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  • Writer's pictureJon Mazza

ABM vs Lead Generation Marketing

Updated: Mar 3

Which Approach is Right for Your Goals?

As a marketer, you want to reach your target audience and drive conversions effectively. To do that, you need to choose the right marketing strategy that aligns with your business goals. Two of the most popular methods are account-based marketing (ABM) and lead generation marketing. While both are effective, they differ in several ways. In this post, we’ll compare ABM and lead generation marketing, highlight their similarities and differences, and give data points to back up both. Additionally, we’ll provide specific examples for both, and maybe even choose a winner in the end.

Similarities between ABM and Lead Generation Marketing

The biggest similarities between ABM and lead generation marketing are that they're both typically driven by data and they're both meant to drive conversations with potential customers.

Data Driven

Both ABM and lead generation marketing rely on data to inform their strategies. Marketers use data to identify their target audience, personalize their approach, and measure the success of their campaigns.

Drive conversions

The ultimate goal of both ABM and lead generation marketing is to drive conversions. Whether it’s to close a deal or generate a lead, both strategies aim to convert prospects into customers.

But what about the differences between ABM and lead generation marketing?

Differences between ABM and Lead Generation Marketing

Target audience

ABM is a highly targeted approach that focuses on specific accounts, whereas lead generation marketing is a broad-based approach that targets a larger audience. ABM is ideal for businesses that want to reach key decision-makers at specific organizations, while lead generation marketing is better suited for businesses that want to reach a large number of prospects.


ABM is highly personalized, while lead generation marketing is less so. ABM campaigns are designed to speak directly to the target audience, while lead generation campaigns are more generalized.


ABM is a strategic approach that involves a coordinated effort across multiple teams, while lead generation marketing is typically executed by a single team. ABM requires a significant investment of time and resources, while lead generation marketing is typically faster and less resource-intensive.

Lead generation is less expensive

Lead generation campaigns are typically less expensive than ABM campaigns. Lead generation can be executed with a smaller budget, making it a more cost-effective option for businesses that are just starting out.

ABM is more effective at driving conversions

According to a study by SiriusDecisions, ABM campaigns generate a higher conversion rate (10-30%) compared to traditional lead generation campaigns (2-5%).

The Data behind ABM vs Lead Gen Marketing


According to a study by Forrester, organizations that use ABM generate 208% more revenue for the same amount of marketing spend compared to those that do not use ABM.

The same study also found that organizations that use ABM are able to close deals faster and at a higher value compared to those that do not use ABM.

Another study by Demandbase found that ABM campaigns have a higher return on investment (ROI) compared to other forms of marketing, with an average ROI of 300%.

Lead Generation Marketing

A study by the Content Marketing Institute found that lead generation is the top marketing goal for B2B marketers, with 82% of marketers citing it as a priority.

Another study by the Aberdeen Group found that companies that excel at lead generation are able to generate 50% more qualified leads at a 33% lower cost per lead.

A survey by B2B Marketing found that email is the most effective channel for lead generation, with a conversion rate of 40%.

Example of an ABM Campaign Strategy

Now for an example of what someone could do for an ABM campaign.

Say you're at a company that specializes in providing enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions for large corporations. The company wants to increase its conversion rate and close more deals with key accounts. To achieve this, the company executes an ABM campaign that includes the following tactics:

Targeted account list

The company identifies its target accounts based on factors such as size, industry, and location. The target account list is then prioritized based on the likelihood of closing a deal.

Personalized messaging

The company creates personalized messaging and content for each target account, taking into consideration the specific needs and pain points of the decision-makers at each organization.

Multi-channel outreach

The company executes a multi-channel outreach campaign that includes targeted advertising, email outreach, direct mail, and in-person events. The messages and content for each channel are personalized for each target account.

Account-based landing pages

The company creates landing pages that are specific to each target account and optimized for search engines. The landing pages include personalized messaging, case studies, and testimonials that are relevant to the target account.

Sales and marketing alignment

The company aligns its sales and marketing teams to ensure a seamless and consistent approach to each target account. The sales team is trained on the messaging and content used in the ABM campaign, and they work closely with the marketing team to track and measure the success of the campaign.

With these tactics, the company is able to reach its target accounts with a highly personalized and targeted approach. The result is a higher conversion rate and a greater likelihood of closing deals with key accounts.

Example of a Lead Generation Campaign Strategy

To start our example of a lead generation campaign strategy, let's say you're with a company that specializes in providing cloud-based solutions for small to medium-sized businesses.

Your company wants to increase its lead generation efforts to reach a wider audience of potential customers. To achieve this, you execute a lead generation campaign that includes the following tactics:

Content marketing

The company creates and shares valuable blog posts, whitepapers, and eBooks on its website and social media channels to attract visitors and generate leads.

Email marketing

The company sends out regular newsletters and promotional emails to its subscribers to keep them engaged and generate leads.

Paid advertising

The company invests in targeted advertising on LinkedIn and Google AdWords to reach potential customers actively searching for solutions like theirs.


The company hosts webinars on relevant topics to educate and engage potential customers, while also collecting lead information.

Landing pages

The company creates landing pages with clear calls to action (CTA) to convert visitors into leads. The landing pages are optimized for search engines and are linked from its paid ads, blog posts, and email campaigns.

With these tactics, the company is able to reach a wider audience and generate a large number of leads. The leads are then nurtured with targeted content and personalized follow-ups until they are ready to make a purchase.

Which is better, ABM or Lead Gen Marketing?

It’s difficult to declare a clear winner between ABM and lead generation marketing as both have their strengths and weaknesses. The right choice depends on the specific goals of your business and the resources you have available.

If you have a limited budget and want to reach a large audience quickly, lead generation marketing may be the better choice. However, if you have the resources to invest and want to drive conversions from key accounts, an ABM strategy is the way to go.

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