Top 5 Misunderstood ABM Terms

April 30, 2024 Ali Mesick, BOL

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) isn’t rocket science, but even experienced marketers get tripped up by the endless acronyms and technical jargon. If you think ABM terms are even more confusing than Fahvergnügen, you’re not alone. In this article we’ll translate the most misunderstood ABM terms into language your sales and marketing teams will understand.

Term #1: ABM (Account-Based Marketing)

Definition: A strategic approach for building and optimizing personalized buying journeys, at targeted accounts, at scale. ABM aligns sales and marketing teams to create precise, highly personalized customer buying experiences that deliver efficiency, velocity, and growth.

How is it misunderstood?

  • ABM is often confused with basic lead generation and direct marketing. ABM goes beyond targeting ads to specific companies with the goal of getting them to fill out a form for the lowest CPA. It’s about data enrichment and engagement and conversion. Learn why companies are turning to ABM now, and why you should, too.

  • Although ABM has “marketing” right in its name, it isn’t just a marketing strategy. Sales and marketing alignment is essential to ensure the right accounts are being targeted to create highly personalized buying experiences that build trust and provide the right solutions for each account. See how misaligned GTM teams can cost you big in a market downturn.

Term #2: ICP (Ideal Customer Profile)

Definition: A data-rooted description of the perfect customers for your product or services; the organizations that will drive the most revenue and growth and give you the best opportunity to win.

How is it misunderstood?

  • Sales teams generally have a good idea of who their high-value targets are. But intuition isn’t enough. Ideal Customer Profiles leverage firmographic data, buyer intent data, emerging trends, closed-won/closed-loss analyses to validate assumptions, so you don’t waste resources pursuing the wrong buyers. Learn how to leverage data and research to develop an ICP.

  • ICPs are often confused with Buyer Personas. Unlike ICPs, Buyer Personas define the specific buyer types within the organizations you are targeting. Today, ABM platforms have the power to deanonymize buyers so you can target them with highly personalized messaging.

Term #3: TAL (Target Account List)

Definition: A custom and dynamic list of key accounts — informed by an ICP and agreed upon by marketing and sales — that will be the focus of your targeting efforts. 

How is it misunderstood?

  • Target Account Lists are often confused with Total Addressable Markets (TAMs). A Total Addressable Market is a list of all the accounts that could buy your product or services. Use an ICP to narrow down your TAM into a TAL. Learn how to choose the right TAL for your ABM marketing campaigns.

  • Your Target Account List should not be static. It should change as new data informs new insights. Employ a test-and-learn approach to fine-tune your TAL.

Term #4: Intent Data

Definition: Signals from accounts and individual users about products and services they are likely to be interested in purchasing.

How is it misunderstood?

  • Many marketers confuse intent data with search data. Search data is based on keywords. Intent data is generally based on the content/overarching topics being consumed. This provides a clearer picture on what stage your targets are in the buying journey. Intent data feeds are not directly connected to search engine data.

  • Intent data is not a replacement for an ICP. It’s just one of the many signals for how strong of a fit an account is at any given time.

Term #5: Pipeline Acceleration

Definition: Increasing the speed at which accounts pass through the funnel, from initial outreach to closed-won.

How is it misunderstood?

  • Pipeline acceleration requires a joint effort between marketing and sales. Once a lead is captured, marketing and sales should work together to nurture the leads through emails, webinars, in-person events, direct mail and calls that often continue until the deal is closed.

  • To prove pipeline acceleration, it’s important to track the correct metrics. Focus on revenue metrics and pipeline metrics such as account-targeted deal velocity through the buying stages. Avoid vanity metrics like impressions, MQLs, page views and the number of leads processed.

Rollworks partners with BOL to align B2B marketing and sales teams to implement ABM strategies that truly accelerate pipeline performance. Together, we are redefining ABM success

About the Author

Ali Mesick, BOL

Ali is the Associate Director of Paid Media at BOL Agency.

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