5 Ways to Build Better ABM Target Account Lists

5 Ways to Build Better ABM Target Account Lists

Account-based marketing (ABM) has been a go-to strategy for several years. However, many businesses struggle to implement a formal ABM strategy successfully because they get stuck at the first hurdle.

ABM strategy consists of many different steps, but the one that often proves challenging is selecting the most relevant target accounts. And if you’re not targeting the right people, ABM will fall short.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be difficult. With the correct techniques, marketing and sales teams can ensure they target only the most promising prospects.

What is a Target Account?

Target accounts are businesses or organizations that you wish to convert into clients. 

When you use account-based marketing (ABM), you direct the majority of your attention and resources to best-fit accounts with the largest income potential for your company.  These accounts require targeted engagement from your sales and marketing teams to convert them into long-term customers and brand ambassadors.

With that said, here are five ways marketers can build better target account lists (TALs) for ABM.

1. Create an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

An ideal consumer profile (ICP) is similar to a buyer persona, but for a company instead of an individual. It’s a set of qualities that identify the sort of organization that would be a good match for your products or services. These can include:

  • Industry
  • Business size
  • Company revenue
  • Relevant products
  • Technology
  • Geographic location
  • Budget
  • Negative considerations

An ICP can be as basic or as extensive as needed, and occasionally includes a few less obvious characteristics, such as client psychographics or background information that might explain why two almost identical consumers buy differently.

Typically, team members have an instinctive concept of what that profile should look like, but it’s often worthwhile to spend some time analyzing the common qualities of your most successful accounts.

Note that the use of correct data derived from your ICP analysis powers your ABM strategy. Neglecting to use data, or worse, employing incorrect data, is likely to result in failure.

There’s a big difference between who you think you should market to and who is actually qualified and ready to be marketed to.
There’s a big difference between who you think you should market to and who is actually qualified and ready to be marketed to.

2. Segment Larger TALs

If you have a long list of relevant target accounts, you should break them down into more digestible chunks. And to achieve proper prioritization, you should use a tiered strategy. Most experts agree that a three-tiered strategy is the most effective.

You should think about segmenting your approach in the following ways:

  • Target accounts
  • Ease of access
  • Account engagement
  • Reputation
  • Buyer intent

Move Focus from Total Accessible Market to Target Accounts

If you have a large list of accounts, it’s likely you built it to include your Total Accessible Market (TAM), comprising of every business that could possibly utilize your product or service.

But to get the most out of ABM marketing, you’ll need to narrow down this list by identifying the high priority accounts, targeting only these instead of your entire TAM.

Segment Based on Ease of Access

As mentioned previously, ABM focuses on accounts that are the easiest to close. If an account has provided you with enough information to contact them, you will have a simpler time building relationships and completing sales.

The easiest approach to determine your ease of access is to search through your CRM and discover the accounts with the most linked contacts. If a major account has a large number of contacts, you will be able to conduct an account-based marketing campaign to answer the possible inquiries of each one, based on their position within the buying process.

Segment Based on Account Engagement 

ABM focuses on closing the best-fit accounts, which are more likely to have a long-term relationship with your business. 

Companies that engage with your marketing content regularly are more likely to be a good fit—they have already expressed a strong interest and should be pursued further.

Segment Based on Reputation

If you are in a small market with only a few dominant competitors, you should consider segmenting your efforts to focus on the most respected and prominent accounts.

These accounts will require more attention and highly targeted marketing messages than any other strategy. They have already achieved success and most likely have solid connections with their current partners, so it will take time to demonstrate the value you can provide to them. 

However, after you’ve found a possible pain point that you can fix, make sure you deliver marketing and sales communications that specifically address it, demonstrating how your product or solution can help solve this problem.

Segment Based on Buyer Intent

If you have visibility of the accounts already interested in what you have to offer, you can use this data to engage the relevant contacts with the right message, at the right moment. Using buyer intent data at these opportune moments increases your chance of contacting a buyer when they’re truly ready to buy.

Analyzing your TAL’s performance and optimizing it to maintain success is an essential part of the process.
Analyzing your TAL’s performance and optimizing it to maintain success is an essential part of the process.

3. Build a Data-driven Strategy to Target Accounts

Firmographics and technographics are the two forms of data you’ll need to gain greater company-level insights.

Firmographics are corporate attributes that best suggest a suitable fit, such as industry, firm size, number of workers, location, projected revenue, and estimated growth count.

Technographics are the technologies that your target customers presently use or are planning to invest in. For example, complementary technologies to yours, technology that eliminates or reduces the need for your solution, or competitor solutions where you know you have a high win rate.

4. Get Insights into Your Contacts

Next, select the individuals within your target accounts to whom you will need to reach out. Take time to research the various stakeholders, including their position on the organizational structure, personal ambitions, and level of influence. Targeted sales prospecting allows you to quickly contact the relevant individuals.

The details you’re looking for may include:

  • Job title
  • Skills
  • Hierarchy in the decision-making process
  • Account affiliation
  • Engagement/activity history
  • Experience with your industry

Once you’ve acquired these details, you can create an “influence matrix,” which will provide you and your team members with more insight into the account’s purchasing and decision-making processes.

5. Access Decision-makers

Once you’ve identified target accounts and contacts, it’s time to deliver relevant business insights.

To successfully manage your account-based plays, you should understand:

This data will point you in the direction of the content and distribution techniques you should utilize for each account. Providing interesting insights builds credibility and trust, and eventually leads to more business.

Ready to Build Better ABM Target Account Lists?

Now that you’ve discovered some ways to build target account lists, it should be easier to run account-based marketing campaigns that resonate with your prospects at the most opportune moments. If you have any questions or need help building result-oriented ABM target account lists, contact DemandScience today.