3 Crucial Steps to Follow While Making an Effective Target Account List in ABM

Vigil Viswanathan
May 26, 2022

ABM is an effective B2B technique for targeting and retaining specific, identified high value prospects in order to optimise your sales funnel. ABM can help coordinate business and marketing activities, as well as provide more purposeful assistance over a long and intricate marketing funnel, especially for B2B companies with high-value, low-volume deals.

ABM, has evolved as a complementary method to help business development teams to speed up the sales cycle, secure more sales, and expand into new sectors.

The effectiveness of ABM initiatives depends on selecting the right target accounts. Improved account engagement, higher transaction speed, and relatively large deals result from choosing the proper targets.

What is the definition of a target account in ABM?

Target accounts in a B2B ABM strategy are businesses that you aim to convert into clients. Account-based marketing (ABM) focuses the majority of your efforts and resources on the best-fit accounts with the highest revenue potential for the company. 

To transform such target accounts into long-time customers and supporters for your brand, your marketing team will need to focus their efforts on creating a proper target list. 

A target account list should represent all your knowledge about your ideal customer and be a strong fit for the service or product you're marketing. A thorough target account list (TAL) will aid in the targeting of your ad campaigns, the creation of new content marketing initiatives, and the determination of the accounts your sales associates may approach via cold call or cold email.

Below is a step-by-step guide on choosing the right target accounts for your ABM approaches and making a list for strategizing further.

1. Determine your objectives

Starting with your marketing goals is the primary and most important stage in targeting particular accounts. It becomes much simpler to identify the appropriate accounts to target once the company's objective has been determined and decided upon by marketing and sales. From targeting the cold leads and nurturing them further to simply approaching the best-fit accounts to drive more conversions, an ABM campaign can have a myriad of distinct objectives. Make sure to set the business objectives first before creating a target list for your ABM strategy.

2. Create an ICP and perform a sales analysis

An ICP is a model company that matches the characteristics of your ideal consumer. This is the type of consumer who would get the most out of your product or service while also giving you substantial amount of return. Developing an ICP may assist teams in identifying target accounts; with marketing automation technology, teams may even use tailored procedures to automatically indicate best-fit organisations. Your ICP's output ideally needs to be a one-page report that precisely depicts the kind of organisation you're targeting with ABM.

Here is a good resource in case you are trying to define your ideal person.

Another way to look at this is to work with your sales team to figure out the highest value clients, the product sold, the decision maker, their profile  and the company profile. This usually gives us enough data to create a ICP.

3. Find high-probability accounts with the use of existing data

AI and machine learning have enabled businesses to have access to more data than before. Employ firmographic, technographic, intent, and engagement data to guarantee your list comprises the most appropriate accounts. With access to a B2B data source, you can refine and discover leads by checking information such as sales and revenues, the size of the company, their technological infrastructure, and if they're currently using a competitor's product, to name a few.

Firmographic data

You presumably already have a strong understanding of the kinds of businesses that are most likely to close considerable purchases. Make sure to take a look at certain firmographic features including:

  • The size of the company
  • Number of workforces
  • The type of industry
  • The rate of expansion
  • Locations they are operating in

Annual reports and third-party data suppliers are also ideal places to look for this data. This is an excellent place to start when choosing a target account.

Technographic data

Determine which comparable solutions work well with your product and which technologies, on the other hand, make an investment less viable. If you offer marketing software, for instance, understanding what marketing automation or CRM a client uses might influence whether or not they are interested in your product. You can get this information via desk research, but it's also a smart option to tap into the expertise of data intelligence companies.

Intent data

Recognizing target account intent is one of the most important aspects of account selection. Both firmographic and technographic data are static descriptions that help you achieve your goals by reducing the overall size of your audience. Intent data, on the other hand, examines the search activity of new and relatively unknown connections on third-party sites to identify buying patterns.

The intent is a metric that shows how much material a company's buying committee consumes. This information may reveal indications that a target account is looking for solutions similar to your business right now. It's critical to use intent data to determine the popularity of a product similar to yours. Invest time in limiting the search terms that are relevant to your organisation and determining the level at which demand surges.

Engagement data

While intent data might indicate what kind of purchase behaviour an account is engaging in somewhere else on the web, engagement data aims to determine how involved an account is with your brand at this moment. When you have a huge list of prospective target customers, the organisations that already have engagement are the easiest way to gain momentum with ABM.

The following might be included in your engagement strategy:

  • Purchase data for the account
  • Account participation in sales and marketing efforts
  • Persona-specific account engagement
  • Relationships and connections that already exist in the account


Use a three-tiered strategy

Another integral part of the ABM strategy is to align your strategy with each account. In the total addressable market (TAM), not all accounts are created equally; it is thus important to maintain a tiered approach. To assure the appropriate amount of resources for each account, implement account tiers such as one-to-one, one-to-few, and one-to-many approaches.

Tier One: one-to-one ABM

Tier One accounts should be given the maximum ABM approach, which includes in-depth research, a detailed account strategy, specialised content, customised campaigns, and a lot of one-on-one attention from marketing and sales teams.

Tier Two: one-to-few ABM

Individual research is provided to Tier Two customers as well, although it may be restricted to a few important points for each account compared to tire-one accounts.

Tier Three: one-to-many ABM

This approach is for all the accounts you'd like to target but don't have the resources to personalise and customise them in a meaningful way. These are usually smaller accounts that number in large numbers. This sort of ABM is sometimes referred to as "Programmatic ABM" since it requires automation to carry out.


As previously said, the most crucial stage in the ABM process is identifying your accounts. To create an appropriate list of target accounts, you also need to prioritise how much time and effort you can devote to each one. To ensure the proper amount of time and resources for each account, implement account tiers and distinct approaches, and make sure everyone in the organization is on the same page about the priorities and resources assigned to each tier.

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