How to Leverage Your Current Marketing Team to Get Started with ABM Now

Many B2B marketing organizations are investigating Account Based Marketing (ABM). But some don’t know how to get started. Overwhelmed by thoughts of changing their programs and hiring new staff, many marketing leaders put aside their plans.

The reality is that you can get started with ABM right away and increase your team’s involvement over time.

In fact, integrating an ABM strategy into your current way of working doesn’t require a wholesale change. You can call upon your current marketing team to support your strategy. It’s a matter of identifying the required roles, properly structuring your team, and aligning with sales.

Map Your Resources  

Don’t think about ABM as a complete transformation of how you generate revenues. Instead, think of it as a new discipline within your existing operations. What you need is a team that applies its existing skills to focus on programs targeted at named accounts.

The in-house skills you harness will depend on the size and makeup of your marketing organization. Many marketing teams include the following roles in some capacity.

map your rolesYou know who handles what in your marketing organization –  the next step is determining how your team can support your ABM efforts. To start, answer these questions:

  1. Who helps determine your optimal business segments and your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)? Specifically, who reviews historical, firmographic, technographic and engagement data? Who evaluates the ICP and how it changes over time? Often, this will be Product Marketing.
  2. Who reviews account data on a regular basis? This includes:
  • Matching leads to account
  • Building out accounts for key titles (purchasing and enriching data, and ensuring data accuracy)
  • Mapping parent-child relationships in CRM
  • Labeling accounts by tagging in CRM
  • Ongoing management of data (de-duping, enriching, etc.)

In most companies, Marketing Operations handles these tasks.

  1. Who drives orchestrated play strategy and execution? Namely, who is responsible for driving opt-ins and developing plays, from early to late stage? Who is charged with defining actions for key personas, and creating messaging and content? If your team includes a Revenue Marketing role, that person most likely handles these activities.
  2. Who communicates key information to sales and other stakeholders? In other words, who rolls out target account selection to sales and interfaces with the team regularly on marketing programs? Who works with Sales on account plans and updates them on program impact, where there are opportunities? In many organizations, Revenue Marketing and/or Marketing Operations handles this.

Get Your Team Involved in ABM

Once you’ve mapped your current team to the key activities above, you can figure out where to get people involved in the ABM program. At a high level, the following shows where they could contribute.

get your team involvedHere’s a more explicit overview of the ways your team members can play a role:

  1. Product marketing could help define the Ideal Customer Profile and the segments to pursue, which will in turn inform your predictive scoring model.
  2. Marketing operations can help build out an account foundation, making sure leads and the right information are mapped to accounts so marketing and sales see the same information.
  3. Revenue marketing (e.g., marketing manager or field marketing) and sales can collaborate to get a sense of where target accounts are in their customer journey. For example, are you focused on the right people for these accounts? Are they aware of your products or services, or are you trying to sell them additional products? Understanding this helps define your objective, which in turn informs the types of programs to run.
  4. Revenue marketing (e.g., marketing manager or field marketing) and sales can work on orchestrated programs and examine results.

Here is what a core ABM team might look like once you combine efforts with others from across the organization.

roles and responsibilities
Align Your Involvement With Results

The heart of any ABM initiative is an aligned marketing and sales team that’s dedicated to large accounts. And the more sophisticated your ABM program gets, the more you involve your team.

Apply the crawl, walk, run approach. Start with a pilot, dedicating a certain percentage of your team to the program for a pre-defined amount of time. The goal is to prove that this program will pay off. After racking up some early, meaningful wins, commit a percentage of your team on an ongoing basis so your organization can scale to pursue key segments. Once the ABM program has proven successful in that regard, assign team members to a dedicated ABM team or ABM demand center.

get your team involvedAs you look to increase your team’s involvement, make note of individuals with these characteristics:

  • Seasoned, senior marketers
  • Can hold their own with account executives
  • Well-rounded team players
  • Business knowledge and consultative abilities
  • Solution marketing experience (to focus on insight), and/or field marketing experience (to focus on interaction and orchestration)
  • Leadership and relationship skills to pitch and manage campaigns
  • Strong project managers

These are the type of people who will excel in ABM roles.

By taking a methodical, well-paced approach to Account Based Marketing, your team can provide the support and enablement that helps ensure success.

For more on what you need to get up and running, download our ABM Starter Kit.


Heidi Bullock
Heidi Bullock
Prior to joining Engagio, Bullock served nearly 5 years in marketing positions at Marketo, eventually becoming Group VP, Global Marketing following the company’s 2013 IPO. Bullock began her career as a product manager in the life sciences industry, after graduating from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a degree in molecular biology and genetic engineering. Later, she earned a MBA at St. Mary’s College of California.

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