Many conversations about account-based marketing focus on tools, techniques and tactics. But this ignores your most valuable asset – talent.

ABM is a tough job that needs dedication, experience, skill and commercial awareness. And only the most talented people can make this happen.

As ABM gets higher up our clients’ agendas we’re asked how to assess ABM readiness, train people, build capabilities and structure teams.

Multiple approaches are emerging—from formal training programmes and Centres of Excellence to devolved models that let you learn on the job.

As always with ABM, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. But on top of everyone’s mind is one simple question – how do I hire the right type of person?

So, what does a great ABMer look like?  Here’s our top five characteristics:

Confidence

Confident people believe in success. This is an essential attribute for those pioneering ABM, especially when it’s a new discipline in an organization.

Confident ABMers lead the charge and are unafraid to step into the unknown—even when those around them waiver.

They assert the value of marketing in a consistent way, setting high standards for themselves and those around them.

ABMers with high levels of confidence also hold their ground—saying no to unreasonable requests whilst sustaining positive partnerships with sales counterparts.

Team player

A non-negotiable quality of a great ABMer is the ability to work collaboratively in cross-functional account teams. They complement the skills of colleagues by bringing marketing prowess to an account’s growth agenda.

Strong interpersonal skills are a must-have, but ABMers also need gravitas. ABM is not about being in “service mode” and responding to requests for events and umbrellas.

A good ABMer will cultivate partnerships—built on reciprocal trust and respect—that allows them to work at a more strategic level.

T-Shaped

Turning an ordinary account into a stellar account takes a myriad of skills – relationship building, value creation, proposition development, business case creation, commercial savviness and, of course, marketing.

Great ABMers excel in a specific area (e.g. proposition development) but are competent in many disciplines.  They can easily adapt to different situations and respond to accounts’ changing demands.

Commercial

High-performing ABMers demonstrate strong business acumen. They’re expert in their own organization’s go-to-market strategy and can apply this in a meaningful way to their ABM program.

You should also expect ABMers to talk knowledgably about the macro and micro trends impacting accounts, with a balanced financial, strategic and organizational perspective.

Customer obsessed

ABM stars are naturally restless and inquisitive. They don’t like doing the same thing on repeat and are always on the lookout for ways to do things better.

You can expect these types of ABMers to turn up to the monthly sales meeting with a raft of ideas and recommendations. In this context top-performing ABMers become the voice of the customer.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on how you’re building your ABM teams.  If you’re interested in an ABM ‘team readiness’ assessment, then get in touch here.