5 Ways to Select the Right Accounts for Your ABM Strategy

May 14, 2021

Account-based marketing has become a widely used strategy by businesses. According to HubSpot, 67% of brands leverage account-based marketing. ABM focuses on targeting a few select accounts, rather than casting a wide net. It creates a personalized experience for these target accounts to build long term connections. HubSpot reported that the top two tactics used by marketers in their ABM strategy are “Researching Accounts” and “Identifying Target Contacts”.

It is vital to choose the right target accounts for the success of your ABM strategy. The wrong target accounts will not give you the desired results you seek. In this article, we will look at how to select the right target accounts. Selecting the right target accounts can help boost engagement, increase deal size, and gain more profit.

Here is how you can ensure that you select the right accounts for your ABM strategy.

Define your goals

The first step is to define your goals. Goals help give direction to your strategy. Consider what you are trying to achieve by closing target accounts. How do these accounts help you reach your goals? What deal sizes do you want to go after? It is important to understand what difference your ABM strategy will make to your overall company goals. Set these goals before you start selecting your target accounts.

Goals also give you an opportunity to consider how much time and resources you will need to close your target accounts. Based on this you can then choose the type of ABM strategy you want for your business. To illustrate, your goal can be about targeting the right accounts for ABM. In this scenario you will focus on defining your ideal customer profile to find accounts that match it. Another goal will be to upsell/cross-sell to the existing customers. Teams will select these accounts and create personalized content to educate them.

Setting goals is important before you select your target accounts as it can ensure that you pick the right accounts and create a smooth experience for them.

Create your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

An ICP is the ideal buyer profile that represents the perfect customer for your organization. ICP is important for your ABM strategy as it helps you understand your target customers. It helps you define a buyer’s problems or challenges, needs, goals, etc. This enables you to see how your organization can help these target accounts with your products or services.

With ICP you focus on the right accounts who are most likely to do business with you. Sales and marketing teams can have a good idea about which accounts are worth pursuing. However, not every account is the same. Some accounts can be simple, while others are more complex. Hence, it is important to analyse all the data when you identify the right target accounts.

Here is the type of data you can look at when you define your ICP:

  • Type of industry
  • Company size
  • Technology used
  • Budget
  • Annual revenue
  • Location
  • Buying behavior
  • Engagement

ICP can be used by your teams to better understand which target accounts they should focus on. Teams can save their time and resources by going after the right accounts. This allows you to form meaningful, profitable, and long-term relationships with your customers.

Choose the right type of ABM for your business

There are three types of ABM strategies that you can select, and they are as follows:

One-to-one: This approach focuses on creating highly customized marketing plans for individual accounts.

One-to-few: The ABM Lite approach involves creating lightly customized marketing plans for a cluster of accounts that have similar needs and challenges. This type of ABM is not highly customized as there are more than one accounts involved. Spending time on each account will require a lot of time and resources to research and send personalized messages to each account.

One-to-many: The one-to-many or Programmatic ABM includes all the accounts you want to target. These accounts are often small accounts. However, this approach needs the right technology that helps you automate, target, and personalize your marketing for hundreds or thousands of accounts.

Every business is different and the type of ABM you choose depends on your resources, technology, and sales team’s capacity. Ensure that the number of accounts you choose are manageable for your sales and marketing teams. For example, in the Programmatic approach you need to invest in technology that can handle thousands of accounts. Consider the time and resources you are willing to spend on these accounts before you choose.

Account tiering

Once you have the list of all the accounts you want to target, you will need to narrow it down further. Using all these accounts in one campaign can be overwhelming for your sales team. Targeting many accounts at once requires resources and your sales reps must create personalized messages for them all. Out of this list you need to select a few accounts that are a good match for your ABM campaign. Account tiering can help you identify the accounts that are a match to your ICP. It uses technology and data to identify accounts that match your ICP.

Tier 1 accounts: These accounts are a perfect match to your ICP.

Tier 2 accounts: They are a good match for ICP but have a low lifetime value.

Tier 3 accounts: They don’t match your ICP and may not be worth pursuing.

With these tiers you can determine whether a target account is worth time on or not. If you have a lot of accounts to skim through, then this can be a tedious task. A CRM system can help you create a workflow that identifies the accounts which match your ICP. Teams should review all the accounts and select the ones that are going to prove valuable to your company.

Identify key stakeholders

Just identifying target accounts is not enough, you also need to determine the key stakeholders or decision makers in that account. Take time to research these key stakeholders in the organization you target. Find out all the specific details like their job title, skills, engagement history, decision-making hierarchy and more. These insights are important to understand as it gives you time to prepare messaging and content personalized for these individuals.

A small sized account may have one or two key stakeholders. However, a bigger sized account can have many stakeholders. In this case, you will need more time and resources to customize a plan that influences these stakeholders. Hence, getting to know them beforehand can help you save time and plan efficiently to create a smooth experience for your potential buyers. These insights will help you create content that is personalized for these individuals. Moreover, it builds trust and credibility for your business.

The important thing to remember is that you base your analysis on research and have the right resources to help you identify the right accounts. The steps discussed above can help you reach closer to your goals of selecting highly valuable accounts. Rely on data to make these important decisions. Ensure that your sales and marketing teams collaborate when selecting these accounts. To help automate these efforts, you can invest in a CRM system to help you select and segment your target accounts more efficiently.

Selecting the right target accounts is an important step when implementing your ABM strategy. Making mistakes in selecting your target accounts can be a setback for your ABM efforts. The right accounts will help you gain profitable results for your overall account-based marketing strategy.

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