Marketing can sometimes feel a bit like blowing on a dandelion. Seeds scatter everywhere – but where do they go? Where do they land? Will they grow?! While it’s a pretty sight, this short-lived, scatter-gun approach is hard to track, especially when you’re looking for ROI.

How do you know what parts of your marketing budget to invest where, if you don’t know the channels that are generating leads and giving you the best return? If you’re blowing marketing content into the wind – all at once – how do you know which seeds are turning into genuine leads? Can an ‘everything, all at once’ approach be truly beneficial to your bottom line?

While there’s value to be found in traditional lead generation tactics, treasure can also be found by casting your net narrow. You might want to research and close in on specific high-value accounts that appear to be great fit customers. Also known as account-based marketing. Buckle up and let’s explore the ins and outs of account-based marketing vs lead generation.

What is account-based marketing?

Account-based marketing (ABM) is deeply strategic. Marketing efforts are personalized and tailored to engage specific high-value target accounts, with the goal of building relationships and driving revenue. Think of it as creating a wish list of clients, and then creating bespoke marketing campaigns designed to resonate with their unique goals, interests, and pain points.

ABM prioritizes data analytics and insights to help measure and refine marketing strategies. As a result, it’s a highly effective method for reaching and nurturing key business clients. (You can’t argue with data!) ABM typically involves multiple touchpoints, including email marketing, social media advertising, content marketing, and personalized outreach.

B2B businesses in particular champion ABM. It suits growth-hungry startups, making ABM for SaaS a perfectly lean revenue machine.

ABM has catapulted as a go-to for growth as businesses seek to maximize marketing ROI and build longer-term customer relationships.

By focusing on key decision-makers at target accounts, ABM programs allow tailored content to pass the right eyes.

You’ll need intel about content themes that raise certain eyebrows, what everyone involved in a buying committee likes to talk about, and an idea of where these people hang out (yes, this will include LinkedIn promotions).

Events, emails, retargeting, personalized web experiences, and one-to-one meetings are all part of collective ABM programs. If you use digital engagement metrics wisely, you can dig into what inspires interest and action super-effective ABM campaigns.

Because ABM activity is so well researched, planned and focused, it helps B2B companies generate higher-quality leads, shorten sales cycles – and ultimately increase revenue.

The benefits of account-based marketing

ABM offers several significant benefits for businesses:

  • Higher conversion rates. ABM’s personalized approach increases the likelihood of converting target accounts into customers.
  • Improved ROI. By focusing resources on high-potential accounts, ABM maximizes marketing efficiency and delivers a better return on investment. Here are the ABM metrics to measure.
  • Enhanced customer relationships. ABM fosters stronger, long-lasting relationships with key accounts, leading to increased customer loyalty and retention.
  • Alignment of sales and marketing. ABM aligns the efforts of sales and marketing teams, improving communication and collaboration.
  • Precise targeting. It allows for precise targeting of specific accounts, reducing wasteful spending on less relevant prospects.
  • Personalization. ABM tailors content and messaging to individual account needs, increasing engagement and relevance.
  • Shorter sales cycles. By engaging key decision-makers early, ABM can accelerate the sales process (which can prove particularly lengthy with B2B marketing).
  • Competitive advantage. It helps businesses stand out in crowded markets by offering a more personalized and valuable experience to potential clients.
  • Data-led insights. ABM relies on data and analytics, providing valuable insights for continuous improvement.
  • Scalability. ABM can be adapted to target more accounts as needed, making it suitable for businesses of various sizes.
  • Brand awareness. It enhances brand recognition and reputation among target accounts.

What’s lead generation?

Lead generation is the ongoing process of identifying and attracting potential customers. It uses various marketing and advertising techniques to pique the interest of individuals or companies who may be interested in your product or service.

The ultimate aim is to gather contact information, such as email addresses, to assemble a pool of potential customers to engage with. The best way to do this is to create an interactive lead magnet you can pull data from. This way, you know who is warming up to your brand and which content makes that happen.

Companies employ a range of lead-generation methods, including website forms, social media advertising, email marketing campaigns, and content marketing. These provide valuable opportunities to connect with prospects and nurture them through the sales funnel.

Lead generation is crucial for business growth, as it maintains a steady stream of potential revenue. By identifying and engaging with leads, businesses increase their chances of converting prospects into paying customers. It’s an integral part of many marketing strategies, ensuring a consistent flow of opportunities for sales teams to pursue.

Benefits of lead generation

Lead generation offers several valuable benefits for businesses:

  • Increased sales. By connecting with potential customers who have expressed interest in your products or services, lead generation can directly lead to higher sales.
  • Cost-effective. It is often a cost-effective method of acquiring customers compared to traditional advertising, as you focus resources on individuals or businesses more likely to convert.
  • Improved ROI. The efficient targeting of leads can result in a higher return on investment for marketing efforts.
  • Business growth. Consistent lead generation contributes to business growth by expanding the customer base and market reach.
  • Better customer understanding. Through lead generation, you gain insights into customer preferences and behaviors, helping you tailor products and services to their needs.
  • Enhanced marketing strategies. It enables businesses to refine their marketing strategies based on real-time data and feedback.
  • Competitive advantage. Effective lead generation helps you stay ahead of competitors by identifying and engaging potential customers before they do.
  • Nurtured relationships. It allows you to nurture relationships with prospects over time, increasing the likelihood of conversion.
  • Data-led decision-making. Lead generation relies on data and analytics, facilitating informed marketing and sales decisions
  • Brand awareness. Continuously engaging with leads increases brand visibility and recognition, making your business more memorable when prospects are ready to buy.

So…account-based marketing vs lead generation – what’s the difference?


  • ABM involves precise targeting of a limited number of high-potential accounts. It’s about quality over quantity.
  • Lead generation typically casts a wider net, aiming to capture a larger quantity of leads without the same level of account specificity.


  • ABM relies heavily on personalization. It tailors content, messages, and marketing strategies to the unique needs and preferences of individual target accounts.
  • While lead generation also involves personalization to some extent, it may not be as highly customized as ABM because of its broader focus.

Marketing approach

  • ABM is an account-centric approach that involves a holistic and coordinated effort between sales and marketing teams to engage key accounts effectively.
  • Lead generation is typically a more marketing-centric approach, aimed at generating a larger volume of leads that can be passed to the sales team for further qualification.

Number of accounts

  • ABM usually focuses on a relatively small number of high-value accounts, often in the dozens or hundreds (depending on the business). But what if you could scale personalized ABM programs into the thousands?
  • Lead generation often seeks to capture leads from a much larger pool of potential customers, usually in the thousands or more.


  • The primary goal of ABM is to deepen relationships with target accounts, improve conversion rates and drive revenue growth from specific high-value clients.
  • The primary goal of lead generation is to attract and capture leads that may vary in terms of their potential value, with the aim of eventually converting them into customers.


  • ABM typically measures success by tracking metrics related to specific target accounts, such as engagement levels, deal progression, and revenue generated.
  • Lead generation often focuses on metrics such as the number of leads generated, click-through rates and lead quality.

In a nutshell, account-based marketing vs lead generation is a question of distinct but complementary strategies. ABM is highly focused on individual high-value accounts and emphasizes personalized marketing. Lead generation aims to capture a broader range of potential customers, often with less personalization. Depending on your business’s goals and resources, you may choose to implement one or both strategies to maximize your marketing efforts.

Combining ABM and lead generation for a hybrid strategy

This can be a powerful approach to maximize your marketing efforts. Here’s how to do it:

  • Identify target accounts. Start by identifying a subset of high-potential target accounts within your broader lead-generation efforts. These are the accounts that align with your ideal customer profile and have the highest potential for conversion. We’ve got a tip: ABM data improves ICPs, helping you chase the right rainbows.
  • Segment your leads. Categorize the leads generated through lead generation into different segments based on factors such as industry, company size, or behavior. This segmentation will help you tailor your approach to different groups.
  • Personalize at scale. While ABM is known for its high level of personalization, it’s traditionally been difficult to scale. ABM is resource-heavy and time-consuming, with full-time ABM managers handling a handful of accounts at once. The good news? You can now send personalized content at scale and with ease. Here’s how we can help with that.

Click to read Personalized content at scale | Software | Turtl

  • Multi-channel engagement. Implement multi-channel marketing campaigns that include email, social media, content marketing, and personalized outreach. Use ABM tactics for your target accounts and apply inbound lead-generation strategies to nurture and engage other leads.
  • Lead scoring and prioritization. Develop a lead scoring model that identifies which leads should receive more personalized ABM-style attention. Focus your ABM efforts on the highest-scoring leads.
  • Alignment between sales and marketing. Ensure that your sales and marketing teams are aligned in their approach. They should collaborate closely to determine which leads are best suited for ABM – and which should follow traditional lead-generation processes.
  • Continuous measurement and optimization. Regularly analyze the results of your hybrid strategy. Adjust your tactics based on the performance of different segments and channels. ABM metrics can help track success with target accounts, while traditional lead generation metrics can guide your broader efforts.
  • Expand your ABM efforts over time. As you see success with your hybrid strategy, consider expanding your ABM efforts to include additional target accounts as your resources allow.

By combining ABM and lead generation, you can enjoy the benefits of both approaches. You’ll be able to maintain a steady flow of leads while also nurturing and converting high-value target accounts in a more personalized manner, ultimately driving revenue growth and enhancing customer relationships.

How do I know what the best mix of ABM and lead generation tactics is for my business?

Both are crucial to driving growth. The strategy that’s best for you right now boils down to your short and long-term goals. Looking for lots of potential customers as soon as possible? Focus on lead gen tactics. Prefer to secure leads that offer longer-term value? Prioritize ABM.

As you can see above, there are ways you can still prioritize one but take elements of the other to complement what you’re trying to achieve. (You could even call it account-based marketing lead generation!) No matter what matrix you go for, always prioritize communicating your business’s unique value proposition. This is what wins conversions – whether that’s a handful of high-value accounts or hundreds of interested leads looking for more information.

When it comes to account-based marketing vs lead generation, there’s no ‘vs’ involved. No battle of the strategies. No crown to contend over.

Both marketing approaches are beneficial – you just need to work out which elements suit your business goals best, keep your eye on your data, and remain agile. If the numbers are telling you that a marketing strategy isn’t delivering the results you expected, adapt and go again!

Turtl takeaway

Find out how to capture more B2B and SaaS leads – we cover everything from using engagement data for intent, nurturing prospects, and measuring ROI.

See how we can help start lead generation or begin scaling ABM for staggering results.

Need insider advice for sharper ABM? Read this playbook from our friends at strategicabm.

Click to read ABM Playbook | Strategic ABM | ABM

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