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Some history before we explore ABM vs. ABX.

Account-based marketing’s widespread adoption goes all the way back to the mid-2000s, coinciding with the development of CRM systems, marketing automation, and data analytics. 

These tools empowered sales and marketing teams to generate leads by targeting and engaging specific accounts and doing so at scale. However, the B2B buyer has come to expect the same level of convenience, speed, and personalization as the B2C consumer. 

Enter account-based experience (ABX). While account based marketing (ABM) remains relevant, many B2B companies are also adopting ABX.

Wondering what’s the difference between ABM and ABX and when you should use either of them? Scroll on.

What is ABM?

ABM is a B2B marketing strategy that  aligns your marketing and sales teams, enabling them to 

  • Combine resources
  • Target and engage specific high-value accounts considered a good fit for the business across relevant industries

ABM enables B2B marketers to personalize their approach with each account, depending on where they are in the sales funnel, their level of maturity, and their knowledge of your company and its products and services. 

Let’s say, for example, a C-suite level executive is replaced by another decision-maker, requiring a new relationship to be built from scratch. ABM’s customized approach comes into play. 

The sales and marketing teams have a firm grasp of the context and tailor their messaging to emphasize value proposition and rekindle the narrative around the existing partnership. 

In scenarios like the above, an ABM strategy helps B2B marketers:

  • Prevent churn in valuable accounts 
  • Accelerate the sales lifecycle
  • Close bigger deals, improving their close rate
  • Increase ROI.

What is ABX?

ABX is a go-to-market strategy that employs a more holistic approach. It uses account intelligence and other insights to add a layer of personalization, engagement, and efficiency. 

This enables B2B companies to provide a seamless customer experience at every customer journey touchpoint. ABX goes beyond aligning marketing and sales to include customer-facing teams across all service departments in your organization.  

When you adopt the ABX approach, you ensure that every customer has a great experience from the moment they come in contact with your brand to the moment they become customers. 

This helps: 

  • Orchestrate richer engagement throughout the buying journey.
  • Build brand trust and loyalty. 
  • Enhance customer relationships. 
  • Increase post-sales opportunities. 
  • Improve the efficiency and general effectiveness of your marketing efforts. 

However, adopting an ABX approach doesn’t mean you discard ABM from your marketing tactics

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ABM vs. ABX: What They Have in Common

ABX is ABM with a bird’s-eye view, so they share some similarities. No surprises there. 

Below are a few features ABM and ABX have in common:

FeaturesABM vs. ABX

They both engage at the account level. 

Customers and target accounts
They both focus on building relationships with target accounts and existing customers. 

Quality conversions
They both target ideal customers with high revenue potential. 

They are Both Account-Based Programs

As their names imply, both ABM and ABX target and engage at the account level in alignment with sales and marketing. Both programs rely on insights from customer accounts to coordinate efforts to enhance the customer experience across different points in the sales funnel. 

However, both can also be useful for engaging individual contacts within existing and target accounts through personalized outreaches. 

They are Both Focused on the Customer and Target Accounts

ABM and ABX both focus on building relationships with target accounts and enhancing satisfaction for existing customers. According to John Pennypacker, VP of Sales and Marketing at Deep Cognition, “both strategies aim to give clients value and establish enduring connections with them. Both of them put a lot of emphasis on targeting certain accounts and rely primarily on data and technology.” 

Ultimately, the goal is to create personalized interactions that help nurture relationships, depending on where the customer is in the sales funnel. 

They are Both Focused on Quality Conversions

ABM and ABX help you target prospects that match your ideal customer profile (ICP).

This is achieved through tracking intent data such as website visits, ad clicks, social media interactions, and searches to identify and target these ICPs. These signals reflect the prospect’s interests and challenges and also qualify them for nurturing.

As a result, ABM and ABX help you achieve shorter sales cycles and higher win rates. 

ABM vs. ABX: The Differences

While ABM and ABX share similarities, they have unique qualities that set them apart.  

Below, I explore some of those differences: 


Scope and focus
ABM is primarily a marketing strategy focusing on targeted accounts.ABX is a holistic approach involving all customer-facing teams across the buyer journey.

Customer experience
ABM coordinates sales and marketing efforts on specific customer accounts.ABX emphasizes the overall customer experience beyond marketing and sales, including post-sale support and customer success.

Measurement and success metrics
ABM metrics are often centered around marketing and sales performance indicators such as lead conversion rates and deal size.ABX looks at broader metrics that reflect the overall customer experience and satisfaction, such as customer lifetime value (CLV), net promoter score (NPS), and customer retention rates.

Scope and Focus 

ABM and ABX differ in focus and scope. Jon Miller, Demandbase's CMO and CPO, describes ABM as fishing with a spear. You hone in on the big fish relevant to your business and go after them. A major advantage of ABM is it's a focused and precise approach, but it lacks that ‘respect for the buyer experience,’ as Jon puts it.

ABX extends in scope to include buyer experience, bringing more departments under one umbrella to deliver great experience across all touchpoints. 

Customer Experience

ABM is centered on marketing programs specific to key accounts you intend to acquire, enabling you to always engage them in the: 

  • Right way, 
  • Right place,
  • Right time.

In contrast, ABX zooms out. It creates a cohesive customer experience and empowers your customer success teams to follow through and ensure sales and marketing fulfill promises made to buyers, even post-sales. 

Fundamentally, the ABM funnel is about targeting, acquisition, and account engagement. Whereas, ABX optimizes all-round customer service for consistent customer satisfaction. 

Measurement and Success Metrics

ABM and ABX have different metrics for success. In ABM, success metrics revolve around KPIs that indicate the effectiveness of your sales and marketing operations. These KPIs include account conversion rates, marketing qualified accounts (MQAs), deal velocity, deal size, etc.  

Whereas, KPIs in ABX reflect the overall customer experience and satisfaction. These KPIs include indicators such as customer lifetime value (CLV), net promoter score (NPS), and customer retention rates.

Both ABM and ABX are valuable strategies. Still, the choice between them depends on the specific goals of an organization, its resources, and the importance of the customer experience in its market.

When Should You Use ABM vs. ABX?

If you’ve come this far, you now understand ABM and ABX strategies and what differentiates them. We know ABX doesn’t invalidate ABM. But when should you use ABM vs. ABX? As I mentioned in the previous section, it depends on a few factors:  

  • What your organization wants to achieve
  • The value you want to deliver to your customers
  • The resources at your disposal
  • The value of customer experience in your industry

There are numerous examples of companies using ABM or ABX within specific contexts.

For Snowflake, a cloud-based data warehouse provider, the goal was to improve the engagement of more than 2,500 accounts to accelerate the customer journey for sellers. To achieve this, the company used tech platforms to create personalized account experiences, drawing insights from challenges, pain points, and topics of interest for sellers and account verticals. The result? 

According to Hillary Carpio, Director of Account-Based Marketing at Snowflake, their revenue teams successfully created synergies across almost 20 account marketers, supporting 200-plus field sellers across enterprise and Fortune 1000 accounts. Regarding resources, revenue and marketing teams, data, and technology all played crucial roles.

Elsewhere, mid-funnel blockage prompted Mimecast to adopt an account-based everything (ABE) approach. The goal was to secure more enterprise accounts and improve the conversion of new accounts.

In service of this goal, Mimecast focused on the buying party instead of the individual. Then, they developed a value proposition and messaging framework based on their understanding of the personas within the buying party. This enabled Mimecast to align content to the buyer’s pain point. As a result, the company saw a 75% uplift in buying-party member engagement.

Each company above had a different goal within different contexts. Their contexts informed their approach and strategy, which informed the required resources. Adopting different iterations of the account-based model allowed them to achieve their desired outcome. 

Will Yang, Head of Growth and Marketing at Instrumentl, recommends integrating ABM and ABX. “My recommendation would be to integrate  ABM and ABX. Use ABM to tailor your marketing messages for high-value leads or accounts. Pivot to ABX once you've made the initial conversion to ensure a seamless, positive customer experience throughout their lifecycle with your brand.”

Here’s a checklist of questions to help you decide when to deploy ABM or ABX: 

  • What problem are you trying to solve? 
  • What results are you hoping to get from your efforts? 
  • Are potential results long-term or short-term?
  • Where are your target customers in their buyer journey? 
  • What resources are required to implement an ABX or ABM strategy? 
  • Out of the required resources, which do you have and don’t have?

Harness the Power of the Account-Based Model to Drive Sustainable Growth

The account-based model heralded the shift from traditional marketing. Advancements in marketing technology and big data have only improved the effectiveness of account-specific outreach. 

However, with the rise and rise of ABX, powered by its customer experience element, there has been an increased adoption of ABM + CX as a sustainable growth driver for B2B companies. 

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Dozie Anyaegbunam
By Dozie Anyaegbunam

Dozie Anyaegbunam is the Senior Editor of The CMO, digital marketing firepower for SaaS pioneers. He's a marketing strategist with years of experience in Marketing, Communications, Ecommerce, and SEO. And has worked across verticals ranging from software to edu-tech, apparel, and F&B, leading teams at B2B SaaS startups, global multinationals, and the public sector. He’s the Founder & Host of The Newcomer’s Podcast featuring immigrants and their stories of moving to a new country, and he’s currently producing a documentary on the immigrant’s experience.