I'm sure many of you have heard of some application of the Pareto Principle, which states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. In business, it's common to apply this to state that 80% of sales come from 20% of clients. While it may not always apply directly, it's a good reminder to focus on key accounts whenever possible, whether that be through key account management or key account prospecting.
Account-based marketing seems to have grown in popularity over the last several years, and it seems many are debating how best to tackle it. Seems odd to me, because it involves most of the same principles of successful outbound marketing. Check out Maria Pergolino's recent post on Marketo's blog about the account-based marketing process: http://blog.marketo.com/blog/2011/04/account-based-marketing-to-create-enterprise-sales-success.html
While Maria discusses systems and processes around account-based marketing as well, I can't help but notice that most of the best practices revolve around data. Everyone works hard for creative, eye-catching content, and that's a discipline in and of its own, but equally important is the data driving the campaign.
Here's what we've always believe to be essential data to drive successful marketing campaigns here at ReachForce:
Company-level data - As Maria says, proper account identification is key. One of the easiest ways to identify good key accounts is to build a profile of existing key accounts and search out others with similar characteristics. Once defined, though, it's good to fill out with as much information as possible. Industry codes, employee counts, revenues, geographical data, and hierarchical data can all be helpful in laser-targeting of these key accounts
Contact-level data - Once key accounts are defined, the idea behind account-based marketing is to fill out a matrix of all contacts that may be involved in the evaluation or buying process. This may include contacts at multiple levels within the account and across multiple functional departments. Understanding the role of each player is key to deliver the right messages to each. Once again, it's valuable to fill out the contacts with all data possible. These days, understanding a person's social media footprint can even be helpful to engage them in the sales process.
If you're already housing the deepest account-level and contact-level information possible in your CRM or MA platform, then account-based marketing is a very approachable initiative. Even if you don't discover the 20% that deliver 80% of your revenue, you're very likely to find some key accounts you can convert to key customers.