For all the marketing trends that pop up each year, perhaps none has generated more buzz than account-based marketing in 2017.
It makes sense; 85 percent of marketers measuring ROI stated that account-based marketing delivered higher returns than any other marketing approach. With numbers like that, it should be no surprise that over 60 percent of B2B marketers plan to implement an account-based marketing strategy in the next year.
Account-based marketing can be an incredibly impactful strategy for your team provided you have clean, quality data driving your account plan. That is why we have recently detailed several key components of account-based marketing here on the blog, including:
- How to Implement an Account-Based Marketing Approach
- 4 Account-Based Marketing Techniques You Should Try Today
- 5 ABM Metrics You Should Be Measuring
- How to Build an Account-Based Marketing Tech Stack
However, the blog has not yet covered exactly how marketers should leverage their high-quality data to actually identify the right accounts.
How to Identify High Value Accounts Using Quality Data
Of course, the key component of that phrase is “quality data.” A foundation of clean, enriched data makes all the difference in the early stages of developing your account-based marketing strategy. You probably have inbound data sources being fed to your team through any number of different channels. Many often overlook a critical step in launching a successful account-based marketing plan, namely, running those inbound streams through a single data management system like ReachForce. Here is how doing so impacts your account-based marketing techniques.
1. By Unifying Data Sources for a Comprehensive Account View
Bringing all of your data streams through a single source data management system gives you the most robust picture of potential target accounts. Think about it. Without a data management platform, all your inbound customer information sits in data silos, whereas using a data management system like ReachForce brings that customer information together to paint a picture of the account and give you a better idea of where you should spend your time.
2. By Scrubbing Data Clean of Duplicates and Misinformation
Account-based marketing relies on clean, quality data to create a heavily-personalized approach to working with target accounts. Nothing screams impersonal like sending a duplicate email to the same executive at your target account because you had two different emails on file from different data sources.
Data management platforms eliminate those types of missteps by scrubbing inbound data clean of duplicate information before feeding it through to you and the rest of your team. That means you can trust the data in front of you as a reliable, single source of information about your accounts that will save you from embarrassing or costly mistakes.
3. By Enriching Your Data for a Deeper Perspective of Your Target Accounts
A good data management system does more than just collect and report on the existing inbound data. Tools like ReachForce SmartForms actually enrich your existing data with additional information sourced from across the web to create a more robust look at your target accounts without the manual work of finding the information yourself. SmartForms enriches your data in real-time. As leads complete capture forms on your website, SmartForms actively sources additional valuable information about the lead and automatically filters that information into ReachForce to supplement your existing customer view.
That details exactly how high-quality data impacts your ability to identify high-value accounts. Now, let’s take a look at how to actually use that high-quality data to select the right accounts for your business.
How to Use High-Quality Data to Choose the Right Targets for Your Account-Based Marketing Strategy
Step #1: Use Existing Customers to Create an Ideal Buyer Persona
When trying to figure out the best targets for account-based marketing, most organizations start by looking at their existing book of customers. By examining the firmographic and technographic details of your accounts with the highest customer lifetime value, you can develop an ideal buyer persona that includes details like:
- Company size (number of employees)
- Company industry
- Average revenue
- Technologies currently used
- Technologies previously used
- Number of stakeholders/decision makers
That persona gives you a rubric of sorts to measure potential target accounts against. To get that list of potential target accounts, start by talking with your sales team.
Step #2: Work with Your Sales Team to Identify Potential High-Value Accounts
Arguably no one in your company has a better grasp of which potential customers have the highest possible potential than the sales team. It is their job to sniff out big opportunities, so when you come to them offering an opportunity to partner together on attacking their “Moby Dick” accounts, the best salespeople will leap at the opportunity to share some insights.
It is important to note that anecdotal feedback from sales should never be the final stop in target account identification. Salespeople are not always right, and with account-based marketing taking so much time and energy, you want to make sure you focus on the right accounts from the start rather than having to pivot a few months into your campaign. Data should be the final judge in what accounts you target.
Step #3: Compare Your Ideal Buyer Persona to Data on Identified Accounts
Take the short list of accounts you gathered from sales and compare them to the ideal buyer persona you developed in step #1. Doing so gives you a list of “qualified” accounts for account-based marketing, but does not mean these are the actual accounts you will go after immediately. Finding those accounts requires one additional step.
Step #4: Build Out Your Contact Lists and Influence Matrix
Just because an account qualifies does not mean they should be your target for an account-based marketing strategy. You want to start with the accounts where you know you have the best chance of getting your foot in the door, which is why the final step in selecting accounts is identifying the connections and relationships you have with target companies. Create a comprehensive list of key stakeholders at each account, and then send those lists out company-wide to figure out where relationships exist. You never know. Steve in Accounting may have an old roommate at one target account and could help facilitate an introduction.
Leveraging your data management system to help you target the right customers for account-based marketing just makes sense. The good news is that ReachForce can help you do just that. To learn more about how ReachForce SmartForms can help you optimize lead generation and improve your impact on revenue, sign up for a free trial and get a demo today.