The Language of Account-Based Marketing

December 28, 2015 Mark Emmons


The evolution of Account-Based Marketing has gone something like this over the last couple of years:

  • Interesting idea
  • Red-hot trend
  • Mainstream strategy

That steady progression is why you likely know that ABM brings together sales and marketing efforts to focus on high-value target accounts with the greatest chance of becoming closed deals. But do you still feel like you’re having some trouble speaking the language of ABM?

We’re here to help with the LeanData glossary of commonly used Account-Based Marketing words and phrases.

Account: A company that you want to track. An account can be a current customer, a prospect, a partner or even a competitor.
Account-Based Advertising: Tools that allow you to create focused advertising campaigns that place messaging directly in front of the people who matter the most inside valued targets.
Account-Based Reporting: The ability to report on your marketing in aggregate from an account-based perspective rather than focusing on individual people.
Account-Based Selling: The strategy of taking an account-centric approach to closing deals rather than focusing on just individual leads.
Alignment: Refers to the need for sales and marketing teams to work in close coordination throughout the entire buyer’s journey. This is a bedrock principle to a successful ABM strategy.
Buyer’s Journey: The path that a prospective customer travels during the sales lifecycle. Important because studies have shown a majority of that journey is spent by a potential customer doing independent research on your product or solution.
Buyer Personas: The fictional representations of people inside an account. These are created to provide a playbook on how best to penetrate an account. They also are valuable in generating specific messaging toward the real people who fit those personas.
Enrichment: Filling in missing information to give you a more complete picture of leads, contacts and accounts in your database. It’s vital to have complete visibility into the accounts that you want to target.
Cadence: The strategy of directing a measured stream of messaging and relevant content toward a prospect in hopes of furthering a business relationship – hopefully in a way that is relatively non-intrusive.
Contact: Represents a person in the Salesforce system who has graduated from the lead status. A contact is considered to be qualified and resides inside an account.
Content Marketing: The process of creating and distributing relevant information to target accounts with the goal of generating interest in your product or solution.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM): A database that businesses use to maintain relationships with customers and prospects.
CRM Integration: When external systems work together with Salesforce or other CRMs to help businesses interact with customers and prospects.
Cross-sell: When an existing customer buys additional products or services in different categories. ABM fosters closer relationships with customers – providing greater opportunities for a “land-and-expand” strategy.
Data Quality: CRM databases often are full of duplicate and missing records. Maintaining high data quality is essential to any successful ABM program.
Demand Generation: Marketing programs focused on driving awareness and interest in a company’s products and services.
Inbound Marketing: These are marketing activities designed to attract interest in your organization so that people request to learn more about your products and solutions.
Lead: Represents a person or company not yet qualified into a contact. This is someone who has appeared on your radar and might be interested in learning more about your product or solution.
Lead Management: A system of assigning and distributing leads to the proper sales reps so they can be evaluated, cultivated and pursued.
Lead Nurturing: Practice of developing a communication process – through email, phone, social media, direct mail and so on – that keeps a prospect engaged while gradually nudging them through the sales cycle toward a potential deal.
Lead Recycling: A system of passing a lead from sales back to marketing because it is not yet ready to buy. Marketing then can continue nurturing the lead.
Marketing Automation: Technology that allows businesses to streamline, automate and measure marketing tasks and workflow. This increases operational efficiency and grows revenue faster. Systems like Marketo, Oracle Eloqua and Hubspot are examples.
Marketing Operations: The people who support marketing’s strategic planning, budgeting, measurement, process development, marketing automation and data management. The marketing ops role can extend to demand generation as well as helping sales and marketing to remain aligned.
Marketing Technology: Also known as MarTech, for short. This is the industry space of emerging tech tools that help marketers do their job better and grow revenue for their businesses.
Personalization: Creating messaging and content that speaks directly to an individual person in hopes of creating unique conversations that eventually develop into full-fledged business relationships.
Predictive Analytics: Technology tools that help businesses determine which prospective targets have the best chance of becoming customers. These have become increasingly prevalent for companies using ABM strategies.
Sales Operations: The people responsible for building and maintaining the sales machine through CRM optimization and sales enablement. They facilitate both sales and marketing teams in a key support role.
Segmentation: A marketing technique where you subdivide your database into strategic pieces so you are targeting the specific leads and contacts inside an account that are crucial to closing a deal.
Smarketing: Fun phrase to describe the practice of aligning sales and marketing efforts into a single, unified effort.
Social Selling: The process of building relationships digitally through social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It’s an effective way of influencing buyers even before they are identified as potential leads.
Target Accounts: These are the high-value companies that your sales and marketing team have identified as the businesses most likely to purchase your product or solution. A key step in any ABM strategy is the process of narrowing down your list of accounts to those that hold the greatest potential – and then focusing your efforts on those prospects.
Touches: Interactions that your sales and marketing teams have with a prospective customer during a sales cycle.
Upsell: Selling more of the same product to an existing customer. Just like in the case of cross-selling, ABM creates deep relationships with customers that can result in future business.


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