How to Identify & Tier Target Accounts for Account-Based Marketing

What is a Target Account?

Simply put, target accounts are companies that you want to turn into customers.

When you’re doing account-based marketing (ABM), you focus the bulk of your energy and resources on best-fit accounts that have the highest revenue potential for your business. These target accounts require focused outreach from your sales and marketing teams in order to turn them into lifelong customers and advocates for your business.

So, how can you decide what companies to target, which to prioritize, and how many resources you’ll dedicate to moving them through the sales cycle?

account tiers

How to Identify Your Target Accounts for Account-Based Marketing

Identifying your target accounts is a little like looking for Waldo. It’s not an easy task as is, but if you don’t know what Waldo looks like, it’s downright impossible.

Before you identify your target accounts, you have to know who it is you’re looking for. The best way to do this is to develop an ideal customer profile, or ICP.

An ideal customer profile is a description of the company — not the individual buyer or end user — that’s a perfect fit for your solution. Use the Defining Your Ideal Customer Profile Worksheet to clearly articulate what your best-fit customer accounts look like.

sales target listAfter you know what “Waldo” looks like, it’s time to start searching for him! With the help of technology and some manual sleuthing, you can identify a master list of target accounts that you want to turn into customers. Check out this list of strategies to identify a list of accounts you can use as a basis to launch target account marketing campaigns.

5 Ways to Identify Target Accounts for ABM

1. Leverage your ABM tech stack.
Use any of the identification tools in the Terminus Cloud for ABM to discover accounts that match your ICP. You can also use predictive tools to determine which accounts are in-market and when they’re likely to make a purchase.

2. Mine your database.
Your CRM and marketing automation platform are full of undiscovered insights! Leverage the data you already have at your fingertips to find prospects, opportunities, and even current customers that offer the best revenue potential.

3. Look at your competitors’ customers.
You can automate this process using tools like iDatalabs or HG Data, or you can do manual research using LinkedIn groups, review sites, and other online communities.

4. …and your customers’ competitors.
Business insights platforms like Owler can give you a great overview of any business, including a list of their top competitors. Take a look at your best customer accounts’ profiles, and mine their list of competitors for accounts that fit your ICP. Then, you can reach out to these competitors to highlight benefits of your solution that they are missing out on.

5. Set up job alerts.
If you sell to an emerging category, keep an eye out for potential new business by subscribing to job alerts using your buyer personas’ titles and other keywords. That way, you’ll know when a company is likely to be in-market for your solution.

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How to Tier Your Target Accounts

Okay, you’ve got a list of target accounts. Now what?

Tiering your list of dream accounts allows you to prioritize your audience based on the campaign you’re running. Chances are, you won’t engage all of your target accounts in the same campaign. In fact, you shouldn’t because it can overwhelm your sales reps, water down your messaging, and funnel too many resources to the wrong accounts.

Account tiering refers to using technology, data points, and good old-fashioned research to prioritize your dream accounts. Most B2B companies find that a 3-tiered system works best. In this system:

  • Tier 1 accounts are perfect ICP fits, similar to your highest value customers. Tier 1 also includes logos with strategic value.
  • Tier 2 accounts are strong ICP fits but have a lower lifetime value.
  • Tier 3 accounts fit most, but not all, ICP criteria. They’re worth pursuing but typically not worth investing significant resources to win their business.

Not all accounts are created equal. You should allocate more resources to accounts that have the potential to drive the most revenue and/or strategic value for your business.

target account list

Real-World Example: How Invoca Tiered 4,500 Target Accounts

Let’s look at a real-life example of account tiering. Invoca is a call intelligence platform whose marketing team, headed up by VP of Marketing, Julia Stead, takes a programmatic approach to ABM. In other words, they use MarTech to target and engage a large number of accounts that fit their ICP. Read on to learn how.

Selecting Their Target Accounts Using Marketing Technology

Julia explains, “We started off using a combination of different tools that allow you to come up with great lists of accounts based on different filters like company size, industry, all kinds of different data points.”

In addition to firmographic data, the Invoca team layered on other data points that matter to their business, such as:

  • How much is each account spending on paid search?
  • How much web traffic versus mobile traffic does each account get?

Tools Invoca used to identify and tier their target accounts include:

  • Datanyze – The leader in technographics, offering real-time insights based on a company’s technology choices and buying signals
  • SimilarWeb – A digital market intelligence company offering competitive intel, targeted list building, and more
  • InsideView – A market intelligence platform that helps identify target accounts and key decision-makers at those companies
  • EverString – A self-service AI platform that identifies companies based on firmographic and technographic data, keywords, lookalike data, and more
  • LinkedIn – Great for validating information from third-party providers because of the self-reported nature of LinkedIn data

Tiering Their Master List of Target Accounts

Technology was instrumental in identifying Invoca’s target accounts, but prioritizing them required some manual work.

“Given the nature of our business,” Julia shares, “we felt that a human touch was needed to really identify our top tier of accounts. Just because they have this technology profile does not necessarily mean they’re a good fit for Invoca. A really key piece for us is, do they care about phone calls? Do they have a 1-800 phone number on their website? Do they have a call center? These are all attributes which aren’t necessarily available to us through predictive tools and different data filters.”

She continues, “We had a special ops team that included leadership from marketing and sales go through and handpick our Tier 1 accounts. For the rest — our Tier 2 and Tier 3 — we relied on the automated data and bucketed them based on how many of our target attributes the account had. From there, we passed these lists on to our sales reps and had them pick ten or 20 focus accounts.”

target account selling

Turn Your Target Accounts into Customers

You’ve identified and tiered your target accounts. Now it’s time to engage them with target account marketing! Kicking the buying process into high gear for your sales team.

Target Accounts

What is a target account? Target accounts are companies or organizations that you want to turn into customers. Target account meaning can vary from company to company, as can target list meaning, as each company has its own method of targeting key accounts. A company will usually maintain a target list (what is a target list? Just a list of potential customers), which will then form a set of contacts for sales teams. Both sales teams and marketing teams will need to concern themselves with target accounts. Target account meaning and target list meaning are both very important for sales departments, who need to explore what is target account metrics they want to follow.

It’s important for companies to have an account targeting strategy. Even a one page account plan template can help. With a target account list template, account planning slides, or account strategy plan PPT, companies are able to better target and convert their leads. Companies may also need a target account selection plan, to properly score and secure these leads. With a target account strategy, companies are able to better optimize their processes. You can begin by asking: What is your process for penetrating target accounts? From there, develop a territory account plan PPT.

How do you find out about account planning best practices? Studying examples can help. Look at how other companies, such as competitors, find target accounts, and how they’ve learned how to identify top accounts. Take your list of target accounts and apply these examples and see how effective it is. By properly prioritizing target accounts and selecting the right accounts for ABM, a company can stretch its budget and its marketing dollar. A general target accounts review or overview of your top accounts can further help streamline operations — as can account tiers.

Account Tiers

Are you wondering how to determine target accounts? Account tiers can help. Account tiers prioritize customers based on their willingness to buy. How to tier account sales will vary depending on company and industry, and you may need to explore your customer base before you determine how to tier your customers. Analysis can further help you break them into groups of likelihood to convert and account tiers may also include existing and repeat customers. Additionally, you may need to know how to tier accounts sales, as some customers may purchase significantly more than others. When looking into how to tier your customers and the criteria for a target account, analysis is important. An ABM or sales and marketing solution (or customer relationship management suite) might help you collect the information you need to make these determinations. Some companies come with ABM account selection criteria built-in.

When account tiers are properly set, companies are able to spend their marketing dollars on those who are most likely to convert and those who are most likely to make purchases. But it may take some time for a company to establish the correct account tiers for them. ABM companies collect the information that’s necessary to target accounts and can adapt to user behavior, so this can be an automated process that doesn’t take a large amount of time from the company itself. Tier 1 accounts and Tier 1 clients may be those most likely to make purchases (per the Tier 1 marketing definition). Afte the most important tier, Tier 1, there would be Tier account 2 and 3. Sales Tier 1 Tier 2 will always be prioritized, and Tier 1 account management most important, but Tier 3 accounts will also be needed. Companies may want a Tier 3 account limit to properly focus their sales.

Tier sales are easier to manage for sales teams, marketing teams, and customer success teams. Sales tiers make it easier to prioritize information. With the right ABM account selection, ABM tiers, and target account tiers, companies can narrow down to those who are most interested. But how to tier accounts isn’t always intuitive. Data has to be taken for customer success tiers and customer tiers; the specificity of client tiering will develop over time. Beyond this, everything from customer processes to customer tier names can be defined by the company itself. Tiering accounts is most helpful for account managers. Account management tiers can help a key account manager or general account manager define a plan, strategy, or template. An account management plan or account management plan PPT will provide further guidance for account management strategy, and within an account management strategy presentation, the account management structure can be further explored. A key account management plan keeps those key accounts happy and prioritizes those most likely to spend. Account managers can develop an account development plan PPT, key account plan PDF, client development plan template, or free strategic account plan template PPT, all to provide guidance. With a strategic account plan template PPT, strategic account plan template Word, key account management presentation template, account development plan PPT, key account management template XLS, or other key account management tools, the rest of the marketing team can be brought in line.

Target Account Marketing

In reality, target account marketing is just another name for account based marketing. What is ABM? ABM marketing is a form of highly personalized, account-focused marketing that first scores and prioritizes each account and then customizes marketing to them. Account based marketing is generally found to be more successful than other types of marketing, because it is so focused, and because it develops relationships directly with those who are most likely to spend. Account based marketing B2B is exceptionally useful because ABM works well for high-value targets. Account based marketing 2019 has grown dramatically as has 2020. Today, there are many account based marketing CRM platforms that integrate with ABM and even many account based marketing manager job postings. This is the same essentially as target list marketing.

Tiering and defining target accounts is critical for account based marketing and account based marketing automation. Tiering helps with ABM segmentation and ABM channels, making it easier to focus on exactly which leads are most important. Account based marketing tactics 2019 have grown substantially, with account based marketing tactics 2020 being more advanced and relying strongly on the resources provided by cloud-based marketing solutions. But account based advertising, at its core, is not new; it is simply now more attainable.

While account based marketing and inbound marketing are very similar, they’re also different. Account based marketing vs inbound marketing relates to how the marketing functions within the company; inbound is concerned about bringing leads in whereas ABM is concerned about securing those leads and building relationships. The term personalization in account based marketing means that every customer’s marketing is focused on and customized for them. An account management framework will help push companies down the account based marketing funnel and will improve upon the account based marketing customer journey.

If you need help getting started with ABM, account based marketing examples can help. Account based marketing email examples and an ABM strategy template will provide the basis for an account based marketing framework. An organization can build an internal account based marketing playbook, along with their account growth strategy, to create a thorough account based marketing strategy that the company can then follow. Account based marketing softwares can provide another level of optimization and improvement.

Target Account List

Tools, platforms, agencies, and consultants can all help with ABM and building a target account list. There are many account based marketing softwares and account based marketing solutions available today. These account based marketing services often inter-link with other third-party solutions, which can further improve upon the organization’s analysis and data management. Account based marketing tools can use this analysis to identify those at the top of the tier, and target account list software further helps. A company can interact with an ABM agency to find out more about developing their marketing strategies. An account based marketing agency can help build processes and many of the top ABM agencies or best ABM agencies can also provide the right software platforms. An account based marketing consultant can help a company transition to ABM marketing.

LinkedIn isn’t quite an account based solution, but account based marketing LinkedIn resources can help. LinkedIn is essentially the largest B2B contact database in existence. LinkedIn ads can also help companies develop their customer base. Many B2B marketing solutions tie directly into LinkedIn for that reason.

For additional information, there are account based marketing blogs and account based marketing case studies. There’s also the account based marketing for dummies book, which covers the basics.

Sales Target List

What is a prospect list? How do you work with your sales target list? Building your sales target list is much like targeted prospecting. You can use sales prospecting tools to build your sales prospect list, as well as a sales prospect list template. You can get advanced B2B prospecting tools, a sales prospect list template Excel, or another type of prospecting list. With a prospecting list template, you can find out how to build a prospect list for your environment — a B2B prospect list will differ from a direct-to-customer list. In learning how to develop a prospect list and how to make prospect list in network marketing, you can also find other prospect list building tools. You can look at a prospect list example, prospect list PDF, or prospect list template Excel for more ideas. You may even be able to find a prospect list template free for strategic prospecting.

There are lead generation services and B2B lead generation services available. But it’s better for you to use account based marketing lead generation to build a list yourself. (When it comes to account based marketing vs lead generation, they can be very similar.) When you develop leads yourself, they’re far more likely to be applicable to your business and valuable to you. When you buy them, they’re more likely to be useless to you.

Target Account Selling

What is target account selling? A simple target account selling definition also includes target account selling methodology. With a target account selling methodology PDF or a target account selling methodology PPT, you can learn more about account based sales and what are key accounts in sales. TAS selling varies from business to business, but at its core, target account selling just means focusing selling on accounts that are most likely to buy.

That introduces the question of how to classify sales accounts. If you need to know how to prioritize sales accounts, you can first look at a target account selling template. You might even be able to find a target account selling template free or a sales lead tracking Excel template. A sales monitoring template or a sales target list template will give you the information that you need to get started, while a strategic account plan template Salesforce may help you move forward. But while you might start with a TAS opportunity plan template or a TAS target account selling template, you might need to modify it into your own target account selling worksheet eventually. With a daily sales template Excel or a monthly sales report template Excel free, you’ll also be able to see exactly how well your strategies are working. A sales activity tracking spreadsheet or sales forecast template Excel helps you adjust your strategies depending on your results. Search by your industry for a sales forecast template Excel, sales pipeline template Excel free download, sales target template Excel, or sales tracking template Excel free download — searching by industry ensures that it’s accurate to the metrics you need to track.

But along with your template, you need to develop your target account selling strategies. The right sales channel strategy or account based sales strategy is required to make the most out of your data. With a named account sales strategy, you’ll also be able to modify your strategy depending on your results. Eventually, your sales strategy for target accounts will be perfectly customized for your business.

Want to learn more? You can look up a target account selling book, target account selling 20 questions, or target account selling form. With a target account selling PDF or target account selling training courses, you can learn more about account based sales tools. Look up target account selling Siebel to learn more about the strategies used today.

Additional ABM Resources