An effective account based marketing program starts with data.
The data necessary to:
- Define a group of accounts that maximize your opportunity to succeed.
- Understand how you've succeeded with key accounts in the past.
- Determine the key contacts - decision makers and influencers - in the accounts you select.
- Build an optimal target account list.
Chasing opportunities that don't match your capabilities, value and even culture result in wasted time and frustrating outcomes. A few failed attempts can sour a company on the entire target account process diverting resources and budget to other areas.
How Do You Choose Target Accounts?
It's easy to support a target account program. The sales and revenue upside from a key account win can be company changing. Yet, target account programs often veer off course starting with account selection. Here's how:
Sales Driven Account Selection
A sales based selection process may err on the side of short term sales wins discounting the long term potential return on investment. Self imposed sales and quota pressures create a bias for accounts that can be sold quickly. But, target account selection goes beyond quick win opportunities.
Marketing Driven Account Selection
A marketing based selection process will discover ample accounts that "fit the profile." However, it takes data points that go beyond a typical list of companies to produce a viable account list.
Account Based Marketing Program Account Selection
So rather than undermining your target account program, use a broad range of data with a sprinkling of human intuition, to formulate the best outcome!
1) Start With Historical Data
An effective target account list starts with past account wins. Identifying common characteristics that these accounts share allow you to find your future best fit prospects. Although the information may not reside in a handy database, take the time to compare details like:
- Company Size
- Total Employees
- End Customer Target Segments
- Type And Amount Of Transactions
- Type Of Sales Force
2) Overlay Firmographic Data
What demographics are to people, firmographics are to organizations. Combining firmographic data with your key insights allow you to identify A-List accounts. The clients on your dream list where a deal can change your company.
Data sources such as Zoom Info can take your key data differentiators and deliver a list of accounts with similar attributes. Although it requires additional analysis, it will get you closer to an optimal target account list.
3) User Experience And Account Based Marketing Account Selection
Although it's a term synonymous with technology, it's not just for app development. Applying UX can make the difference between sales wins and losses. And integrating it into an Account Based Marketing program can transform your target account wish into target account reality.
Evaluate the user experience from recent wins.
- Pain Points - What pain points did your capabilities solve?
- Behavior - Were the pain points similar in each account? What did each account find compelling about your solution. Were there other behavioral intersections you can identify that helped you win the account?
- Decision Makers and Influencers - Who drove the decision to choose your company? Were the responsibilities of those decision makers consistent in each win? Are there any parallels you can draw?
A good data source provides key contact information including the decision makers and influencers crucial to gaining traction in the account. It elevates strategically-important customers, and it produces measurable business benefits.
4) Evaluate. Narrow. Define.
There's no algorithm that takes the human element out of target account selection. Instead it requires you to:
- Evaluate - to determine the accounts that best meet your selection criteria. Solicit insights from sales, marketing and executive management.
- Narrow - the list based on how they stack up with your selection criteria - make sure to add the human intuition.
- Define - a list of 10 - 50 the best target accounts