The first step in starting an Account Based Program is defining the account list. But how do you define an account list? Does it exist, or is an account list built? Is an account list an aggregation of your sales team’s desires, or is it a strategy built with insight?
What’s in your account list?
Every organization has a list of companies they deem ideal for their products and services. Traditional approaches to account-based marketing have been limited to taking your existing account list and building a campaign around it. For most b2b marketers, the possibility of accurately targeting this list is exciting. But the open secret is that this list is at best static, a snapshot of the marketplace at a specific period of time.
Let’s think about this for a moment. The quality of your account list is the primary factor that will determine your ABM programs success. While a legacy list –stuffed as it is with Fortune 500 aspiration– may look wonderful, it is ignoring the real signals coming from an active and changing marketplace. Just because you’re interested in a company doesn’t mean that it is interested in you. So how do you know you have the right list?
This is where intent data comes in. If traditional account-lists are a static picture of the marketplace, intent reveals what is going on in the marketplace at any given time. Intent reveals what the topics companies are researching plus the individuals at those companies who at those companies are doing the research right now.
Intent-driven account lists are market-driven and adaptive to changing market realities. By using intent, marketers can understand what accounts are in-market for their products at any given time.
Intent Targets Individuals, Not Inventory
Account-based marketing was designed to bring focus to marketing programs, allowing marketers to focus their spend and efforts on accounts most likely to purchase. In the absence of intent data, that became a wish list of accounts, the premise being that focusing on a set of accounts is better than no focus at all. But this ignored an important factor: whether the accounts were in-market or not.
What’s more, traditional ABM would hit everybody at those accounts, even the mail room guys, when all you really want is the influencers and decision-makers at the heart of every b2b purchase.
Intent-driven account based marketing creates a more resolute focus for your marketing efforts. A campaign that targets both the in-market companies and the decision-makers at those companies will increase a marketing organization’s efficiency and maximize ROI.
It’s all about responding to the buying cycle
Let’s try a thought experiment. You’re a salesperson who has just flown the redeye into Chicago. You know you have ten prospects in the windy city, but your schedule only allows for 5 meetings.
If you don’t know anything about where your prospects are in the buying cycle, you’re going to have to guess. Maybe you’ll pick the accounts closest to your hotel. Maybe you’ll pick the accounts whose offices are closest to one another. You’ll be choosing by whim, not data.
But what if you could know what prospects were closest to purchase? What if you knew what prospects were researching products like yours? If you knew that 5 or your prospects were in the buying cycle, and 5 were most assuredly not…how would you set up your meetings?
Intent-based Account Based Marketing gives you the real ability to focus your spend and efforts on accounts that are most likely to buy because they are in market for your solutions.
For more information on how you can improve your Account Based Marketing programs, download our whitepaper: Account Based Marketing: Targeting With Intent.
(Image via Chase Elliott Clark)