Ready to stack the deck? There is a key combination of critical components that any B2B company can use to build themselves an ABM team of aces. It requires each account-based marketing function to fill their role to the best of their ability, creating a system that functions properly — where all roles are supporting their fellow marketers.
And all of these account-based marketers are aiming for a common target: revenue. While other metrics might be used in different situations to gauge movement toward the ultimate KPI, revenue is the critical metric that carries the most weight. Show revenue contribution, and you’ve proven your ABM team’s weight in gold.
 The CMO
The CMO could be considered the gatekeeper of success. The decisions they make and how they support their team can make or break the effectiveness of the other seven roles. The value of account-based marketing is in the details, and the CMO should enable their team with all the strategy assistance and martech approval necessary. Also, they often oversee their team’s ABM strategy formation and assist with the final stages of the target account list and the account grading system.
Not only should they be knowledgeable about ABM strategy and tuned into their team’s account-based marketing plan, but the CMO should also be the primary champion of ABM across the company.
 The Marketing Director
The marketing director dives deeper into the details than the CMO in terms of both theory and structure. They own the target account list and grading system, and they coordinate the strategy plan that is implemented by the other five roles.
While the marketing director relies on the expertise of their crew of ABM aces, they’re responsible for representing the strategy’s performance to the CMO and other executives. They formulate the details of the ABM strategy and coordinate its implementation across their team.
 The Marketing Ops Specialist
The marketing operations specialist is in charge of technology. Martech solutions and integrations are their area of expertise. As the marketing team seeks to orient their marketing strategy, results, and reports by accounts, it becomes necessary to acquire martech that will map leads/contacts to their respective accounts. The acquisition, onboarding, and integration of this martech solution (usually in the form of attribution) is a task owned by the marketing operations specialist.
Advanced attribution solutions that are also integrated within the CRM can automatically map leads/contacts to accounts without any huge hassle, custom solution, or manual maintenance. The data is organized by account and displayed within the CRM.
A CRM integration also allows the sales team to have access to the same account data. They’ll be able to see the types of engagement marketing has instigated through all levels of the pipeline. Using that information, salespeople can decide which accounts are ready to move forward, and which ones still need time in the nurture/outreach process.
 The Content Ninja(s)
The content ninja (writer / marketer) has a unique role in the process of account-based marketing. They have the responsibility to create content that is specifically targeted toward the personas that make up their target account list. This means that they might need to hone in on those personas even closer, discovering precisely which pain points, benefits, and features of a product or service will attract the specific types of individuals that make up that list.
It’s a process of hyper-targeting the scope of their content creation and focusing on a specific, identified list, rather than a vast sea of demand gen prospects.
You’ll also notice that the content ninja is the only one not wearing a tie, and that’s because they’re cool, casual, creative folks. And ninjas don’t wear ties. Everybody knows that.
 The Email Manager
The email manager is responsible for email outreach to the target account list. Once a contact’s email address has been obtained through a list, an event, a webinar, a content offer, or some other type of form fill, the email manager sets up the required workflows for the nurturing process. He/she can create different nurture workflows for the various account grades, and emails can also be highly personalized in order to help prompt engagement.
Email marketing is one of the top marketing channels, according to the State of Pipeline Marketing 2015, and thus, the ABM email marketer has some important shoes to fill.
 The Optimizer
The optimization specialist can either be his or her own entity, or another role can double-up and take on this role. Oftentimes, one of the content writers will assume these responsibilities, or the paid media manager will step up and handle some of the details. The optimizer ensures that each piece of the marketing strategy is optimized (or in the process of being optimized) to its full potential.
A/B tests, variations, image swaps, button colors, email nurturing sequences, titles, copy, site navigation — all should be tested and optimized in order to best accommodate the buyers on your target account list.
Account-based marketing also focuses on personalization, since you have a specific list of companies you’re targeting. This allows your website, your email outreach, and other forms of your content to be highly personalized as the optimizer hones in on the list of target accounts.
 The Media Manager
The paid media manager plays a pivotal role on the account-based marketing team, but only if a company has a medium-to-high paid media spend. Ad platforms are coming out with better ways to target companies — and one of these ways is to target by account. The paid media manager can run ads specifically to individuals who work at the firms within the target account list, which means that every single click garnered from those campaigns is valuable.
Paid media (display ads, paid search, paid social, etc.) is a powerful asset to an account-based marketing team, if it’s leveraged correctly. A paid media manager can run ads to open opportunities, giving contacts at those accounts the option to consume down-funnel content, which keeps them engaged through to close. Marketers can run ads to a set of contacts/personas at a target company, ensuring that each individual involved in the buying decision is primed, ready, and armed with the information they need.
The paid media manager also has a unique ability to influence the account engagement score — the score assigned to an account through an algorithmic assessment performed by an advanced multi-touch attribution solution. This score tells the marketing team how well the contacts from these targets accounts are engaging with marketing activities. All in all, the paid media manager’s ability to zero in at an account level makes them an indispensable member of the ABM team.
 The Sales Director
Wondering why a member of the sales team is included in the list of members that make up an ABM dream team? One of the effects of account-based marketing is a holistic view of the pipeline. There’s no longer a “handoff” of leads between sales and marketing. Rather, the two teams begin to overlap, and the critical metrics are shared between them — specifically, the account engagement score. Marketing primes the pump and sales makes a seamless transition when the engagement score is high.
This means that the sales team, and primarily the director of the sales team, needs to be involved in the ABM strategy process so that he/she can orchestrate their team’s sales efforts accordingly. The account engagement score, marketing touchpoint reports, and sales outreach are all connected pieces of an overall puzzle — and when that puzzle is assembled correctly, you begin to see accounts closing left and right.
Each member of the ABM team has a critical part to play. And when you put all seven of these aces together, you’ve stacked your deck and you’re bound to win big.
Thanks Lauren — a nice presentation of some key roles. I’d suggest, though, that this approach makes the most sense for what we at ITSMA would call “Programmatic ABM,” where you’re mostly doing relatively light, tech-based personalization for a large number of accounts. When you’re taking a deeper dive approach for your most strategic accounts, however, it’s essential to have dedicated marketers working full time on just one or a few accounts hand in hand with the sales account team. The other roles that you highlight are play essential supporting roles, but the “account based marketer” is the one actually creating a customized plan and campaign for the individual account and tapping the various other resources available. These marketers typically have a great deal of experience across multiple marketing roles, a strong commercial orientation, and are especially skilled in cross-organizational collaboration and orchestration. We’ve done a batch of research on this; I’d be happy to share.