Contrary to how it seems, Account Based Marketing (ABM) is not a new marketing approach… But its popularity has risen substantially in B2B marketing thanks to its cost-effective and personalised way of engaging today’s considered B2B buyer.
In fact, it’s expected to grow 11% between 2021 and 2022 alone 🚀
And that’s all down to the results that ABM campaigns deliver:
Inevitably, with these results, it’s easy to see why the demand for Account Based Marketers has risen. The tricky thing is, ABM marketers were already rare and so coupled with demand, the shortage makes them particularly hard to find. And you want to find the right candidate.
You need someone that can: Identify your top accounts, leverage tried and tested methods to create successful campaigns, and truly align with sales to convert opportunities.
With specialist marketing roles like this one, the key is to ask the right questions. So in this article, we’ll give you the 9 best interview questions to ask an Account Based Marketing (ABM) Manager, and tips for writing your own.
Let’s dive in 👇
|New to Account Based Marketing?
Take a look at this podcast for how an ABM marketing strategy builds your sales pipeline and drives business growth🎙
Here, you’re looking for key buzzwords such as: customer-centric, revenue growth, sales, stakeholder management, and personalisation.
Above all else, successful ABM managers know the customer inside and out.
They understand Ideal Customer Personas (ICPs), pain points, content for different funnel stages, and channels of engagement. They know the company they want to target and the specific individuals.
Without the customer-centricity bit, you can say goodbye to successful ABM campaigns.
They must be able to grab the audience’s attention and create value which nurtures them towards a sale.
Once this is covered, you’d expect your Account Based Marketer to talk about being commercially driven, aligning with sales to achieve revenue goals, and having high interpersonal and influencing power to coordinate multiple stakeholders.
There are a ton of key criteria that should have been included in your job description for this role (check out the key ABM responsibilities and requirements here).
But to simplify this, there are three key attributes we recommend looking for in an ABM specialist interview:
Attribute #1: Integrated with sales – An ideal fit is someone that enjoys working with sales and talks of sharing the same quotas and revenue goals. 💡Bonus tip: If they can give examples of how they’ve dealt with tricky sales people to influence them into better collaboration, if this is what you need.
Attribute #2: Strong influencer – Successful ABM requires coordinated efforts across multiple teams and roles. 💡Bonus tip: Ask the candidate for an example of when they’ve positively influenced others to steer a campaign in the right direction.
Attribute #3: Strategic – Even if you’re hiring for an execution-led role, you want to find someone that thinks of the bigger picture and how activities work as part of the overall ABM strategy. 💡Bonus tip: If you hear “ABM is a campaign”, this is a red flag – you’re likely to find your candidate is a broader marketer and not an ABM specialist.
Whilst simple, this question can drum up very different responses. Which makes it another great pre-qualifying question.
You’ll be able to understand the candidate’s level of experience and knowledge with ABM in a snapshot.
Rather than mentioning at a high level that it improves ROI and is personalised 1-2-1 marketing, the ultimate answer is one that articulates how and why ABM is a hyper-efficient, hyper-effective B2B marketing strategy.
Pssst. Drop down to question 4 for what a solid answer includes 👇
📕 If you’re looking for more questions like this, take a look at these senior leaders killer ABM interview questions.
If you get a thorough answer in question 3, you may not need this question – but the answer here is useful to help sense check the candidate’s previous response 👇
Here, you’re looking for three key components – timeline, actions, and parties involved. And of course, the end results.
It’s always interesting to hear how a candidate would start this project, and which key champions they’d leverage internally and externally. ABM specialists often need to work with a number of stakeholders across sales, marketing, PR, training, and customer service.
And most importantly, how would they get everyone on-board and work closely together to make strategies deliver strong sales revenue?
ABM usually starts by identifying customers with the biggest revenue potential. This can be based on a number of factors like profiles of high-spenders in your existing database, specific industry sectors, or company sizes that may have a bigger need for your services.
The key thing to look out for here is that marketing and sales should work together to create a list of target accounts that match the ideal customer profile (ICP).
This is essential to know who is going to reach out to the account, what the message will say, and when sales should engage with the individual. These should be established long before the start of any campaigns to ensure you meet follow-up SLAs.
🎥 Take a look at this video for why it’s crucial in ABM that sales and marketing align:
Through experience and tried and tested methods, the right candidate has all the learnings and tools to help ensure you experience successful ABM.
If you’re unfamiliar with an approach to ABM, HubSpot suggests 5 key steps to a winning strategy:
1) Create alignment across sales & marketing – Whilst aligning on sales goals, it also helps to create a seamless transition for the customer from lead through to final sale.
2) Conduct research to determine account personas – Targeting the right accounts is fundamental, so the ABM specialist should consider customer pain point fit, high-value opportunities, and company information like maturity/size.
3) Create account plans – This looks at the key decision makers and the channels and content they’d need to attract them.
4) Attract contacts – This is the execution of targeting to get your business in front of your contacts – it includes events, industry publications, newsletters etc.
5) Get internal buy-in – To secure a sale, sales and marketing teams need to gain buy-in from all stakeholders involved in the sales process. The decision maker is likely to need sign-off from someone on the Senior Leadership Team and will need your help proving the investment is worthy (e.g. same results / proof of ROI).
📕 You can find out more on this right here.
The short answer: Strategy. Always.
Tools are an interesting one. Ultimately, any mention of these should come after a solid ABM strategy… Especially as you can get a pilot going without any tools at all!
A good Account Based Marketer will likely mention tech that can help with measuring and reporting results.
Just be wary if a candidate focuses too much on the tools they might lean on, as it can be a sign of a lack of experience and understanding of strategies.
There’s an abundance of tools out there to support ABM. When looking for your great ABM hire, you want to seek those that lean towards having strong technical and evaluation skills.
So the tools you’d expect them to mention would be ones with functionality that supports:
💡Top tip: It’s better if the candidate talks about the tech rather than the creative side. As a general rule of thumb, we find that those led by creative tend to be less commercially-focused.
To build a winning relationship with sales teams, Account Based Marketers need to focus on a combination of personnel and process.
Relationship building. Through helping sales teams solve their challenges, ABM specialists add value to the sales teams and build more collaborative, win-win working relationships.
Listening, identifying and understanding sales needs is therefore crucial to finding solutions and better ways of working.
A typical process may look like this:
Regular communication falls into both of these. It’s important to ensure everyone is kept up-to-date and prepared for actions, building a personal relationship helps improve overall performance and makes it easier to resolve challenges.
Hopefully you found these interview questions helpful – no doubt you will want to weave in some of your own to align to any specific needs you have.
One thing to remember is that ABM marketers are in high demand right now. So whilst you want to find the right candidate, ensure you’ve prepared for key questions they’ll ask about your business to help them to decide if it’s the right fit for them too.
In a recent survey, we found that flexibility, bonuses, and senior leadership’s appreciation and understanding of marketing were flagged as the most desirable attributes in a role. *link to new marketing survey*.
Need more help? Take a look at our complete hiring guide for account based marketing jobs.
Ready to hire? Dive straight in and book a call with our specialist Account Based Marketing recruiters – we focus on supporting B2B tech companies.
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