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What makes a good account-based marketer (ABMer)?

Account-based marketing is an investment, so who do you choose to be responsible for implementing it successfully? Molly Raycraft investigates what makes the perfect ABMer

Account-based marketing (ABM) has been merited for its benefits but approached with caution. Although the momentum behind ABM has provided more information than ever to those wishing to start the strategy, its success could ultimately be determined by who is chosen to look after an account.

Andrea Clatworthy, head of account-based marketing at Fujitsu, admits finding ABMers in the market can be hard but contests they're crucial to the strategy. “In my experience, the only way ABM works properly is if you’ve got the right people doing ABM in the first place,” she warns. At the B2B Marketing Conference: Account-Based Everything, Andrea defines what qualities to look out for when choosing an ABMer:

1. Quick to respond to stakeholders

Any ABMer needs to be quick to respond to internal stakeholders, but this doesn’t mean being a 'yes person'. It’s imperative this person analyses what stakeholders have asked, and whether this is actually the right move for a particular account. Andrea advises establishing a strong plan from strategy conception, as this will mean you’ve already thought about the answers, before the questions even arise.

2. Empathy with the client

As relationships are so personal within ABM, it’s crucial an ABMer understands the client’s position, and insight can really help with this. Devote some time to think about industry trends, what’s happening with your client and what your client’s customers want. This will increase how relevant your company appears to an account greatly.

3. Willing to put in the work

ABM requires a bit of elbow grease to reap the reward of high ROI. Andrea likens an ABMer to a CMO, as the ABMer has sole control of an accounts marketing. To be able to organise this well, an ABMer will need to be willing to work alongside the account team to manage stakeholders, while concentrating solely on their account(s). Andrea recommends no more than four accounts per person, otherwise burnout will occur due to the high levels of work involved.

4. Prepared to be hands on

Andrea stipulates ABM really is a hands-on game. An ABMer sets the strategy but they also need to be willing to do the work that’s involved in that strategy themselves. The best way to do this is to get beneath the skin of the client so you can be accurate in how they like to receive their information, therefore preventing unnecessary content creation. An ABMer needs to be confident in taking control of their account and ensuring they own it all.

5. Have good brain power

This isn’t about being in a monotonous routine of completing tasks that have been allocated. An ABMer needs to think outside the box, and think for themselves. They need to establish clear objectives and decipher a concise plan of action. This means uncovering what an account wants and encompassing that into marketing objectives, while choosing sufficient support for this.

6. An eye for detail

An eye for detail is particularly important if an ABMer is responsible for multiple accounts. The objective is to make your marketing as relevant to an account as possible. If you allow a sloppy sector message to do the rounds on your account(s), the client is likely to feel disassociated with the content.

Using an account’s language and ensuring marketing messages reach them at the right time will prove a company’s relevance - tailor content to meet an account's personal needs. It’s also important to pay attention to your clients' opinions; once they reach a stage of being a strong advocate, an ABMer can use this to the company's advantage.

7. Enthusiasm

For Andrea, enthusiasm is a quality that differentiates a good ABMer from a great one. As a strategy, ABM can be hard, so it’s important someone who is motivated and enthusiastic to achieve success is responsible for top accounts.

8. Creativity

In order to properly engage with accounts and meet Andrea’s three recommended focuses (relationship, reputation, and ROI), an ABMer mustn’t be frightened of being creative. This can help build a good rapport between them and the client, and will become invaluable in the account-based marketing process.

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