Account Based Marketing (ABM) is a popular term; however its definition varies depending upon which blog post you read.

In one respect, Account Based Marketing is not new. The marketing teams that actually spent time in sales offices and were dedicated to working with a sales rep or manager “figured out” how to think like a salesperson. As a result, marketing was adapted (account based marketing) to help sales reps get at bats at companies that the sales reps wanted to penetrate. However, today’s marketing technology puts a new twist on conventional Account Based Marketing and that alone requires a skill-set refresh for B2B marketers.

Today, Account Based Marketing is not a checklist item, a task or something you do once. Account Based Marketing is a system and it requires discipline to be effective. To determine if your organization has really embraced Account Based Marketing, ask and honestly answer the questions below:

Marketing Background

  • Does the Account Based Marketing function report to sales or marketing?
  • Has the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) or VP Marketing served two years or more as a Director or VP of Demand Generation or Field Marketing?
  • Has the marketing team been through sales training?
  • Has the marketing team been trained on the sales process?

How is Marketing Compensated

  • Do the Account Based Marketing team’s target earnings include a variable portion equating to at least 25% of their total compensation?
  • Is the Account Based Marketing teams’ variable compensation tied to the quota targets of the sales rep or region they support?
  • What percent of the marketing budget (people and programs) is allocated to Account Based Marketing?

Marketing Integration with the Sales Team

  • Is the Account Based Marketing team invited to sales kickoff?
  • Is the Account Based Marketing team invited to quarterly business reviews?
  • Does the Account Based Marketing team report, with the sales team, the status of each targeted account every week?
  • Are there regularly scheduled meetings with sales, Account Based Marketing, sales operations, sales development and sales enablement?
  • Is the Account Based Marketing teams’ database of companies to prospect identical to the database of companies that the sales teams use to prospect?

Marketing’s Focus

  • Is marketing goaled on generating Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)?
  • Is marketing measured on generating qualified sales opportunities within targeted accounts?
  • Do the sales reps and Account Based Marketing team identify a targeted set of accounts each quarter to penetrate?
  • Have specific plays been built to penetrate targeted accounts?
  • Do the Account Based Marketing team and sales teams jointly develop the sales messaging to bridge into the targeted accounts (trends, topics, business outcomes, challenges, opportunities, etc.)?
  • Is gathering marketing intelligence on targeted accounts a manual, ad-hoc or an automated, managed and repeatable process?

The questions above are intended to highlight whether or not your organization is really doing Account Based Marketing. In short, Account Based Marketing is a tremendous opportunity to align sales and marketing. It’s more than a campaign or attending a meeting. If the questions above raise doubt or uncertainty, it’s a perfect opportunity to reevaluate your Account Based Marketing effort.

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