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Account-based Marketing Glossary: 30 Terms to Know

Here is a glossary of 30 Account-based Marketing terms to help you differentiate your TAL from your TAM!


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Declan Mulkeen

strategicabm 550 60

Dec 16 2020 - 9min Read Date published: Date modified: 2021-09-10


ABM (Account-based Marketing) has certainly been one of the most popular B2B Sales and Marketing acronyms of 2020. And the world of ABM has certainly created numerous terms that may be new (and confusing) to some. 

Do you know the difference between TAL and TAM? Or Firmographic and Technographic? We've put together this glossary of 30 Account-based Marketing (ABM!) terms that every 'ABMer' needs to know. 

The key test for an acronym is to ask whether it helps or hurts communication. - Elon Musk

Account awareness

Account awareness of your organisation is a key indicator to determine MQA readiness. Branded web traffic and engagement interactions (such as email open rates, percentage of content consumed, engagement, etc.) are key indicators of awareness.

Account engagement

How much time has a good-fit account spent engaging with your organisation? Time spent reading your content, browsing your site, opening your emails, or speaking with representatives or chatbots are all actions to monitor to determine account engagement - and MQA readiness.

Account insight

Account insights provide the data and intelligence to show which accounts are showing a higher propensity to purchase and are actively in a buying journey.

“Insights are hugely important - they’re the difference between having a meaningful conversation with an account or having a generic conversation with them. If you have insight into the account’s business, into their challenges, into the opportunities in their market, you will be viewed as a trusted advisor.” - Fes Askari, Director of Sales and Strategic Accounts at Strategic IC

Account lifecycle

This is the ABM version of the Buyer’s journey. While the well-accepted stages of Awareness, Consideration and Decision are valid for an individual they are not valid for an Account. Account lifecycles must include the Buying Committee and typically includes Acquisition, Acceleration, and Expansion.

Account-based Marketing (ABM)

Account-based Marketing (ABM) is a strategy that treats an account (or cluster of accounts) as a marketing of one. ABM is highly personalised and harnesses technology, data, insights and creativity to develop relationships, build reputation and drive revenue in your most important accounts.

Account-based Marketing playbook

An orchestrated set of Account-based Marketing tactics to target each Target Account. A typical ABM playbook would include the value proposition, messaging, content, creatives and media channels used to target the relevant account(s).

Account-based Marketing program

There are generally three accepted types of ABM program: One-to-one (also referred to as Strategic ABM), One-to-few (also referred to as ABM Lite) and One-to-many (also known as Programmatic ABM).

Account tiering

This is the process of ranking each Target Account based on how close it matches your ICP. We tier Accounts as Tier 1, 2 and 3 which dictates the type of ABM program they receive (and the level of investment and resources).


This term is associated with One-to-few ABM programs where you are targeting a subset of your Target Accounts List. A One-to-few program typically targets a small group of accounts that share similar business characteristics, challenges or business drivers, e.g. Fintech companies operating in the USA. We recommend a maximum of 15 accounts per quarter should be enrolled in a One-to-few program.

Decision Making Unit (DMU)

B2B buying decisions are rarely made by one individual which now requires marketers to influence a wide group of stakeholders. Each member of the Decision Making Unit plays a significant role in the B2B buying decision, regardless of seniority.

Firmographic data

We’re all familiar with demographics (people). Firmographics is the same but in this case for companies. It allows you to segment them by unique identifiers, e.g. size, industry, turnover, no. of employees, etc.

First-party data

This is your data in your CRM. In ABM we refer to ‘first-party intent data’ - this is insight via tracking visitors to your website with automation tools such as HubSpot or other website analytics tools. This insight is called engagement data, and can be a strong indicator of intent.

Ideal customer profile (ICP)

This is produced via an intensive market study which incorporates firmographic and technographic data as well as information specific to your business, your current customers and market. The ultimate output is a profile that you can apply to Account Selection.

Intent data

Intent data is information collected about a company’s digital activity, to provide insight into their purchase intent and online research behaviour. Using insight from a range of third party data sources, over time and mapped to the buyer’s journey, this insight allows sales and marketing teams to build a clear view of a target’s challenges and buying motives, topic searches, intent velocity (how active they are around that topic), and other Account-based Intelligence.

Lifetime value (LTV)

This is commonly used in ABM to understand the value of each account (typically calculated as annual expected revenue multiplied by average customer lifetime). ABM is best suited to accounts with the highest LTV.

Marketing Qualified Account (MQA)

Describes the entire high propensity account/decision-making unit (rather than one individual person within that account) who, following your ABM activities, are showing a degree of sales readiness. This metric (and ABM as a strategic approach) is more aligned to how sales are focused on winning accounts as opposed to winning leads).


One-to-few is deployed when you can segment target accounts into small clusters of 15 to 20 accounts where they have something in common, be it they belong to the same industry, the same sector, they share a common challenge, a similar business driver, et cetera. You are now increasing the level of customisation and personalisation with additional resources and investment required.


The new ‘kid’ on the block. One-to-many ABM has exploded in recent years largely down to technology. One-to-many is used to target hundreds to thousands of accounts as part of an ‘always on’ strategy to generate awareness and engagement.


The most personalised form of ABM, usually only reserved for your Tier 1 accounts - be they existing clients which you wish to grow or retain or new logos that you are looking to acquire. Highly customised programs with deep dive account research and high use of data-inspired creativity to create the emotional connection with the relevant personas within the account.

One key difference between One-to-many and any kind of One-to-few, One-to-one ABM program, is the level of research that you're going to carry out.

Remember, One-to-many is little to no personalisation, whereas you need to dig deep and carry out research at the industry level, at the account level that you're looking to target [for One-to-one or few]. - Declan Mulkeen, CMO at Strategic IC

Pipeline acceleration

Pipeline acceleration is the strategy of increasing the speed that accounts go through the sales process with the ultimate goal of increasing revenue. It requires sales and marketing teams to work together to create an acceleration campaign.

Programmatic advertising

Programmatic advertising has revolutionised ABM allowing you to target specific accounts, and the people within those accounts, with adverts that align with the buyer’s journey, e.g. awareness-type, followed by more product-specific through to more bottom of the funnel.

Psychographic data

We’re all familiar with demographics (age, gender, location, etc.). Psychographics looks at ‘soft data’ such as personality, attitudes, and lifestyles. This combined with demographic data can help you better understand your Target account audience and adjust your messaging and content accordingly.

Sales and marketing alignment

The objective of sales and marketing alignment is for both teams to work together to hit the same ‘North Star’. This alignment sees the two teams sharing goals, revenue targets, technologies and processes - essential for ABM to be successful.

Sales enablement

The process of providing the collateral, content, data, insights, tools and technology that your Sales teams need to work seamlessly, delivering the best prospect and customer engagement experience. Sales enablement also looks at optimising the entire prospect and customer engagement process to provide the least possible friction in the buyer’s journey.

Target Account List (TAL)

Once you have your TAM and your ICP, you can create your Target Account List (TAL). This is a subset of a company’s total available market that’s the focus of ABM efforts. These accounts closely match the company’s ideal customer profile, and are the Accounts that you will target during a specific period, e,g. the next quarter or longer. Typically, you will tier your Accounts (we use 1, 2 and 3) to denote those that are of more and less importance (and priority).

Technographic data

Tecnographics is all about understanding a target account’s technology stack to understand what hardware and software they use, which tools and applications, etc. Much like demographics, firmographics and psychographics, technographic profiling is of paramount importance for SaaS companies looking to understand the market and their competitors.

Third-party data

This is information collected by third party providers (typically via cookies, and at the IP level) and enables insight into intent across sites that are not your own. This provides a wider view into an account’s interest and intent across the web, and can highlight intent on particular topics and sites relevant to your campaign focus.

Three 'Rs'

The three R's of ABM define the ultimate aim of any ABM program: Reputation, Relationships and Revenue.

  • Reputation: Aiming to drive awareness and preference with your target accounts, build reputation in new markets, and improve credibility.
  • Relationships: Identifying, engaging and deepening relationships and insight with key account stakeholders. References, referrals and advocates are key indicators of success here. 
  • Revenue: The end goal - to grow and accelerate pipeline, increase win rates and deal size, enter new markets and sell new offerings as a result of your ABM efforts. 

Total Addressable Market (TAM)

Your Total Addressable Market (TAM) is the maximum potential revenue you could generate from the market in which you operate.

Value proposition

Many an ABM program will succeed or fail based on the alignment of your value proposition to your target accounts’ pain. The value proposition is the “why” and differentiator that feeds into your entire messaging strategy.


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