How to Get Started with ABM: Step 3 - Building Out Your DMU

Alex Olley
Alex Olley
Co-Founder, Head of Revenue and Marketing
July 6, 2020

In Part 2 we laid out the steps you need to build out our target account list. You’re probably looking at it and feeling pretty good- you definitely should be but ABM doesn’t stop there!

Terms like ‘Champion’, ‘Key Influencer’, ‘Budget Holder’, ‘Decision Maker’ have been swirling around businesses since before Marty and The Doc hopped into a DeLorean. Each persona within a company was seen as a hurdle to overcome to get to the end... The ultimate decision-maker. And from there it was just you and them, you’d climbed to the top and discarded the obstacles before.

However, that’s not how businesses work any more. All the personas along the way to get a deal closed aren’t individual hurdles, they’re one function. Every persona has their place and that is the Decision-Making Unit. Bear in mind that an average B2B transaction involved 15 individuals in the DMU. So we’ve got some real work to do.

The best ABM programs stem from understanding who is involved, what roles and functions they play within your target accounts so you can execute on the most relevant and accurate approach.

So, here are the 3 steps to building out your DMU:

Audit the decision-making unit

Speak with your sales teams and your customer success teams. Find out from the very start to the very end of your last 10-20 deals: who was involved? What were their job roles or functions? At what point in the process did they become involved? And, of course, what is their role in the decision-making process?

We know that all companies aren’t homogenous and that this can vary, however, the similarities and overlap of the organisational structures your target account list has will come as a great surprise. Auditing your DMU and setting it out isn’t there to be a set-in-stone map but a guide to help you put your efforts and resources into the right place.

Get under the skin of the Buyer Personas that make up the DMU

A great feedback loop can make this work really well. Your customer success teams are vital here too. From those accounts that are now clients, what challenges did they face when choosing your solution? Has that changed or what new challenges do they face? This helps you really understand what is happening on the ground.

It doesn’t stop there, however, a good ABM program can help your teams know the buyer personas; a great one will help your team walk a mile in their shoes. Map out the challenges each persona would likely be facing, understand what would influence their decisions and be well informed of the trends within the realm of your personas. Yes, everyone will react in their own individual way to challenges and trends- we can’t necessarily plot for that but what we can be confident about is that the catalysts for change in your DMU will be daily consistent.

Identify the Buyer Personas

At this point you should have a concept of the buyer personas that make up your DMU. Much like a game in which you haven’t unlocked certain characters but you know they’re there. Well, it’s time to get unlocking! There’s a wealth of tools available from LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator, Cognism, ZoomInfo, heck, even some good ol’ Google searches that can help you and your teams put actual names into each account next to their relevant buyer persona.

The idea here is to really ensure that we’re being proactive in finding and connecting with actual people and not stopping at the concept stage hoping that we will stumble across people who will fit. As you talk with your accounts and research, your DMU could expand or contract, two different people may fit into one or more personas, and that’s ok, being nimble and constantly refining each step will only make your ABM program now better but also help you plan out in the future.


There’s the magic three to identifying your DMU. You now have your ICP in place, your target account list ready and your decision-making unit identified both conceptually but also with people to target. Next comes the real fun, all this planning has led you to now start thinking and setting up your campaign execution strategy.

We’ll be covering that in the next blog so for now, give yourself that well-earned rest, ready to smash it!

For our full "How to Get Started with ABM" series:

Step 1 Building Your ICP

Step 2 Building Your Target Account List

Step 4 Focusing in on Your Strategy & Goals

Step 5 Let’s Talk Tactics

Step 6 Choosing Your Tier 1 + Tier 2 Tactics

Step 7 Building Your Team

Step 8 Measuring ROI

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