If you feel like everyone’s talking about account-based marketing (ABM), that’s because they are. According to a study by ITMSA and the ABM Leadership Alliance, 73 percent of marketers currently using ABM plan to increase their ABM budgets in 2020. That suggests these marketers are already seeing success with ABM, or they see its potential.
Before you start using ABM, you need to make sure you have a solid understanding of what ABM is and how it differs from other approaches to marketing. You also need to know the lingo. We’ve compiled a glossary of key ABM terms to help you and your team get educated and speak the same language as you start identifying your ideal customer profile, targeting the right companies, creating content, and ultimately closing more deals at high-value accounts.
Account-based marketing (ABM):
A B2B marketing approach that targets specific high-value accounts most likely to have the greatest lifetime value. Unlike inbound marketing which involves attracting many leads to your product or service, ABM only markets to accounts that will be of value.
Ideal customer profile (ICP):
A list of key characteristics—including environmental, firmographic, and behavioral data—that make up a company’s ideal accounts. An ICP is created by studying data from existing customers and can be used to identify future target accounts.
Lifetime value (LTV):
The amount of value an account brings to your company over its lifetime as a customer. High-value LTV accounts are the best targets for ABM.
Like demographics, but for a company. Information about a company like industry, size, vertical, revenue, and number of employees.
Information about how a company operates like its technology stack, manufacturing processes, or vendor partnerships.
Information about a prospect’s activity and interactions with your company such as resources downloaded before purchase, whether they reached out to the sales team, or how long it took to close a sale.
Total available market (TAM):
All of a company’s possible customers in the world. From the TAM, a company narrows down a target account list.
Target account list (TAL):
A subset of a company’s total available market that’s the focus of ABM efforts. These accounts closely match the company’s ideal customer profile.
The process of ranking a target account list by how closely each account matches the ICP. Usually, accounts are divided into tiers A, B, and C and these tiers help prioritize marketing efforts. Tier A accounts receive more individualized attention and customized content, while Tier C accounts tend to receive more templatized interactions.
A representation of each decision-maker at an ideal account, which in B2B marketing is usually developed around a job role and helps guide content creation.
The process a prospect goes through of realizing they have a problem and seeking out a solution. This generally involves three stages (Awareness, Consideration, Decision), and marketers aim to match content to these stages to lead prospects toward a purchase. In the early stages of ABM, companies align their personas with the buyer’s journey.
The group of people at a target account involved in the decision to make a purchase. This can include high-level decision-makers who manage budgets and must sign off on purchases, as well as end users who influence purchasing decisions.
The most personalized form of ABM, usually done for Tier A accounts. This type of marketing involves customized messaging for individuals at these accounts, as well as high value offers.
Marketing that includes content that’s somewhat customized—often for specific industries or job roles—but less customized than in one-to-one ABM. One-to-few is often used for Tier B accounts and is less expensive and less time-consuming to create.
Often called “ABM Lite,” this type of ABM is generally used for Tier C accounts and involves the least amount of customization. For example, a company might send segmented emails to a larger audience.
An organized set of tactics used to reach a target account. For example, a series of display ads, social media ads, direct mail, and emails targeting key decision-makers.
An ABM tactic often used to introduce a brand to target accounts, usually done through digital advertising such as display ads or social media ads. Additional tactics such as email, events, or direct mail can be used in conjunction with air cover.
An essential part of ABM that refers to the level of customization used in content for different personas and account tiers. This can include customized assets and messaging.
When a marketing department creates resources such as emails, product guides, or tutorials to help the sales team do their job more effectively.
A contract between marketing and sales teams outlining goals and roles, and an important way to establish sales and marketing alignment, a key part of ABM.
Looking for more educational ABM content? Check out our video tutorial series about ABM fundamentals, “Account-Based Marketing: The Basics.” If you’d like to discuss how your organization can reach more high-value accounts with ABM, get in touch.