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3 Changes You Need to Make to Build a Successful Account-Based Marketing Strategy

So, you’re gonna go for it, huh?

You’ve aimlessly chased those little guppies for too long now.

You’re planning out your attack on the big one. The granddaddy of them all. The big fish.

Good for you! Why continue trying to corral little tiny leads when you could be putting your resources towards bigger clients you know will pay off?

You have to make sure you have all the preparations in place. You need to be able to back up what you’re selling with phenomenal customer experience (then, hopefully, success).

We had the opportunity to discuss this more with Account-Based Strategist and partner at Winning By Design, Shari Johnston.

She offered us three key changes that companies need to make to build an account-based marketing strategy that actually works:

  1. Develop a strong target account list
  2. Realign your team structure
  3. Update your KPIs

This post is based on an interview with Shari Johnston from Winning By Design. To hear this episode, and many more like it, subscribe to the #FlipMyFunnel Podcast on iTunes.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.

Let’s dig in.

1. Develop a strong target account list

All subsequent efforts will be for naught if you don’t have a sharp target account list together.

While you may already have an idea of the accounts you want to go for, here are a few tips to getting your list started:

  • Leverage existing clients. If you already have an account that’s a department of a larger ecosystem, see if there could be another fit. This is one of the best strategies for finding target accounts because you already have a foot in the door.
  • Keep those old email addresses. Leads that were once out of your scope may now be within it since you’re switching to account-based marketing. It wouldn’t hurt to research those old leads to see what they’ve been up to.
  • Watch startups. If your industry features a lot of new and emerging brands, perhaps put some resources towards keeping track of promising startups.
  • Follow influencers. Industry thought leaders have large followings of potential clients. Influencers are one place that your target market is looking for updates in the industry. Is a big-time industry titan having a speaking event or book signing? Get there to network.
  • Develop a referral program. Incentivize your current clients to send other potential accounts your way.

Whichever strategy you choose to build your target account list, Shari stresses that each choice is backed by data. Once you have your list together, make sure to create new buyer personas and enter them into your CRM.

2. Realign your team structure

Moving to an account-based strategy will innately alter your current team structure.

Currently, you might have a structure that looks like:

  • Sales team
  • Marketing team
  • Client success team

When you migrate to an ABM strategy, Shari suggests moving to account-based teams. Each team will be made up of sales, marketing, and customer success people who are dedicated to getting allocated accounts across the finish line and beyond. Meeting at least biweekly should be a tactic for each team.

3. Update your KPIs

Updating key performance indicators to an account-based model is the third change that should take place.

Your new KPIs should reflect the goals you have for your accounts. They will also incentivize your new teams to work together for a common objective.

KPIs that Shari emphasizes to look to are:

  • Number of key persona contacts
  • Amount of engagement with content
  • Number of actual conversations with potential clients

Updating your KPIs will help align employees, especially if they’re working with new teammates.

Account-based marketing that works

You’ve finally decided to take the plunge.

It is a big decision, but one that’s entirely worth it if you have the right plan in place. Offer your team the support and feedback they need. Then, watch account-based marketing work for you.