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4 min read

🎯ABM Targeting Tactics: Pinpointing the Decision-Makers

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It's no secret that account-based marketing (ABM) campaigns require segmented messaging to be effective. However, unless you're in the fortunate situation of knowing how buying decisions are made at a particular target account (for example, they're a previous client or you have inside information from a former employee), some assumptions will have to be made based on company size, job titles, and the nature of what you're selling.

This doesn't mean you should toss darts and guess! Following a simple three-step process, you can comprehensively map who your ABM campaign needs to talk to and what message each person should receive. In this post, we'll look at what this process could look like from the point of view of HubEnt, a (fictitious) agency focused on selling HubSpot Enterprise to established companies with over 1,000 employees.

1. Identify Buying Committee Members

The “buying committee” are the people who are likely to be part of the decision-making process (or will be providing feedback that could impact the decision). Your buyer personas should cover most members, and your sales team will be able to provide valuable additional information based on their experience.

Depending on the product or service offered, the buying committee could be a surprisingly large group. If our theoretical friends at HubEnt want to sell all six HubSpot Hubs (below)
account based marketing using hubspot

to an account, the buying committee will, at a minimum, include:

  • Head of Marketing
  • Head of Sales
  • Head of Customer Support
  • Head of Data
  • Head of IT (could be head of Data)
  • Head of Finance
  • Head of RevOps

And that's just the potential department leads! There will also be additional stakeholders, including team leads and high-value individual contributors. For the marketing side, there could be an Operations and an Analytics team, the leads of which have a significant say in deciding whether a migration to HubSpot is appropriate.

Remember that in some organizations, one person may have multiple roles, some roles may not exist, and job titles will vary. The data available in your prospecting tool will help identify a target account's specific situation.

2. Define and Assign Functional Roles

Once you have identified the expected buying committee members and their potential roles, assign each member a functional role. The functional role describes the strategic responsibilities and tasks the person would be responsible for (e.g., the active role of your car’s transmission is to transfer power from the engine to the wheels). 

For instance, the “Head of IT” could be the target account’s Chief Information Officer (CIO). In the context of Account-Based Marketing (ABM), the CIO’s functional role may be something like: 

Responsible for aligning information technology strategies with broader business goals; may also oversee the development and implementation of technological solutions tailored to the needs of high-value accounts.

Let’s take the Head of Marketing Operations as another example. By job title, this person could be a director, manager, or an individual contributor. Regardless of their seniority, however, their functional role remains the same:

Implements and maintains technological solutions for the marketing team, focusing on automation, reporting, and data management functionalities.

3. Assign Buying Roles

Between job title and functional role, you should be able to make educated assumptions about each person's buying role. The buying role is the individual's role in the decision-making process and is agnostic of the functional role and job title. Unless the buying committee you identified is unusually small (e.g., you're targeting small companies or your solution is very specific), there will be multiple people with each buying role. 

Understanding these roles will help guide your communications and content strategy, allowing you to craft messages tailored to each role's needs and interests.

HubSpot provides nine out-of-the-box buying roles. While you can add additional roles, the default roles cannot be edited or removed. Only some of these will be relevant for ABM efforts; the rest come into the picture during the sales process. Here’s a quick look at the five relevant ones:

  1. Decision Maker: The person (or people) with the ultimate authority to approve the purchase. Decision Makers make the final call on whether or not to proceed with the proposed solution.
  2. End User: These are the individuals who will be using the product or service on a daily basis. Their feedback may or may not matter when it comes to decision-making.
  3. Blocker: Blockers can slow down or even stop the sales process. They might have concerns or objections about the product, service, or change in general.
  4. Budget Holder: Budget holders control the finances and decide whether funds get made available to purchase the product or service. 
  5. Champion: Champions are internal advocates for your product or service. They understand your solution's value and actively promote it within their organization.

The other four options – Executive Sponsor, Influencer, Legal & Compliance, and Other – will only become known (or, in the case of Legal, relevant) once conversations start happening.

If HubEnt were to assign a buying role to each of the seven committee members listed above, plus several other roles that are easy to deduce, the mapping could look something like this:

  • Head of Marketing: Decision Maker, End User
  • Head of Sales: Decision Maker, End User
  • Head of Customer Support: Decision Maker, End User
  • Head of Data: Blocker
  • Head of IT: Blocker
  • Head of Finance: Budget Holder, Decision Maker
  • Head of RevOps: Decision Maker
  • Marketing Operations Manager: Champion, End User
  • Sales Operations Manager: Champion, End User
  • Account Executive: End User

4. Initial Assumptions Will Be Wrong. This is a Feature, not a Bug

It’s important to remember that while your initial role assignments are educated guesses, they are still guesses. Your initial assumptions regarding who matches each purchasing role may be incorrect. This is ok. Getting to know the actual human beings that occupy those roles and engaging with multiple people within the organization are part of ABM's goals. 

About HubSpot’s AMB Tools

Identifying buying roles is just one part of running a successful ABM campaign. To get the full picture of the power and capabilities of HubSpot’s AMB tools and how to use them best, download our latest guide, Mastering Account Based Marketing. This step-by-step guide will shepherd you through the process of setting up your campaigns and set you up for success.  

Download now to access:

🔍 Key Strategies for Choosing Target Accounts
📧 Personalized Engagement Plans
📊 Predictive Analytics for Precision Targeting
💡 Tips on Identifying Key Decision-Makers
🛠️ Efficient HubSpot ABM Tool Setup

Get the guide and revolutionize your marketing strategy for big deals!

Additional HubSpot Resources

Why Your B2B Needs a HubSpot Portal Audit
5 Useful HubSpot Certificates for B2B Startups
8 Reasons To Choose HubSpot CMS For Your B2B Website