How to Build a Demand Gen Team for Your Account-Based Marketing Program

How have you structured your marketing team? If you’re like most companies, you have the typical roles. SEO Strategist. Digital Brand Manager. Marketing Data Analyst. Marketing Technologist. And so on. You’re staffing the way most companies do. No fault there. But you may have to look at your team a little differently if you’re planning an Account-Based Marketing (ABM) program.

Demand Gen and ABM?

The demand gen model has been in place since forever and it still has its good points. In most companies, demand generation means lead generation. So typical demand gen marketers spend a majority of their time and money running top-of-funnel blanket campaigns that target a wide audience and generate a great volume of leads. 


In an ABM world, this mentality shifts dramatically, and there is a focus on accounts, rather than leads. As a result, demand generation marketers are more aligned with Sales, their programs are successful and they start using their budgets more effectively.


And it may seem unusual to even think about using demand gen and ABM at the same time. They’re so different, can that possibly work? You bet. And here’s how.


In some companies, ABM does not replace demand gen; they work together as complementary methods. It’s like demand gen casts a wider net and while you may not know what’s out there, you may be surprised by the relevant leads that come in. Some big, some not so big.


On the other hand, ABM is tightly targeted. Companies know specifically who they want for customers and put together an ABM plan to reach their goals. Sales and marketing teams work together to go after the desired brands for their stable.


By utilising both methods to some degree, companies are sure to come back with at least a few leads at the end of a campaign. And even more, it teaches marketing and sales to work together. They define a list of accounts to target and then marketing tries to get as many qualified leads as possible using many of the same channels as those used for demand gen.


So it just makes sense that if a company intends to do a blend of demand gen and ABM, the marketing team needs to be specialised and able to function efficiently in both worlds.


Demand Gen alignment with Sales

Once research has been completed for an ABM initiative, marketing will then capture qualified accounts via the channels typically used in demand gen campaigns. The tactics will be tailored to the targeted account. Sales can then follow up with the account to close deals. In this way, demand gen marketers align with sales and sales aligns with marketers to complete the cycle.

What a Demand Gen / ABM Marketing Team Should Look Like

The roles of a demand gen/ ABM marketing team will be very familiar to those used to a lead gen model. This makes the transition easy and ensures flexibility for the future. Plus it is cost effective to utilise current staffers who have the necessary skill sets or potential. Most brands have at least some of these roles in place from which to choose.

Much of the ABM program work is probably already being managed by current marketing team members such as analytics pros, digital advertising specialists and demand gen experts. ABM is multichannel so you’ll need to maintain some positions in the short and long term. You may be surprised when you dig a little deeper into employee skill sets to learn that you have very qualified ABM team members who had been only involved with demand gen activities in the past.


What roles you’ll need for ABM

  • CMOs/Marketing Directors are critical for senior leadership support so engage them early in the process.

  • Marketing Operations Managers should be able to manage your MarTech solutions to map leads to accounts, integrate into CRM and provide updates.

  • Content Experts and Digital Strategists can craft compelling copy and monitor campaign performance to make real-time adjustments if necessary.

  • Paid Media Managers can buy micro-targeted ads as well as manage the design and upload creative to reach specific targets in ABM campaigns.

  • Sales Leaders are a must on an ABM team to provide a sales perspective on individual accounts and the overall ABM program.

Identifying the roles for your ABM plan is a great beginning and it’s great if you can tap into existing marketing talent. However, don’t stay stuck in a team configuration that isn’t working. Be brave enough to make the necessary changes to get your ABM team working at peak performance. It’s just too important for anything less than your best.

How to drive profit from Account-Based Marketing


There’s a time for spray and pray marketing: For casting your net wide when sharing news in the expectation that a small percentage of recipients will have that ‘aha’ moment. But let’s face it, when the emphasis is on delivering immediate results (and timely opportunities), then the more targeted your activities the better.


Which is, of course, the central promise behind Account-Based Marketing (ABM). With it comes the ability to deliver more meaningful and relevant messages that are tailored to a precise audience. But then you already knew that. What you possibly don’t know so well are the key factors behind a successful ABM programme or the main pitfalls to avoid.


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