An Intro to Account Based Marketing: Part 3

Account Based Marketing Intro

Finding the Needle in the Haystack

Welcome to part 3 of our Account Based Marketing (ABM) series.

To quickly review, in part 1 and part 2, you saw us introduce ABM as a strategy and dive into the steps you can take to align sales and marketing.

In this blog, we’ll go over arguably the most important step in an ABM campaign — identifying target accounts. Let’s do it.

What Are Target Accounts?

To put it simply, target accounts are the companies you want to turn into customers.

We’re sure you could’ve guessed that.

Why Target Accounts Are So Important

Selecting your target accounts isn’t as simple as “I’d really like our business to handle the collateral needs for Coca Cola.” It’s about identifying exactly which accounts fit best in your business model, help build your brand, and effectively grow your company. Basically, if you’re spending the bulk of your energy and resources identifying these accounts, then you’re doing it right.

The right target accounts are critical to the success of your ABM campaign. If you choose wisely, you’ll see better account engagement, quicker deal velocity, and larger deals. The wrong choice, however, often leads to difficulty defining clear goals, aligning your sales and marketing teams, and ultimately a poor ROI.

How to Identify Target Accounts

The first step to identifying a target account is to look at the goals your team has established for your campaign and create essential criteria.

Then, step two uses that criteria to establish a persona, creating an ideal customer profile for your target account. The process is a lot like creating personas for B2C business, except you’re creating a persona for an entire company. Things like annual revenue, reputation, philanthropic efforts, etc., all go into this profile.

Next, step three will put this persona to use. Start scouting prospects that fulfill your criteria and resemble the persona you’ve created.

Finally, step four is all about getting the data. Once you have a pool of potential target accounts, utilize any metrics you can get your hands on to delve into them and find which ones are truly the best fit for you. This is a good time to consider not only the potential financial payoff, but how doing business with this account will build your brand and provide value in the future.

Know Your Point of Contact

By now, you’ve narrowed down a pool of prospects into a group of true target accounts. Let’s not blow all your hard work with a sloppy ending — it’s time to bring it home with a little more research.

Figure out who you need to reach out to. Once you have it ball parked (department, level of seniority, etc.) start looking at who the ideal point of contact might be. The specific details you’re after are:

  • Job title
  • Tenure
  • Decision-making hierarchy
  • Account affiliation
  • Activity/engagement history
  • Skills and proficiencies
  • Experience with your category

Once you have this information, use it to identify your ideal point of contact.

Double Check

Double check everything, always…. that’s all.

Allocate Your Efforts

While all target accounts are important — that’s what makes them target accounts — they’re not all equally important. We can visualize this as a tier-based system:

Tier 1 accounts are perfect fits, similar to your highest value customers.

Tier 2 accounts are strong fits but have a lower lifetime value.

Tier 3 accounts fit most, but not all criteria. They’re worth pursuing but typically not worth investing significant resources to win their business.

The point of breaking up target accounts into these groups is energy allocation. You should allocate more resources to accounts that have the potential to drive the most revenue and/or strategic value for your business.

Worth the Work

It’s a pretty hefty work load up front, but ultimately, that research pays dividends — if you choose your targets wisely, your business could very well see growth like it’s never seen before.

That promise of success, however, does come with an important word of caution — if you rush the process and make the wrong move, you’re likely setting your ABM strategy up for failure.

The point is this: if you take your time, do your research and make smart moves, an ABM strategy can truly open new doors for you and your business.

Looking to broaden your knowledge on Account Based Marketing? Check back every Thursday for more ABM topics including tips for how to map individuals to accounts and collect data, best practices for defining and creating targeted campaigns, how to execute your campaign, and more.

Or, if you’re ready to start your ABM program and would like to see how we can help, Contact us today.

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