Guest Blog – Account-Based Marketing Success: It’s all about the data

In the world of account-based marketing, there are a lot of things to think about. Account selection, content, strategy, and metrics are what most people focus on. But of all the elements of a successful ABM program, there are none so critical, or overlooked, as data.

Data is one of the fundamental pillars of any modern marketer. There are so many tools and thousands of vendors willing to sell you data. Your sales team has access to LinkedIn Navigator, DiscoverOrg, Zoominfo and other tools to input data. So whose responsibility is it and how do you ensure the most efficient process so you both get what you need to show measurable growth in key accounts?

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Account-Based Marketing Data Strategy

Marketing’s role is to take a broad approach to data by identifying your company’s ideal customer profile (ICP) and building out the names of your target buyers and influencers by company. A sales-driven research component is needed to fill in the gaps.

The first step is to invest in a DaaS, or data as a service, where you can identify your target prospects to load into your CRM or marketing automation system. There are many tools, each with their own benefits and challenges. Data.com is the most common. Owned by Salesforce, the tool was originally created for the sales team, so it can be clunky for marketers. A relatively new DaaS that is gaining popularity is Synthio. Formerly Social123, Synthio enables marketers to get very specific about the data they’re pulling, save unlimited templates, easily upload lists of companies, titles or NAICS code to reduce input time and has the added benefit of telling you more about the person than you could ever need to know, including their exact GPS coordinates. The data is extremely reliable as they pull from self reported sources (think LinkedIn and other resume sites). The firmographic data shows both the headquarter and subsidiary company in addition to the exact contact city and country. This is especially helpful if your target is a global enterprise company where you need to identify satellite offices and contacts in other countries.

Having a high quality data source enables sales and marketing to easily identify the total addressable market (TAM) of a large enterprise company. Instead of building out accounts based on all the locations associated with that company, take an account-based marketing focus by first determining the critical mass of target prospects by location. Building only the accounts that matter to your business will enable you to report on account penetration metrics and have a more effective field marketing strategy.

Data-Driven Outbound Strategy

Partner with the sales team on an outbound strategy. It’s everyone’s responsibility to work on data. While marketing can provide air cover of the ICP, the Account Executive needs to work with their BDR to determine where there are gaps in the data and work on filling in those gaps for your target accounts with a more qualitative approach using other data tools. Where there is incomplete information, like a contact that is missing an email, sales can use tools like LinkedIn’s InMail to connect.

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Another outbound strategy is to focus on website traffic data. Using tools like Demandbase’s Web Analytics, or Marketo’s Inferred Company for a lighter version, you can determine the companies visiting your site. The marketing team can use this information to set up personalized landing pages and the sales team can see who is stealth shopping. Powered by Demandbase, Google Analytics reports can be customized for the sales team to identify site traffic by company, location, industry and behavior. At ON24, these reports are distributed weekly to the sales team identifying the account, city, state and site metrics including unique visitors, percent of new visitors, page views and average duration on site. One example of this data being used successfully was an AE who noticed that a company where she lost the deal 3 months prior was poking around the website. She called her contact who confirmed that the manager who initially denied the deal had moved to another company and they were now interested in reviving that opportunity. In sales, timing is everything.

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Finally, be sure to work closely with your marketing and sales operations team to ensure that you’re implementing efficient processes for both continually cleaning the database and augmenting data. Decide on how frequently you’ll refresh data based on the frequency of change within your industry and your resources. For new data, monthly is a good rule of thumb. Cleaning should be continual, but quarterly is the bare minimum for maintaining database health.

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Keeping your database streamlined and relevant are the fundamental building blocks of data driven marketing. Establishing a data strategy between sales and marketing will help to ensure that your Account-Based Marketing program is successful.

Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog post from Jamie Hardin. Jamie is a data driven SaaS marketer and natural problem solver. With 14 years of progressive demand generation marketing experience she’s seen marketing move from one size fits all messages to personalization at scale to account based marketing. In her current role as Senior Marketing Manager for ON24, she focuses on optimizing the go-to-market strategy for ABM enterprise organizations and industry segmentation. Connect with Jamie via LinkedIn or [email protected].