One of the highest-leveraged activities you can do to build your ABM program and ensure success is hiring the right person to lead your ABM efforts. But the challenge is the ABM marketer is a relatively new role – how do you know what to look for?
I’ve written about my thoughts on how to hire an ABM leader, but I wanted to sit down with a true OG of ABM to get his thoughts. Few (if any) know more about the topic than Rob Leavitt, Senior VP at ITSMA. Rob gives his advice for hiring this important role.
Brandon: So what makes a good ABM marketer? Hey everyone, Brandon Redlinger here along with my friend Rob Levitt who’s the Senior Vice President over at ITSMA.
Rob: All right, Brandon thank you. You know, it’s a great question and as ABM really takes off of course there’s more and more demand for good ABM marketers. At ITSMA we’re constantly being asked by our clients and our member companies, do you know anybody who could jump in you know, run the program, join the program, help build the program. And what’s really interesting about Account Based Marketing is that good ABM requires a combination of what you might call hard skills.
Do we know how to communicate well, can we understand data, that’s becoming more important, all the tools and you know systems that we’re using. Those kind of capabilities. The creative is just as important, I mean, literally writing a good value proposition for one account, for a group of accounts that sings, that stands apart from the competition.
You know, that’s not simple. And so the creative side is still just as important, but the softer organizational skills are absolutely critical. If you’re going to really partner with sales, you need to understand how sales works, understand what they’re up against, what they’re after, how they’re compensated, how they you know run their days.
You need to work across marketing typically, so those collaboration kinds of skills. And leadership you know, because often with ABM you’re doing things in new and different ways than you’ve done before. And so being able to lead when you may not be in control you know with persuasion.
So we often see the ABMers that are most successful have that combination of you know the hard kind of core marketing skills but also these soft skills. The third thing I’d say is some of the most successful ABMers have sales experience as well. You know, there’s nothing like carrying a bag you know walking in sales shoes to kind of understand how that works.
Brandon: Absolutely, yeah it’s something I’ve actually noticed a lot of ABM marketers either came from maybe field marketing. I’ve seen a few that are really good that have a project management background, right. It’s that cross-collaboration.
Rob: A lot of moving parts in the collaboration.
Brandon: Yeah, exactly.
Rob: No exactly. Because I mean we know that great ABM programs are multi-channeled, they’re long term. So again, there’s a lot of moving parts and a lot of people that are involved.
Brandon: So any advice for career development, learning, training, that sort of stuff.
Rob: Yeah, the one thing, and literally I tell this to my kids too who are just getting started professionally. But, learn the business and learn sales. There is no way you can put too much time or know too much about how the company makes money, how your client makes money, and how your sales people tick and how they operate. So that whole piece of it.
The other stuff you can get, it’s important to get. You know, both on the job and if you can get training. I mean ITSMA does a lot of ABM education and training at the risk of a little bit of a pitch there. Thank you. But you know that commercial kind of understanding is something that you pretty much need to do yourselves. But shadow the sales people, work as closely as you can with the sales people, alongside building out your basic marketing skills.
Brandson: Love it. Awesome, thanks Rob.
Rob: All right, thanks, Brandon.