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Why Top Cybersec Marketers Are Turning to ABM

It’s a huge task to compete against ~ 3,500 other companies on a daily basis–but that’s precisely what’s happening in the cybersec space. It almost doesn’t matter how many grand campaigns you’re planning, the competition for attention is immense and only those vendors who dare to stand out get noticed. This is exactly why your lead gen strategies might be failing to deliver the goods.

The second reason is that generic campaigns which tend to provide one hook and one offering for a wide audience aka, spraying and praying for leads, does not work anymore. Your audience is blind to these campaigns.

Luckily, ABM campaigns can make reaching opportunities somewhat easier for marketing teams.

Back to Basics: What cybersecurity marketers need to know about ABM 

Quick revamp: What’s all that ABM about?! 

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a focused B2B strategy where businesses use personalized outreach and messages to target specific accounts from their Ideal Customer Profile. Instead of casting a wide net, ABM targets high-value prospects with tailored communication. This method aligns sales and marketing efforts across different departments for a more precise and effective approach.

Which companies benefit most from ABM? Those with sales cycles longer than 6 months, targeting niche industries like finance, healthcare, or eCommerce, and those selling to very large accounts—think Fortune 500. It's also perfect for teams that need better alignment between their marketing and sales departments–and we know they all do 😉

In all fairness, this is what B2B marketers have been (or should have been) doing for years, and what you’ll surely want to do if working in cybersecurity.

How is ABM different from Lead Generation?

Completely different! To put things simply, while lead generation is all about, well, generating leads, so focusing on quantity rather than quality, ABM reverses that focus, aiming to strengthen the relationship with highly targeted accounts.

Lead generation is like fishing with a wide net,  ABM is more like fancy spearfishing—targeted, precise, and highly effective. See the main differences between the two strategies below:

Lead Generation Account Based Marketing
Target: Buyer Personas Target: Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
Target Market / Vertical Target Account List (specific companies)
Lead Score Account Engagement Score
MQLs Marketing Qualified Accounts
Attribution to source of lead Split attribution between touch points
Sales Pipeline "Target Accounts" Pipeline
Measure New Leads Measure Engagement from Target Accounts

Why ABM is a game changer for cybersecurity

ABM is the way to go if your competition is high while there aren't THAT many opportunities on the market. Sounds almost too familiar, eh?

And Account Based Marketing works especially well for cybersecurity for two reasons:

  • Targeted marketing: that’s honestly all ABM is about. Gone are the days of ‘spray and pray’ marketing efforts where so much time was spent on hoping without being able to estimate the results. Cybersecurity companies deal with complex, high-stakes challenges that require precision and expertise. A targeted approach, like ABM, ensures that the right message, tailored to address specific pain points and solutions, reaches the right decision-makers at the right time, increasing the likelihood of engagement and conversion.
  • Efficient resource utilization: by focusing on high-value accounts, companies can allocate resources more efficiently, ensuring maximum impact. This, in turn, allows for deeper research and personalized outreach, enhancing the effectiveness of marketing efforts and fostering stronger relationships with key clients.

Implementing ABM for cybersecurity

Success in ABM hinges on careful planning, execution, and continuous optimization. In this section, we’ll guide you through the steps to integrate ABM into your marketing efforts, ensuring you connect with high-value accounts and achieve measurable results.

Marketing, Sales & C-level alignment

The most common reason why ABM can fail is lack of team alignment. ABM demands a high degree of alignment across marketing, sales, and C-level executives to be effective. This alignment ensures that all teams are working towards the same goals and leveraging the same insights–that’s why agreeing on your UCP for the campaign and the pain points you’ll be covering should be the first step of your work together as a team..

 

Regular communication and collaboration are key—hold strategy sessions, share progress reports, and celebrate wins together. When marketing and sales teams are synchronized, and have the backing of executive leadership, you know you can work cohesively to nurture high-value accounts and drive significant business growth.

Leveraging data with powerful ABM tech stack

In ABM, intent data will be your main source of insights into the behaviors and interests of your target accounts, or accounts already interested in your cybersec offer. It’ll help determine which accounts are actively looking for cybersecurity solutions and are more likely to engage, showing you their intentions even on a specific product/service level.

Additionally, you’ll need a data mining tool to keep expanding your target accounts list. Tools like ZoomInfo provide you with detailed company profiles, contact information for key decision-makers, insights from their industry, current market trends, prospecting, and sales data.

It’s not a must-have to run a successful ABM campaign, you can still search for those details yourself, but we all know we don’t have enough time for this, who does anyway?

Identifying ICP

The foundation of any successful ABM strategy starts with identifying your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). For folks in cybersecurity, this will most likely mean targeting companies that have a critical need for robust security solutions (who doesn’t 😉) and selecting specific industries eg finance, healthcare, pharma, government etc.

Defining your ICP involves creating a detailed profile that includes industry, company size, revenue, geographic location, and specific security challenges they face. By honing in on these attributes, you’ll ensure your marketing efforts are directed toward accounts with the highest potential for conversion and long-term value.

You need to also define the persona you are targeting. While there's a tendency to target the CISO, s/he are also the least likely to engage and most expensive. So, consider other roles on the security team.

Setting KPIs & measurement

Your ABM KPIs for cybersecurity need to be clear, measurable and realistic objectives that align with your overall business goals (that’s why we recommend engaging C-level executives in this activity too). It’s crucial to regularly monitor and analyze these metrics to understand what’s working and where adjustments are needed. That way you can be sure that your resources are being utilized effectively. We’re talking about what needs to be measured below 👇

Content audit & funnel

Gone are the days when single channel & single asset were enough to attract valuable, high intent leads. Instead, you need high-quality content that brings your prospects real value, something that isn’t obvious and something they can use themselves–and these things will differ depending on which stage of the funnel your prospects are at and what pain points they’re dealing with. Think whitepapers, case studies, blog posts, webinars, even podcasts that address specific pain points and showcase your expertise. We wanna put a huge weight on that last word, especially nowadays when we’re dealing with so much (crappy) AI-generated ToF content.

Another thing you can’t ignore if you’re aiming to achieve high results with your ABM motions is personalization. Ensure that each piece is tailored to meet the needs of your targeted accounts. Needless to say, personalization goes so much deeper than simply addressing the recipient by name; it's all about deeply understanding and catering to their specific needs and pain points. Think personalized outreach, targeted messaging or even account-specific landing pages. 

Plus, there are different ABM tools on the market today that’ll read details from your database and automatically personalize your content for you, Demandbase being just one of them. Synchronized with your ABM, they can really do wonders. The power of AI, they call it.

We’ve written more about these and other steps in this ABM for Cybersecurity ebook. Worry not, gated content is 👎, so this is free for you to explore and implement as you like. Enjoy!

Essential ABM KPIs for cybersecurity marketers

Like we said above, you need to understand your campaign objectives and build the entire plan around them, along with establishing estimations to support it with. Your next step will be to get the channels to work together in order to move the leads along in the funnel.

To gauge the success of your ABM efforts, monitor these key performance indicators (KPIs):

  • Account engagement level: Track interactions and engagement from targeted accounts. This includes monitoring website visits, content downloads, email open rates, and social media interactions, providing a comprehensive view of how engaged your target accounts are.
  • Deal acceleration rates: Measure how quickly deals move through the pipeline. Faster deal progression indicates effective targeting and messaging, which can help in forecasting revenue and adjusting sales strategies.
  • ROI: Compare the return on investment for ABM against traditional lead generation methods. Assess the financial gains relative to the investment in ABM campaigns to ensure you're allocating resources effectively and achieving better outcomes.

One thing to mention here, the further down the funnel you go, the different ABM KPIs you want to look at. Engagement will be more relevant at the beginning of the campaign, but as you progress closer to the bottom of the funnel, switch your focus towards sales KPIs, meaning sales cycle and revenue generated. Yet another thing why sales<>marketing alignment is so crucial for ABM.

Here’s a very simplistic ABM strategy sample for cybersecurity companies

ABM Strategy Sample for Cybersecurity

This is obviously not an exhaustive example, but a great way to get a bigger picture of your ABM motion–it’s also a great way to remember nothing is ever linear with ABM.

Building target accounts list

You start by creating a detailed target accounts list, which can also be populated by high-value accounts identified through website traffic analysis. Utilize tools like Leadfeeder that provide insights into which companies are visiting your website, the pages they are viewing, and the duration of their visits. This data will help you prioritize accounts showing strong intent signals and tailor your strategy accordingly.

Targeting through LinkedIn or Google Ads

Deploy targeted advertising campaigns on LinkedIn and Google Ads to reach decision-makers within your target accounts. These platforms allow for precise targeting based on job title, company size, and industry, ensuring your ads are seen by the right individuals. And of course, don’t forget to personalize your ad content to address the specific needs and pain points of these accounts, offering them valuable insights and solutions.

Nurturing leads with more content and/or engaging SDRs

Someone new interacts with your content? That’s great–now offer more. Create whitepapers, eBooks, and case studies that offer in-depth knowledge on pressing cybersecurity issues. Have them download the pieces or book a demo with your company, anything that’ll allow you to move the leads to the next step…

…which is where your sales team comes in. Regular follow-up emails, calls, and tailored content sharing will help in converting engaged prospects into loyal customers. And the shorter it takes to convert, the better.

 

All industries struggle with competition right now, but having worked with cybersecurity companies for the past 10 years, we feel confident when we say it doesn’t get more competitive as it does in cybersecurity. And taking this into consideration, ABM is the tool that can set your organization apart. By targeting high-value accounts with personalized, strategic marketing efforts, you can build stronger relationships, drive engagement, and ultimately, close more deals.

And if you ever feel like you might need some help executing all that, that’s what we're here for. Feel free to schedule a chat and we’ll get the ABM ball rolling for ya.

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