useful insights and solutions.

Email Marketing

Using email campaigns to get in touch with potential customers, build connections, and move leads through the sales process. Email marketing enables targeted communication and enables the inclusion of newsletters, promotional offers, and educational information that is catered to the recipients' needs and interests.

Social Media Marketing

Use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram to interact with the target market. Businesses may promote brand recognition and increase traffic to their website or landing pages by sharing interesting content, running targeted advertisements, and interacting with potential prospects.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Improving website structure and content for increased search engine exposure. Businesses may attract organic traffic and create leads from customers who are actively searching for their products or services by focusing on relevant keywords, producing high-quality content, and improving meta tags.

PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Marketing

Launching sponsored advertising campaigns on social media sites or search engines to direct targeted visitors to certain landing pages. PPC advertising is a cost-effective way to generate leads since businesses may bid on keywords and only pay when a user clicks on their ad.

Events and Webinars 

To engage prospects as a thought leader, host webinars, and workshops, or take part in industry events. These occasions offer beneficial chances to present knowledge, make connections with possible prospects, and gather contact information for further nurturing.

Examples of Lead Generation Strategies

Lead generation strategies are vital components of any comprehensive marketing approach, enabling businesses to identify and engage potential customers. Here are a few examples of effective lead-generation strategies employed by organizations across various industries:

HubSpot's Free Tools

A number of free tools are available from HubSpot, a well-known provider of marketing software, including their Website Grader, Email Signature Generator, and Marketing Grader. By offering consumers value in exchange for their contact information, these technologies enable HubSpot to produce high-quality leads and nurture them through their sales funnel.

Dropbox's Referral Program

Through its referral program, Dropbox, a well-known cloud storage business, saw exponential growth. Dropbox offers extra storage space to both the referrer and the new user as an incentive for existing users to refer their friends and coworkers. With the aid of this referral scheme, Dropbox was able to sign up millions of new users, significantly increasing its signup rate.

Event Marketing

Events are a great way to network and acquire new leads. For instance, Salesforce's Dreamforce Conference exemplifies an effective lead generation strategy through event marketing. This annual conference attracts numerous industry professionals, providing valuable networking opportunities. 

Dreamforce offers unique content, product demonstrations, and engaging workshops to create leads, increase brand awareness, and generate quality prospects. By leveraging the power of in-person events, Salesforce effectively utilizes Dreamforce as a platform to connect with potential customers and drive business growth.

Microsoft's LinkedIn Ads

Businesses may target professionals based on their job titles, industries, and other demographic characteristics using Microsoft's LinkedIn advertising platform. Microsoft assists businesses in generating leads by contacting a highly focused audience of professionals interested in their goods or services through the creation of effective advertising campaigns and sponsored content.

Best ABM Strategies

Account Selection and Segmentation 

Identifying and choosing target accounts is a critical stage in ABM. This entails conducting extensive research and analysis on potential clients based on variables such as business size, industry, revenue, and compatibility with your product or service. You may prioritize resources and adapt your marketing efforts by segmenting your target accounts into multiple tiers or categories.

Personalized and Relevant Content 

To engage target accounts, ABM focuses on offering individualized and highly relevant material. This involves developing personalized messaging, landing pages, and industry-specific content to address the unique pain points and problems of each customer. Personalization aids in the establishment of credibility, the development of connections, and the demonstration of a thorough awareness of the demands of the account.

Multi-Channel Engagement

Successful ABM strategies engage target accounts across many channels and build touchpoints throughout the buyer's journey. Email campaigns, social media outreach, customised direct mail, targeted advertising, and event marketing are all possibilities. You boost your chances of attracting important decision-makers' attention and developing meaningful connections by reaching out to them across many channels.

Examples of ABM Strategies

IBM and their ABM Program

IBM, a multinational technology company, implemented an ABM program to target and engage key accounts. They utilized data-driven insights to identify accounts with the highest potential and tailored their messaging and content to address specific pain points and challenges faced by each account. 

IBM leveraged a mix of personalized email campaigns, account-specific landing pages, and targeted digital advertising to engage decision-makers within the target accounts. This approach resulted in increased engagement, improved conversion rates, and enhanced customer relationships.

Microsoft and their Strategic ABM Approach 

Microsoft, a global technology leader, adopted a strategic ABM approach to target enterprise-level accounts. They focused on building long-term relationships and delivering personalized experiences to key decision-makers within the target accounts. 

Microsoft utilized a combination of account-specific events, executive briefings, and customized content to engage and nurture their target accounts. Through their strategic ABM efforts, Microsoft has achieved significant business growth and deepened customer loyalty.

Cisco and Their ABM Playbook

Cisco, a multinational technology conglomerate, developed ABM playbooks to guide its account-based marketing efforts. These playbooks provided a systematic approach to identifying target accounts, segmenting them based on industry and buying stage, and developing personalized campaigns for each segment. 

Cisco leveraged a combination of personalized content, account-based advertising, and one-to-one outreach to engage decision-makers within their target accounts. By aligning their marketing and sales efforts through ABM playbooks, Cisco achieved improved pipeline velocity, higher deal sizes, and enhanced customer satisfaction.

So, Which Approach is Better? 

Now that you have a clear idea of what both approaches bring to the table, it will be easy for you to use them according to your marketing needs. The strategy that works in your favor is entirely dependent on your short-term or long-term objectives.

In the traditional method, you can create a wider net and capture most of the leads. This will give you a plethora of potential clients. The only drawback is that their value is dependent on the approaches and efforts made towards them.

Account based marketing can secure you the most valuable leads that you can come across. With a focused and personalized approach, you can pave the way for long-lasting customer relationships and make the most out of your current audience.

The biggest catch is that personalized marketing takes a great deal of time and effort. It is not an easy task to sit through and analyze every client’s behavioral patterns to provide a custom and personalized experience.

Account based marketing has a high ROI but is a bit time-consuming as compared to traditional lead generation.

We could say that the traditional lead generation is a shotgun that spreads to a wide area but in short range, whereas account-based marketing is a sniper rifle that can hit the target perfectly but in limited numbers.


Choosing the right strategies is a difficult decision to make but has to be made nonetheless. Be it account-based marketing or traditional lead generation, they have their rightful benefits. Simply put, the right tactic will not be the same for every organization.

Your success depends on how you use the tactics to your advantage. If you are still in a dilemma which one to choose, contact our experts at Growth Natives for more detailed answers.


Traditional lead generation involves identifying potential customers (leads) through various marketing activities such as content marketing, email campaigns, social media outreach, and more, with the goal of nurturing these leads through the sales funnel.

Companies may choose ABM because it allows for more effective targeting of high-value accounts, higher conversion rates due to personalized approaches, better alignment between sales and marketing teams, and a more efficient use of marketing resources.

Traditional lead generation benefits include the ability to reach a wide audience, the scalability of lead acquisition efforts, the generation of a large volume of leads, and the opportunity to nurture leads through various stages of the buyer’s journey.

ABM and traditional lead generation can complement each other by using traditional lead generation to create initial awareness and interest among a broad audience, and then employing ABM techniques to nurture and convert high-potential leads into key accounts.

ABM tools include account targeting platforms, personalized content creation tools, and account engagement analytics. Traditional lead generation tools include email marketing platforms, lead capture forms, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and marketing automation software.

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