Guest Blog

Account-Based Marketing: Get the Ground Work Right

The below quote rings true when it comes to account-based marketing (ABM). Traditional marketing was about reaching more people. ABM, however, is about being able to reach the right people.

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Selecting the right accounts and people is a combination of rationale, logic, intuition and science. For me this is the most important stage of ABM, the groundwork, make sure it’s right and invest the right amount of time to get it done. Don’t rush or ‘wing it’ because you will not only waste time but effectively you will be throwing your cash away which is the opposite of what you want. So where do you start? This seems to be a common problem as Ascend2 reported that 54% of B2B marketers believe that “lack of data quality/completeness” was the most challenging obstacle.

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Common questions marketers are asking when it comes to ABM data profiling

1.    How do I know which accounts to focus on? – Look at your best performing accounts and the characteristics e.g. size, industry, structure, retention etc.

2.    How do I tier them? – You ideally want to tier your accounts based upon your overall Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), the better the fit the higher the priority.

3.    Who makes the decisions in my targeted accounts? – Look at who you have been dealing with currently within industry specific accounts. You should be able to create a list of contacts and possible see trends of common specific job titles that are involved in the overall decision-making process.

4.    What are their pain points? – You should be able to create a list of pain points per industry based upon your current experience within the market. You can back this up with additional research into the market via publications, groups, associations and even talk to influencers within the industry.

5.    How do I align my sales and marketing? – You need to carry out the above process and ground work with both teams. A joint input and collaboration will allow your teams to be on the same page with an agreed end goal in mind.

What data can I use to create ideal customer profiles?

Firmographics – Is the method of identifying customers and developing customer profiles based on qualities that apply to businesses, such as industry, number of employees, revenue, location, key decision makers, sales cycle

Intent Data – Is about a web user activity and their possible intent to purchase/engage. Examples of intent data may be a particular page visit, a search query, a specific piece of content downloaded etc.

Technographics – Will outline which technologies your target account relies on most. This is extremely valuable, as you can sell your product based on the technology choices they use and allow you to develop messaging that will resonate with their technological needs.

Customer Stakeholders – Do some upfront research and identify the contacts you’ll need to reach out to within your target accounts. Map out their place on the organizational chart and understand their personal goals, and the level of influence they each have. Try to find out job titles, the decision-making hierarchy, the overall engagement history and experience with your category etc.

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The above should give you a good indication of what data and research you need to act upon to give you’re a solid foundation to start your ABM campaign. Take your time to create a process by which you can continue to refine and evolve over time.

What’s next?

By carrying out your research you should be in a position to tier your accounts based upon the information and insight you gained. By placing your accounts into tiers you can outline the marketing approach for each in the following way:

Tier 1: This is for all the accounts that you have full research on. These are your ideal accounts that you want to carry out a full tailored ABM campaign which will consist of personalised content, numerous touch points and one-to-one communication.

Tier 2: This for all the accounts that you have some information on but not enough so they can be placed in tier one. The marketing is less personalized and more generic based upon their industry and persona, but still delivering highly relevant touch points.

Tier 3: This is seen as the ‘catch all’, which in a nutshell is all the accounts that you want to target but you don’t enough information on them. The approach with these accounts is to gain a better understanding of them through traditional marketing with the end goal being turning them into an engaged MQL.

Final Word

Hopefully, you can see why it’s important to invest your time into profiling your targeted accounts. Without investing your time to gain detailed insight into your targeted accounts, you are crippling your chances of ROI before you’ve even begun.