account based marketing vs inbound marketing

Account-Based Marketing VS Inbound Marketing? No, It’s AND

Most healthcare IT firms have either implemented or are considering ABM (more on this later this month). But many hesitate to get started. One of the obstacles is the tradeoff between Inbound marketing and ABM. This post shows that it’s not about account-based marketing vs inbound marketing but how inbound & ABM work together.

They go together like mac n’ cheese.

Both are good on their own, but together, they are amazing.

But first…

Defining Account-Based Marketing vs Inbound Marketing

Ask a hundred marketers to define Inbound marketing or ABM, and you get 100 variations.

Here’s my take on both.

A Simple Definition of ABM

There are too many definitions of ABM. To make matters worse, there are variations like ABX, ABE, and ABGTM. It’s all become ABC, Account-based Confusing!

In my view, ABM is about three things:

  1. Figuring out which accounts are in-market right now
  2. Persuading the buying group at these accounts to make you the first vendor they call
  3. Mobilizing them to close the deal

This is based on several insights:

  • The 95:5 rule
  • 6Sense’s recent survey that indicated that 84% of buyers select the vendor they call because their mind is made up
  • Why deals stall, as covered in the Jolt Effect

4-Corner Inbound

I have been doing inbound marketing for eighteen years, and for much of that time, I didn’t realize it.

For several years, I ran a successful blog on sailing, where I published 2-3 articles weekly on one of my greatest passions. This reached over 15,000 unique visitors per week, mostly driven by high search rankings for a handful of topics.

Several years later, when I read Marcus Sheridan’s They Ask You Answer, I realized that I had been doing Inbound marketing unwittingly.

When I started Health Launchpad, I committed to building the business using an inbound marketing engine combining:

  1. Educational content on a handful of pillars (ABM, healthtech marketing)
  2. An intentional SEO strategy
  3. A consistent and disciplined social media and email strategy to amplify this
  4. Partnerships that extend the reach

We call this 4-Corner Inbound, and it has worked like crazy for Health Launchpad.

inbound marketing model

Inbound vs ABM Differences

Before I review why they go so well together, there are some key differences to consider:

  • Foundation vs Uplift – An inbound strategy should be the foundation of a B2B marketing infrastructure. I believe getting your inbound program right and learning how to optimize it is job #1. ABM layers on top of this as a better way to prospect more proactively. ABM will take you longer to perfect.
  • Quantity vs Quality – By design, inbound marketing is well-suited to capturing and converting buyers into leads at different funnel stages. This can generate a high quantity of leads. With ABM, you identify who is in-market, warming them but not converting them into leads until they are good and ready. This results in fewer but better-quality leads.
  • Trap vs Rifle – Inbound is akin to laying traps to catch buyers starting their journey. It is a more passive approach. ABM is more like hunting with a rifle. You actively look for the prey and target them precisely.
  • Independent vs Collaborative – ABM requires collaboration with sales and often customer success. It fails without it. Inbound can be done successfully by marketing with limited input from sales and other departments.

Why Inbound Marketing and ABM Are Complementary

Everything that goes into 4-Corner inbound marketing will make ABM easier to execute and potentially more effective:

  1. Content – This is the fuel that powers your ABM campaign. Having a deep content library built for inbound marketing is the best place to start as you can focus your efforts on personalizing the content for targets rather than creating new content.
  2. SEO – Knowing that an account is searching for answers to a problem you can solve is one of the best signals that someone is in-market. If you have well-optimized pages, it will be more likely that in-market prospects will find them. Some of the more advanced ABM platforms include the ability to determine who is searching for key terms.
  3. Social Media – One of the tactics used at the conversion stage is to engage with prospects through LinkedIn. It helps to have connections with people within the in-market organizations and have a profile that buyers are more likely to trust and connect with.
  4. Partners –  One of the most underutilized and powerful strategies is partnership marketing. If you can identify who is in-market, you may find it more compelling to approach the buyers with a partner, especially if they already have a relationship with them.

The ABM Masterclass

Health Launchpad is excited to offer an exclusive two-part master class designed to help you get moving and accelerate your ABM journey.

Inbound AND ABM Not Inbound VS ABM

According to recent research, ABM practitioners spend around 25% of their budget on ABM.

It takes a while for ABM to work, and most firms adopting ABM start with a small pilot. In year 1, ABM may account for less than 5% of the marketing budget.  As practitioners start to scale ABM In years 2 and 3, their energy is spent largely on process and operations, especially changing how sales and marketing work together.

As they shift the budget, it will most likely come from tactics that have not worked, such as mass content syndication, cold emailing and prospecting, and other paid activities.  ABM is not stealing from inbound for the reasons outlined above.

The net result is that the magic marketing formula is not a tradeoff between Inbound vs. ABM but a better model of Inbound marketing underpinning and boosting the effectiveness of ABM and ABM, justifying the resources needed to create great inbound marketing.

And One Last Point

Every piece of research and marketer we speak to confirms that Buyers are harder to reach. They will call you when they are good and ready. And not before.

Inbound will ensure that they find you when they are looking. ABM helps you find them before they know you exist.

Do You Need Help

  1. Check out more the ABMLaunchpad. This is a resource center focused exclusively on ABM for healthcare. It includes online learning, articles, podcasts and much more.

  2. Learn about ABM Acceleration: This our proprietary and battle-tested approach to ABM

  3. Buy Total Customer Growth: Our book on how to win and grow customers for life with ABM and ABX.

  4. Download tools and templates: You can download tons of tools and templates to help you with your pilot. This registration page is to get the assets referred to in the book.
  5. Work with me directly. Let’s book a growth session and we can explore ways to get started with ABM.

Posted by Adam Turinas
Posted in ABM Strategy Blogs on June 10, 2024

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About the Author Adam Turinas

Hi, I am Adam Turinas, Health Launchpad's founder. I am passionate about helping healthtech firms succeed through better sales and marketing. I have hard-earned experience in healthcare technolgy as I started two healthcare businesses in the US, the first with zero healthcare experience. We sold the second business to a strategic buyer seven years later. Over 9 years building a healhtech businesses, I have learned how to sell and market effectively to healthcare organizations. Prior to this, I spent two decades in digital marketing across healthcare and other consumer industries where I sold over $100 million in products and services to corporations and healthcare orgs. I would love to talk with you. You can book a call with me on the right hand side. Best Adam (This is page 0 of many)Enter your text here...