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ABM Readiness Assessment & Checklist

Last updated Jan 17, 2024

Is Your B2B Company Ready for Account-Based Marketing?

Many B2B firms large and small are looking to ABM — account-based marketing — as a strategy to grow revenue from key accounts and improve marketing ROI.

Of course, to do ABM right takes some planning and preparation before the execution phases kick in.

If you’re thinking about taking an ABM approach to your B2B company’s sales and marketing efforts, I’ve put together a table/checklist below that’s designed to help assess your readiness for an ABM-based strategy.

Let’s take a closer look at this ABM readiness assessment checklist below.

Table of Contents (+/-)
    abm account based marketing
    ABM is a powerful B2B marketing and sales approach in the right situations and with proper planning. Check your company’s ABM readiness below.

    This post may contain a few referral links to vendor partners. We may receive compensation for purchases made via these links, at no additional cost to buyers.

    ABM Readiness — Preparing for Account-Based Marketing

    Getting Ready for ABM-Focused Marketing and Sales

    While it’s easy to say you and your company want to ‘do ABM’, it’s another thing to actually do it — and do it well.

    That’s where the ABM readiness assessment checklist in the table below can come in handy. Use it to see where your B2B firm is ready for ABM and also where you may still have some gaps in preparation.

    You may look at everything below and decide that ABM is not for you at this time. That’s fine too. Many companies can get along well doing traditional B2B marketing instead of ABM.

    It’s also possible and even advisable to run ABM pilot campaigns alongside traditional B2B marketing efforts. Comparing the results can help guide your future marketing plans, strategies, and investment decisions.

    abm readiness checklist concept
    Are you ready to implement ABM? Let’s find out below.

    Now let’s take a closer look at the ABM readiness checklist below.

    ABM Readiness Assessment Checklist

    A Simple ABM Readiness Checklist and Guide

    Here’s the 13-point ABM checklist. See the notes below the table for more description details, tips, and related ABM guidance.

    ABM Assessment AreaWhy Important?Yes or
    In Process?
    Attractive ABM
    segment exists 1
    ABM strategy fit;
    Increased odds of ABM success
    Have ABM buy-in from
    company execs,

    sales & marketing 2
    Mission alignment;
    Shared purpose and goals;
    ABM budget agreement
    Dedicated ABM team
    defined 3
    Sales & marketing alignment;
    Proper resources committed
    ABM program success metrics
    agreed and in place 4
    Shared ABM goals;
    ABM measurement & ROI;
    Closed-loop adjustments
    Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
    defined and approved 5
    Shared understanding of
    ABM targets & key account characteristics
    Initial ABM target accounts
    named 6
    Improved initial focus;
    Faster ABM ramp-up
    Target account buying committees
    ID’d and mapped 7
    Detailed buying process insights;
    Improved outreach targeting and messaging
    Have valid contact data
    for target account

    individuals 8
    Improved outreach efficiency;
    Personalized messaging
    Have access to updated
    firmographic and
    buyer intent insights 9
    Assessment or confirmation of ICP fit;
    Discovery of lookalike accounts;
    ABM program expansion
    Tools and resources in place for customized B2B campaigns 10Campaign enablement;
    ABM reach and efficiency
    Customizable content
    available or ready to create 11
    Content leverage;
    Time and cost efficiencies
    Content and messaging
    personalization ready 12
    Improved message effectiveness
    Target account engagement
    plan ready 13
    Coordinated ABM tactics;
    Effective ABM teamwork;
    Tactics & budget alignment
    ABM Readiness Assessment Checklist — Preparing for Account-Based Marketing

    ABM Readiness Assessment Checklist — Table Footnotes

    1 Attractive ABM Segment — For ABM program purposes, is your target segment small enough that you can effectively target individual accounts?

    Within this segment, do you have a long sales cycle with complex deals? ABM is often well-suited for these scenarios. Also, is your average contract value (ACV) high enough to justify the investment in ABM?

    2 ABM Buy-In — Is there strong buy-in for ABM from company executive management and both sales and marketing teams? Team alignment on ABM goals, processes, and metrics is crucial. This area also includes committing to an ABM budget for resources, tools, tactics, etc., as needed for program success.

    3 Dedicated ABM Team — Do you have dedicated resources assigned to ABM initiatives? This could include personnel for content creation or adaptation, campaign execution, ABM performance metrics tracking, etc.

    People assigned to your ABM program could be ‘full-time’ ABMers or could have part-time assignments to ABM tasks. You may also have ABM-focused marketing agency or contractor personnel assigned to various ABM tasks.

    4 ABM Success Metrics — Are you prepared to measure the success of your ABM program? Define your key ABM metrics and be ready to track progress against your goals.

    Good to Know: ABM differs from traditional B2B marketing approaches, so the metrics are different as well. Learn more here about ABM success metrics.

    5 Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) — Do you have a well-defined Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)? This should include ABM target account firmographics, buying behaviors, pain points, and motivations related to your product or service solution.

    6 ABM Target Accounts — Have you identified a specific list of target accounts (by company name) that align well with your ICP?

    Having one or several known ‘named accounts’ as your initial ABM target set is a huge advantage. It lets you start small (if needed) and hone your ABM program and skills at a smaller scale, then grow and expand from there.

    It also gives you some reference accounts for tweaking your ICP as needed and finding attractive ‘lookalike accounts’ that you can add to the ABM target list.

    leadfeeder abm inverted sales funnel
    In ABM, the marketing/sales funnel is inverted to focus on best-fit accounts and contacts first, then expand and engage further from there. Source: Leadfeeder

    Learn more about the Leadfeeder approach to ABM.

    7 Target Account Buying Committees — Have you mapped out the buying committee within each named target account? For ABM target accounts that you’ve identified by company name, you’ll need to identify key decision-makers and influencers (by individual name and title/role) for personalized outreach.

    8 Target Account Contact Data — Do you have accurate and up-to-date contact information for target account individuals? Also, consider data hygiene and regional legal compliance aspects of your contact data.

    9 Company Firmographics and Buyer Intent Data — Can you access and leverage data about your ABM target accounts? This could include firmographic data, buying intent signals, and social media engagement.

    Pro Tip: There are many ABM-capable software platforms available that can help in this area. Learn more about ABM and website visitor tracking and also the cost/budget aspects of ABM tools and platforms.

    10 Custom Campaign Tools and Resources — Do you have the necessary marketing automation technology to implement personalized campaigns? This could include CRM, email marketing tools, and ad retargeting platforms.

    ABM-focused platforms typically have feature sets designed to enable this ‘at scale’ for larger enterprise-level ABM programs.

    Alternatively, some marketing agencies with ABM focus may have ready access to these tools and capabilities, provided as part of an overall ABM project engagement.

    Good to Know: ABM doesn’t need to be super expensive or martech-heavy in terms of costs and skills, especially for smaller B2B companies just testing the ABM waters. Learn more here about lower-cost ABM approaches and also doing ABM for smaller businesses.

    11 Customizable Content Availability — Do you have a library of content addressing the specific needs and pain points of your target accounts? This could include product/service overviews, customer case studies, white papers, webinars, videos, industry reports, etc.

    Consider all the content resources you already have at your disposal. Website content, promotional pieces, videos, images/graphics, etc.

    The more you can leverage, adapt, and customize from existing material, the better. Save time and budget by avoiding creating everything ‘from scratch’ for your ABM content efforts.

    12 Content and Messaging Personalization — Can you personalize your content and messaging for each target account and individual or role? Where possible, tailor your approach to resonate with individual buyer needs and interests within each target account.

    13 ABM Target Engagement Plan — Do you have a coordinated sales and marketing plan for engaging with ABM target accounts across multiple channels, as appropriate for each account or segment of ‘lookalike’ accounts?

    For known target accounts (e.g., named strategic accounts), this may be led by direct sales outreach, combined and coordinated with marketing-driven tactics like email, social media, direct mail, live events, etc.

    By using the checklist in the table above, B2B companies can gain a clear understanding of their ABM readiness and determine if ABM is the right strategy for them.

    Remember, ABM is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and careful planning and preparation are essential for success.

    ABM Readiness Assessment — Closing Thoughts

    Prepare for ABM Success First — Then Make It Happen

    Like any B2B marketing or sales initiative, good up-front planning can pay off well. ABM programs are no different.

    In fact, the fundamental nature of ABM-style marketing, with both sales and marketing teams working in tight coordination on a shared mission, argues for more and better planning, not less.

    The ABM readiness assessment and checklist described above are important parts of this process. Use it to see if your company is truly ready for ABM, to plan out key aspects of your program, and to help identify and close any important gaps that might otherwise hurt your chances of ABM success.

    Also, keep in mind that you can start very small and cheap with ABM if this approach fits your needs. This is especially good for small companies using ABM strategies.

    Related Info: Many ABM technology platform and tools vendors have excellent resources and guides in this area as well. See the ABM Leadership Alliance for additional ABM resources.

    Whether you choose to deploy an ABM program or not, I wish you good luck with all of your B2B marketing and sales initiatives!

    Questions or Comments?

    I hope this discussion of ABM readiness and the assessment checklist table have been helpful. Here are a few related questions for you:

    • Are you planning or executing any ABM programs this year? If not, why not?
    • How would you adapt the ABM checklist above for your company’s needs?
    • Do you think ABM is easier or harder than your other B2B marketing efforts?
    • Do you think ABM marketing programs provide better ROI overall?

    Feel free to add more in the comments below with any thoughts, feedback, or related questions. Thanks also for any social shares on this post via the buttons below!

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