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Frequently used account based marketing terms.

Read Time: 3 Mins

Like any marketing or sales strategy, account based marketing (ABM) uses its own set of terms and acronyms that may or may not be similar to those used when talking about demand gen programs. And, like most things marketing, different organizations tend to use slightly different terminology, or even mix up terms (I’m looking at you, ICP). How’s a new—or experienced—ABMer to understand it all?

We’ve compiled a list of the most common ABM-related terms so you can stop Googling and get back to planning campaigns.

First off, let’s define ABM.

What is Account Based Marketing (ABM)?

ABM is a strategic approach that involves collaboration between marketing and sales to identify high-value accounts and target the buying teams within those accounts with highly personalized messaging & campaigns.

Terms we frequently use in account based marketing.

This is not the definitive list of terms, but these are the ones used most often in our conversations and the content we consume around the topic of ABM. Use this list as a map key next time you’re reading about ABM or watching a presentation on the subject. You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to follow along.

Ideal customer profile (ICP).

Definition of firmographic, environmental and behavioral attributes of companies that represent the most lucrative opportunities for the organization, based on past closed-won opportunities. ICP is sometimes mistakenly expanded as “ideal customer persona” which speaks to individual personas in the target audience, rather than attributes of the company as a whole.

Target account.

A company that your sales & marketing organization have collaboratively determined fits your ideal customer profile and have jointly decided to actively pursue.

Buying team/buying group.

The various people involved in the buying decision for your solution at a particular account. These people don’t necessarily comprise a formal team, but rather have a role in the discovery, evaluation, validation and purchase of the solution. They could represent multiple roles across multiple departments, including practitioners, IT, legal/governance, finance, and leadership. Some organizations call this the buying center.

Business decision maker (BDM).

The person on the buying team who authorizes the purchase (or “cuts the check”). This person’s actual title could be CMO, Senior Director of IT, etc. If they are in an IT role, they may be referred to as the IT Decision Maker or ITDM.


A member of the buying team or account with whom sales has a relationship and who is actively aiding sales navigate the selling process with information about and potentially introductions to the decision maker and other buying team members. This person is also likely providing information about the buying process (evaluation needs, how the decision is made, etc.). It’s important to understand that what’s important to this person may be different than what’s important to the decision maker.

Types of ABM Strategies.

Account based marketing comes in several different flavors, and you may even come across them being referred to simply as ABM, which is why it’s crucial to know these iterations and how they work.

Omnichannel account based marketing. 

Omnichannel marketing is the integration of content and messaging across the channels your prospects use, both digital and physical. The goal of omnichannel marketing is to create a consistent experience everywhere customers interact with your brand.

Strategic account based marketing.

Strategic ABM (also called 1:1 account based marketing) is a strategy in which each salesperson focuses on a single account, delivering tailor-made content and messaging to that account to produce better engagement, deeper relationships, and improved loyalty amongst prospects.

Account segmentation.

Instead of focusing on highly tailored content for an individual account, this strategy, also called 1:few ABM, pairs a single salesperson with a small group of accounts for which they can create custom content and messaging.

Programmatic account based marketing.

A type of ABM, also described as 1:many account based marketing, in which organizations target 100 or more accounts at a time that share common traits and pain points. 

Ready to learn about what it takes to create highly effective ABM programs? Check out our ABM foundations video series.

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