Mike Bandar
8 mins

How to Create an ABM Playbook for SMEs

If you work in sales or marketing, there is a good chance that you have heard of account-based marketing (ABM). As a result of its ability to produce high levels of ROI, it has gained popularity in the marketing industry. As a matter of fact, according to Marketing Profs, "companies with ABM (marketing and sales orchestration) generate 208% more revenue on average from their marketing activities." Account-based marketing involves focusing on a few accounts and targeting them with highly personalized communication.

An overview of the dynamics of ABM, as well as a definitive guide on how to create an ABM playbook successfully, will be presented in this article.

This write-up will cover:

  • What is ABM?
  • What is an ABM Playbook?
  • How to create an ABM Playbook?
  • Select target accounts and buyer personas 
  • Identify key stakeholders
  • Sales-Marketing alignment
  • Channels, Types, and Segments
  • Ensure the Addition of KPIs
  • Wrap up with Templates 

Let’s explore them one by one;

What is ABM?

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a customized approach to winning specific accounts. This is like fishing with a spear instead of a net. For ABM, you need a better focus, a bigger budget, a customized approach, and content tailored to the account's needs. While it takes more effort, there's also a better chance of getting what you want.

Across industries, audience segments and organizational departments of companies are increasingly using account-based marketing playbooks. For ABM to be successful, teams must coordinate a plan with tactics so that different members know when to play and how to deliver on the needs of different account stakeholders. Consequently, 82% of B2B marketers said ABM significantly improved sales-marketing alignment.

Your company probably wants to work with more big players, assuming you are not a monopoly. It may be mandatory for you to increase the funnel conversion rate or close sales faster and with higher annual recurring revenues. This can be accomplished through ABM. 

The ITSMA reports that 87% of B2B companies that engage in ABM report a higher return on investment than companies that engage in other types of marketing.

What is an ABM Playbook?

A collective effort across teams is required to achieve the above outcomes. Building relationships is what it's all about. In order to win the attention and business of a specific account, it’s imperative that you know as much as possible about the account. 

In addition, it is important to analyze your existing database (there are technology stacks that can assist, such as Salesforce and Engagio) and identify the accounts that will generate the most revenue, reduce churn, and increase upsells, as well as the types of customers who are more likely to convert. 

The ABM Marketing Playbook incorporates all of these points. Having a playbook in place allows your team to spend less time developing an understanding of who your accounts are and how to approach them effectively and spend more time implementing your plan.  

ABM Framework | How to Create an ABM Playbook

Unlike traditional sales funnels, ABM works differently. A general framework must be followed across different industries and types of businesses to ensure ABM's effectiveness. A framework for account-based marketing consists of these components.

Start with the Selection of Target Accounts & Buyer Personas

Who is your ideal customer? In ABM, you'll create buyer personas much as you do in an inbound strategy. This is referred to as your "ideal customer profile" (ICP). It describes the characteristics of accounts that you believe could be your best customers.

B2B and B2C are common in most financial institutions. This is where separation becomes crucial. A buyer persona is an ideal customer for B2C campaigns, while an ICP is an ideal small business customer for B2B campaigns.

Customer data is the first step in building your target list. We are talking about perceived and real pain points. Identify their needs, wants, and dislikes. Is there anything that makes some clients your best (and some your worst) clients?

Create two lists based on this data:

  • Prospective customers (who are similar to your current best customers)
  • Your existing customers you would like to extend your services to

Start with one simple list for your first ABM campaign. Once your team is comfortable with the concept, complexity can be added later. Once you have your target lists set up, you can refine them to your heart's content (including campaigns for specific services, geographic areas, etc.).

After doing this, it’s time to create your content. In other words, this is what your target audience sees: The goods.

Identify Key Stakeholders

Your marketing and sales teams must drive consensus among key stakeholders in any B2B deal. Finding out who has influence over final buying decisions is your first step. Take action with these committee members.

Consider the case of a business that sells marketing software and is identifying the decision-making roles within certain accounts. Among them are the CMO, digital marketing managers, CIO, and CFO.

It is important to look at individual contacts in the context of the whole account. Therefore, you need to link each member's concerns and needs to the company's strategic objectives in your account-based marketing playbook. You should engage stakeholders to drive consensus for purchase decisions.

Sales-Marketing Alignment

Determine how marketing and sales will engage contacts and drive interest within accounts. Make sure each communication/outreach is mapped to the appropriate channel and message. Now that each account has its own role, you need to align the efforts of all accounts to pitch customers effectively.

Three Ways to Align Them

Continuing with the above-discussed example of marketing software, at this stage, you’ll define how both departments will collaborate. 

By employing these three ways to assign your prospective accounts, you can create better working coordination.  

  • Developing a communication strategy is crucial to ensure each account is collaborating effectively with others.
  • Smooth communication requires complete transparency of actions and metrics.
  • Establish a service level agreement

Select Marketing-Based Channels, Types, and Segments

Physical events and sponsorships, website popups, remarketing, social media, personalized landing pages, pay-per-click, direct mail, email campaigns, and content syndication are all examples of tactics. 

Suppose you wanted clients to schedule a demo for your marketing software. You can do so by adding something like ”join a live demo” or “sign up for a free trial.” Experience marketing creates relationships, so include it whenever possible. Business-to-human tactics are also recommended.

Put in place KPIs to Measure Success

Set up a dashboard that includes key performance indicators, such as higher engagement with your customers, a higher win rate, a shorter sales cycle, and a larger deal size.


Your ABM program should always serve your buyers through the data you use. The result is not only "wow" moments for your target accounts but also increased ROI and cost efficiency.

Now, that you’ve aced the process of how to create an AMB playbook. Its implementation might appear complex to you, but don’t fret! Waybook's ABM playbook template allows you to customize your ABM strategy to meet your needs. Documentation can be directly created with the tool's user-friendly interface and structures. In other words, it's an all-in-one business process scaling tool. 

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