A Hiring Guide for ABM Positions in 2021

December is the time of year when many marketing leaders are doing headcount planning, and we’ve gotten numerous requests for ABM-related job descriptions and hiring tools.

As such, here are some tips and resources to help you secure the right marketer with the right experience to execute a successful ABM strategy in 2021 (and beyond)!

Tip #1: Attract a strategic influencer with a sales mindset

While demand gen experience and prior ABM experience are table-stakes, you should be sure to attract someone who likes working with Sales people, and is motivated by the same drivers as sales, namely quota and revenue goals. If they are motivated by those two things, they will figure out how to make ABM work for your company. Full stop. 

Similarly, you want someone who can influence other people and work cross-functionally. While your ABM lead will likely sit in Marketing, they will need to influence a wide breadth of colleagues in digital, field, demand generation, and ops (sales and marketing), to execute their ABM strategy. A powerful influencer will be able to transition ABM from an “add-on” to an integral part of the overall marketing strategy. 

Lastly, you want someone who knows how to be strategic. If they aren’t, you run the risk of getting a set of random acts of ABM marketing, and not a full, integrated strategy that is complementary to the rest of your marketing objectives. 

TOOL: Here are two sample job descriptions as starters for your next job opening – 1 for a 1:1 ABM expert and the other for a 1:many ABM pro

Tip #2: Use a candidate’s perspective to gauge their experience

  • Look for the war wounds 

Anyone can say that they know ABM. But how do you know if they’ve actually done it? Look for the war wounds. The people with real experiences will have successes as well as failures and learnings.

  • Listen for the right metrics

The right candidate will talk in terms of revenue, not leads or MQLs.They should also have a handful of interim metrics that they use to gain influence and show results in the short, medium and long term.  If they don’t have those in their back pocket, they probably haven’t done ABM at an impactful scale. 

  • Ask about their sales partnership

The right candidate should be able to discuss in detail about the work they did with Sales to bring their ABM strategy to life. Sales has to be an active partner in building the strategy, and participant in the execution. If that doesn’t come up early in the conversation, I’d ask probing questions to gain a clear picture of their perspective on the sales role in an ABM strategy.

  • Listen for nuance – no 2 ABM programs are the same

Require detailed feedback on how ABM has worked for them at past organizations. Anyone can read a book on ABM (and may I suggest THIS one, I hear it gets great reviews) and parrot out high-level concepts, but an ABM professional will be able to address the nuance in the execution of their strategy. 

TOOL: Here are some sample interview questions and red flags to look for.

Tip #3: Set them up for success

Your new hire is facing big expectations; support them by providing air-cover with your leadership peers across the departmental aisle. Build consensus on the importance of an ABM strategy in advance of their arrival.  

Once they are in place, remove barriers that impact their ability to be effective, such as resourcing, budget, and competing initiatives. 

Hiring an ABM marketer is challenging, and the market is competitive. Use these tips and tools to attract the right talent, and let us know what you found useful. Happy hiring!