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ABM and Buyer Personas: How they Intersect

May 17, 2018

By Hannah Vergara

Did you know that only 0.75 percent of B2B leads generated from traditional marketing generate revenue?

A reason for this could be that traditional marketing tactics don’t take the time to identify who their audience really is. Generalizing prospects is not enough in the digital era. Customers now expect personalized marketing. If you don’t know who your customers are, then you most likely don’t know who your ideal lead or buyer persona is, and you won’t be able to tailor your messaging to meet their specific needs.

If you’re a B2B company, you’ve probably heard the buzz around account-based marketing (ABM). This tactic is a major shift from traditional marketing because the focus is on ongoing nurturing for a specific set of accounts that sales is working.

ABM is essential to the buyer's journey because the buyer’s journey helps the marketing team identify where accounts are in the buying cycle and what content is appropriate to use at each stage. It’s time to hop on the bandwagon and invest in a strategic ABM approach. Doing your research and creating buyer personas will allow you to personalize your content and hopefully start seeing a six times higher transaction rate than generalized content.

To help you beat your competitors, let’s overview ABM and buyer personas and how they intersect.

What Is Account-Based Marketing?

ABM is becoming a standard among companies, as many are finding that customers and prospects are better served by this approach. In fact, according to a survey from Alterra Group, 97 percent of marketers said that ABM resulted in a higher return on investment (ROI) than other marketing activities. So what exactly is ABM?

ABM is a B2B strategy that focuses on both sales and marketing. For example, rather than a broad-reaching marketing campaign that touches a large pool of prospects, ABM focuses on an individual account within a specific market. The primary goal is to identify specific prospects at an organization and customize sales programs and marketing materials to meet the needs of the prospect at that company.

What Are Buyer Personas?

Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customer profile. A buyer persona is more than a description of your buyer; it tells you what customers are thinking when considering their problems that your product or service resolves. By aligning your marketing messaging with each persona, buyer personas should help you attract similar buyers.

It’s common for a business to have multiple buyer personas, and it’s important that your entire organization understands these personas, because they are key to content creation, product development, sales, and anything related to driving and retaining customers.

Watch this on-demand SmartTake webinar to learn how HubSpot’s new out of the  box features can help you execute an account-based marketing strategy.

How They Intersect

ABM and buyer personas are a perfect match because they help marketers understand who the people are within an account so that they can cater their messaging to provide those leads with high-quality content, specific to each stage of the buyer’s journey. ABM and buyer personas help marketers understand more than just a company name and titles—they allow them to work hand in hand with sales to develop persona-based journey maps.

With this method, buyers for each account become the centerpiece of ABM, providing marketing with a better ability to support the sales process. Overall, ABM helps build better relationships with target accounts. In this day and age, people don’t want to be sold to. ABM doesn’t push products or services onto a prospect, but provides education and value.

HubSpot Academy "Prof Tip"

Kyle Jepson"As you develop the buyer personas for your ABM campaign, keep in mind that your ultimate goal is to assemble a buying committee. That means you not only need to know each persons goals, challenges, responsibilities, etc. but you also need to understand how they relate to each other. You need to know who reports to who, whose goals are aligned, and, maybe most important of all, whose goals are at odds with each other. If you can come in with a solution that harmonizes areas that are usually filled with tension, you'll be a hero. But you can only position your product in that way if you have a deep understanding of everyone's roles. Buyer persona research is key to getting there."

- Kyle Jepson, Senior Inbound Sales Professor


Marketing that Makes Sense

Buyer personas are essential for effective ABM because they help marketing content address individual buyer perspectives during each stage of the buyer’s journey. They also allow marketers to better understand a buyer’s goals, interests, and perspectives.

In order for ABM to be successful, both marketing and sales need to align with a target audience and understand how that audience buys. Building a buyer’s journey map is key to making this happen. By refocusing efforts on accounts and collaborating with sales, ABM and buyer personas are sure to help you reach a new level of interactions with leads and ultimately close more deals.

Photo by Denys Nevozhai from Unsplash


Deliver valuable, relevant content and nurture targeted relationships with ABM:

Building Relationships Through ABM and Inbound to Drive Better Sales

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Buyer Personas, ABM