June 8, 2017 by Ashwini Murthy

Account-based marketing sounds complex but it really isn’t – It’s a set of coordinated activities planned around each of the company’s top prospects (or ‘named accounts’ as we call them). ABM is about hyper-personalization & hyper-efficiency in executing marketing campaigns. ABM is using a spear to fish instead of a net. ABM is designing marketing campaigns to speak directly to the named decision-makers in top accounts. To draw a parallel from modern warfare, you can either hire a sniper to take down a high profile target or launch a missile on the entire city. With the latter, there’s no assurance that you will take down your target. Account-based marketing is like sniper-targeting. It’s about allocating attention and resources to those accounts that are strategically aligned with the goals of your company.

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According to Engagio, ABM leads to a 40% increase in contract value for mid-market companies, 285% increase in close rates. 97% of the marketers see better RoI and 84% of them vouch for improved customer experience. With most of the major players opting for ABM, lots of mid-market enterprises are following the trend (well, who wouldn’t? It’s a great method!)

But the efforts will end up futile if not directed at the right people, won’t they? So, a good chunk of the success rate of an ABM campaign depends on how accurate and reliable the data is.

Let’s see how.

1. Select Accounts

Let’s say you have a target market of 10,000 prospects. Unless it is a perfect market scenario, all 10,000 of them won’t be an ideal match. Chances are that only a few hundred are even close to being the perfect match.

But how do you rank that hundred? Most data providers would provide you with firmographic data (Revenue, Employee Count etc.) or even technographic data (Which technologies are deployed in which of the hundred prospects). But, let’s say if you are selling to an e-commerce company, wouldn’t you want to know what they sell, in what volume and who they ship with etc.?

All this data will help you slice and dice your hundred prospect accounts into several micro-segments. The more you segment, the shorter your cohorts are and the more effective your ‘account based marketing’ efforts towards these cohorts.

2. Discover and Map Contacts

Once the master list of high-value prospects is ready, then comes the “which person to reach out to?” question. Reaching out to the wrong person might lead to losing the deal. If you’re selling e-commerce shipping/logistic services, reaching out to the omni-channel manager works better than reaching out to the CEO directly.

There are buyers and influencers when it comes to purchasing. A list of personas should be made for each category. Influencers are usually in lower tiers who have a considerable say in what gets bought. The omni-channel manager is the influencer in this case. Traditional data providers give you ‘matching results’ for titles you search for. You need more than that. What you need is a semantic mapping of all ‘probable’ candidates. Digital Marketing Manager and Performance Marketing Manager might mean one and the same and you might miss the latter if you are filtering decision makers by titles you are familiar with.

Besides, an intelligent data provider could look at your CRM data and discover personas you’ve had great success with, and use that to discover look-alike prospects and decision makers.

Again, the better you are able to identify the personas and the ‘named’ decision makers, the more effective your ABM campaigns become.

3. Develop Account Insights

Insights are wonderful conversational points. Developing insights answers the “what to talk about?” question when reaching out to a prospect. It is more than just funding news. Has there been any change in the C-level employees? Are there talks about mergers & acquisitions? Did they get featured in any magazine lately? Have they acquired a warehouse recently? Do they have business partners?

Has a competitor been in news recently and would that be of interest to this prospect?

The points of interactions should be relevant and resonant. For that, a lot of data is needed.

Coming back to our warfare analogy, account-based marketing can be really effective if the sniper is trained well. The training is a long, intense process which needs a lot of time – something that mid-market enterprises don’t normally have. What if I tell you there are sniper rifles which do the point accurately and all you have to do is shoot? The data needed for the first 3 steps need to be tailor-made. There are companies out there which can help you out. (Cue in PipeCandy!)

And beyond that, we even help you place your finger on the trigger and help you shoot.

Because come on, You gotta do better than spray and pray! Before you jump the gun next time, ask yourself if you have all the right data for an effective ABM campaign.

Disclaimer: We are not and won’t be accessories to murder.

Ashwini Murthy

Content marketer @ PipeCandy

A writer by day. Illustrator by night. Currently trying to conquer the B2B marketing world one baby step at a time. Loves everything outside her comfort zone.