Finding the right marketers for ABM

It’s tough to find ready-made ABMers. Molly Raycraft outlines the ingredients to create your company’s own account-based marketers.

When a team member’s resignation lands on your desk, it’s not something you’re excited about. You’re a person down, and you now know you’ve got to begin the time-sucking process of recruiting someone, who you’ll train and will inevitably leave for the cycle to begin again.

Of course, a new employee will bring news ideas and a new dynamic to the team, but when you have two million other things to do, it’s not a task you’re wishing would land on your plate.

That’s why so many team leaders sift through CVs searching for those who have near-identical experience to the role they have on offer. They often don’t consider the person’s characteristics and skills beyond this – even when it comes to vetting them in a face-to-face interview.

But what happens when the process isn’t as simple as slotting a wooden star into a star-shaped hole?

There simply aren’t enough ready-made account-based, which means you need to find those who have the right ingredients to create an ABM team from scratch.

The essential ingredients you need to identify

After spending a while working with someone you can identify exactly what characteristics influence the way they work. But when you only have an hour, or even a day, it can be difficult to draw out whether that candidate will deliver on all the fronts needed to deliver an ABM programme.

Of course any marketer should have a certain aptitude for business. You must ensure they have an intellectual understanding of the business and the industry it works in.

This can be a really difficult in practice. The experience on their CV may not represent their commercial acumen. So perhaps this is something that can be worked into the recruitment process assessment. Ask candidates to carry out account-based research on your business and present their findings.

Recipe for an ABM marketer

  • Commercial acumen
  • Strong, confident character
  • Leadership skills (including collaboration)
  • Open mind
  • Sensible risk taker
  • Persistence

Andrea Clatworthy, head of ABM at Fujitsu – who’s considered an ABM veteran – describes the role of an ABM marketer as a ‘mini CMO’. She’s not wrong.

ABMers must be able to get people on board and form alliances across the organisation. But they must also be able to say no to certain projects and people who don’t keep the trajectory towards a lucrative sale.

You need to look for someone who has a strong character and leadership skills, so they’ll be able to manage themselves and navigate across departments. Confidence is crucial. Let’s face it, nothing people feel comfortable carrying out tried and tested methods – like sending out an automated email but an ABMer can’t live within this shell. They must be prepared to try new things in order to curate a strong and successful relationship with their accounts.

If you’re out of the safety zone, you’re in the risk zone. This isn’t always a bad thing. But it takes a certain sort of someone to evaluate the situation and understand when it’s worth it, and when the chances of a negative outcome are too great.

It’s likely that ABMers are not going to be strangers to negative outcomes such as knockbacks and rejection. But their determination to succeed must remain unscathed.

As we all know, ABM is a marathon, it takes some companies a year to two for a deal to come to fruition. For some niche specialised companies it can take even longer. That means the ABM marketer must be durable and persistent, even when the forecast isn’t great.

The B2B Marketing Conference 2019

Hear from 25 experienced ABMers and B2B marketing leaders as they share their insights into how you can achieve account-based marketing success.

Register your interest