Thinking of starting an ABM campaign? Here is a guide to some of the tools dedicated to ABM that you’re going to need to consider. Although there is a huge list of technology to deploy, it’s important to recognise that the best campaigns are the ones that have the right thought put into them, not necessarily the ones that deploy the most (or the most expensive) tools.


LinkedIn is so powerful (and free) that we’re giving it a section of its own. Firstly, it’s the largest easily accessible database of prospects you’re going to be able to get your hands one. Secondly the platform lets you target by workplace demographics. LinkedIn will even do the work for you in terms of generating leads, with its lead generation forms.

Many ABM campaigns entirely, or mostly, rely on LinkedIn. This isn’t a bad thing, and if you have limited budget and time, it’s often the best place to invest your hard-earned marketing budget. There are, however, many other platforms that address some of the limitations of LinkedIn.

Company Identification

Often organisations will realise that they don’t know which companies are the best targets for them. Yes, despite the vast salaries and fancy cars given to the sales team, there’s no understanding of who to target.

In this case there are several ABM tools that can help. Typically, the process involves profiling your current customers to identify the firmographic information that defines them (e.g. industry, number of employees, annual sales, etc) to create an ideal company profile. The tools then produce lists that match your criteria.

These tools are closely related to the contact identification and data enrichment tools, and include such well-known names as Terminus and DiscoverOrg.

Contact Identification/Data Enrichment

Good ABM campaigns target specific people within specific companies. At some point, you’re going to want to know who these people are, and what their contact details are, if you’re going to reach them. Although your CRM and marketing databases should be the first stop, you’re probably going to find they’re not enough. So, you need to find more contacts.

The most straightforward systems will provide data on LinkedIn profiles. You simply go to the contact on LinkedIn, request the data and the system (usually) creates a record with the person’s contact information, including email address. Examples of these systems include dedicated contact data platforms such as Datanyze, LeadIQ and DiscoverOrg, as well as platforms with broader capabilities such as Terminus and 6sense.

Other systems will allow you to search for contacts in their database. A good example of this would be Salesforce’s Lightning Data Solutions (which has been developed from a service called but is now only available to Salesforce customers.

Finally, there are systems that will take your existing database and enrich it. Typically, this is by adding more information about your current contacts, but there are also systems that will add other contacts from the same organisation. Most of the data solutions mentioned in this blog will offer this capability, and it’s worth adding companies like Demand Matrix to the list too.

We’re often asked the question about GDPR compliance. Although we’re not lawyers, and so can’t give legal advice, we can read the regulations. GDPR makes it pretty clear that harvesting contact information is not, in itself, illegal. You do need to make sure that you do a couple of things to remain complaint. Firstly, your privacy policy should make it clear that you do enrich and harvest data: a key part of GDPR is transparency and so you must make it clear what you are doing to the data subjects. You’ll also need to make it clear you use legitimate interest rather than opt-in to determine whether you process personal data, and therefore send marketing information.

It’s the fact you’re using legitimate interest that makes it essential that you use your brain when deciding what data to gather. Simply gathering contact information is not legal: you need to have a legitimate business reason to want to contact a particular person. If you’re selling parts for industrial automation systems, for example, it’s clear that you have a legitimate interest in gathering data on maintenance managers in the industries you serve. Start gathering the names of designers in the fashion industry [or more likely just gathering contact details for anyone in your target companies] and you’ll have a really tough job convincing the authorities that this is “legitimate interest”.

Intent Identification Tools

Intent data just feels like such a good opportunity to find the companies most likely to buy, but often ends in disappointment for our clients. Although there are times when intent data works, the more technical the product, it seems the less effective the tools can be. It’s likely that this is because companies offering mission-critical technology or innovations that drive competitive advantage, then it’s less likely that relevant topics will be discussed openly on social media. Having said this, some intent data can be useful, even for the most innovative technology: for example, we find job posts to be particularly useful in providing an indication of the future direction of a target company’s technology strategy. Many companies exist to identify intent data, including some well-known ABM specialist suppliers such as Bombora and Cyance.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation tools really come into their own when you are running an ABM campaign. Want to create landing pages for specific companies? Marketing automation. Want to customise emails to your ideal target customers? Marketing automation. Need special automation flows for the accounts you target? I’m sure you have got the idea now!

Interestingly marketing automation platforms typically don’t have any dedicated ABM functionality. This means you’re going to have to build the content and automations you want to drive the campaign. But as I said earlier, ABM is all about creating great campaigns rather than pushing the “super-auto” button on a magic tool.

Marketo is probably the most popular marketing automation platform for ABM, but if you use Pardot, HubSpot, SharpSpring or any other decent tool it will have the capabilities you need to run your campaign.

Website Customisation

Closely related to marketing automation is website customisation. In fact, the more advanced marketing automation platforms all offer some form of website customisation.

If you’re looking to create a bespoke, personalised campaign for your most important targets, then you should be thinking about how that extends to your website. There’s no point in creating wonderful, customised emails and then sending these valuable prospects to an impersonal, generic website.

It is possible to do some customisation without tools, but you’ll quickly realise that more than a handful of target companies stops any manual approach from scaling. Some of the website tools that offer the most powerful customisation include large integrated tools such as Demandbase, as well as specialised tools such as PathFactory and Uberflip.

We’d also include email footer customisation tools in this category: putting account-specific messages in your emails can be very effective. You might want to look at vendors such as Exclaimer and Opensense, and the larger integrated products are also adding this capability (e.g. Terminus acquired SigStr recently).


You’re probably going to be spending a lot of money routing prospects in your target accounts to your website, so you should take advantage of this to deliver advertising at much lower cost.

CRM retargeting is a great way of delivering cheap adverts to an audience you specify by email (or sometimes phone number, although less often in B2B). You can run CRM retargeting platforms on social media or using Google or other advertising platforms. One challenge with CRM retargeting is that you will almost certainly have the business email addresses for your targets, whereas it’s often easier to match personal email addresses. This is particularly true on social media: most people use a personal, rather than a work email address for their Facebook accounts.

Another challenge is the requirement for a particular number of matched email addresses. This varies, with Facebook and Google display ads requiring an audience size of just 100, whereas Google search requires 1000 matched members. This can prevent you from creating separate personalised campaigns for each of your target accounts, although we’ve often seen the marketing team’s emails used to bolster the size of a list to trigger CRM retargeting campaigns.

Retargeting based on website visits is another good approach that shouldn’t be forgotten – you often have lots of information about who constitutes a particular audience, especially if you are directing different companies to different landing pages. Again, audience size can be an issue, so think carefully about how you can build sufficiently large audiences.

While we’re talking about audiences, one thing to mention is that you should not be using Google’s pre-defined audiences to target advertising. I’ve yet to find a B2B campaign that makes good use of them. I strongly believe that Google audiences are for narrowing down other audiences, rather than for use in their own right, but that’s probably something for another blog post.

Digital Ad Design Tools

At some point you’ll realise that you need to generate some ads. If you want to personalise the ads – and you should do because you’re running an ABM campaign – then you will need A LOT of ads.

Some platforms will generate customised adverts for you – the LinkedIn capabilities are relatively simple, but can be very powerful. However large ABM campaigns will require advertising creative that can be deployed on multiple platforms, and these is where tools that allow creation of customised versions of adverts come into their own. Some of the platforms that will automatically create different size versions of ads include Creatopy and Bannerflow.

Programmatic Advertising

I’ve written a blog post on ABM, and not yet mentioned the programmatic platforms that target specific companies by IP address. Despite the hype around these platforms, they often produce disappointing results.

How can this be? Surely the ability to target adverts to specific companies is the Holy Grail of ABM? In practice it’s not quite that simple: if you are targeting an audience that represents a large proportion of a company’s employees, you’ll probably find great results. If, however, you want to target a very specific small audience within a company then you’re likely to struggle: the ads are delivered on the basis of IP, so typically you’ll see a large number of clicks that bounce off your website very quickly. Even targeting the ads to particular types of media doesn’t completely fix the problem. In this case you can still get good results, but have to accept a large amount of wastage: this might be fine for many campaigns as the CPM and CPC on these platforms tend to be a tiny fraction of the cost on trade publications, for example.

There are actually two types of programmatic advertising platforms for ABM. The first are the large integrated enterprise ABM solutions such as 6sense and Demandbase, and the other are platforms that simply provide targeting advertising capabilities such as and Radiate B2B.

The Post Office

Pre-pandemic, this was our favourite tool. We delivered postal mailer campaigns that were so specific we got response rates of 80% or more. Conversion rates were much lower, but still far greater than any other tactic.

The hyper-targeting of ABM means that you can afford to spend a lot of money on each mailer. We need to be honest here: the difference in cost between postal mailers and digital ads is several orders of magnitude. Once you know your data is good – the companies and contacts are all the ones you want to reach – then postal mailings give you a fabulous opportunity to be creative.

The good news is that you don’t have to invest in Sellotape and string to put the mailers together yourself: there are many services that will do postal mailings for you. We’d recommend trying Sendoso, Alyce or Reachdesk.

Selecting the Best ABM Tool

Just like cameras, the best ABM tool is usually the one you already have. We always recommend planning your campaigns first: you should be driven by your business goals and not the tools that are available.

The tools that are available, however, can deliver impressive capabilities while saving you considerable amounts of time. So definitely make use of the tools that best support the achievement of your campaign goals and that fit within your marketing budget.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about ABM is that we’re still in the relatively early days of ABM. There will be a lot of innovation in the available tools over the next few years as ABM moves towards maturity, and it’s also likely that costs will tend downwards as the number of users grow. Whatever you are trying to achieve with your ABM campaign, there has never been a better time to do it.