Account-based marketing relies heavily on insights that can only be acquired from extensive data-driven research. This widely used approach in the sales and marketing industry is reported to benefit more than 67% of brands by targeting only a few specific accounts that suit their particular client persona.

 In the traditional marketing approach, businesses preferred to follow the conventional sales funnel where they used to create awareness with a wide net at first and slowly filter out which prospects to pursue in the long run for better conversion. 

In case of ABM though, the traditional sales funnel focuses on identifying the best-suited accounts first and then pursuing them with customized content along with individual attention in order to convert them into long-term clients.

To ensure the success of an ABM strategy, the initial step would be to focus on choosing the right accounts to get started. Since it is the foundation of any ABM tactic, choosing the appropriate accounts can increase engagement as well as boost overall sales growth. 

Here's how to make sure you're choosing the correct accounts for your ABM campaign.

Establishing a proper ABM team

Since ABM is an enterprise-wide initiative, when it comes to establishing and clarifying objectives, determining KPIs, and considering the purpose that ABM will serve for your business, everyone must be on the same page. It doesn't have to be your sole marketing approach, but it is good practise to think about how it will combine with your traditional marketing methods ahead of time. Although each organization's demands may change significantly, there are a few essential responsibilities that you need to fulfill:

Business and sales development reps: the sales development team is in charge of putting your ABM plan into action, both inbound and outbound.

Sales database administrator: maintains your CRM's contact and account data current.

Marketing operations manager: in charge of matching your contacts and accounts to the adequate marketing activity based on their stage in the buyer's journey.

Content manager: Because content is the foundation of any ABM strategy, you'll need a content manager to ensure that the right individuals get the relevant content on a regular basis.

Creators: To bring your company and brand to life, you'll need copywriters, graphic designers, web developers, and maybe photographers and videographers.

Set defined goals and objectives

Any strategy that strives for success is aided by predetermined goals. It's critical to understand how your ABM strategy will affect your company's overall objectives. Goals also allow you to estimate how much time and resources will be required to close your target accounts. Based on this information, you may then determine the sort of ABM approach you prefer for your company. 

For example, your objective could be to target the correct accounts for ABM. In this scenario, you'll concentrate on developing your ideal client profile and then looking for accounts that fit that description. Upselling and cross-selling to current clients can be another objective. 

There are several approaches to implementing an ABM strategy, depending on your objectives. Choose a one-to-one strategy for large accounts; it requires more resources but provides the most personalisation. You might also use a broader strategy for smaller accounts to bring in more revenue.

Determine your ideal client persona (ICP)

After you have determined the goals for your ABM strategy and what outcomes you are expecting from the campaigns, the next step would be to identify your ideal client persona. Identifying your ICP necessitates using a few key data pointers, including primarily firmographic and technographic data. Firmographic data includes information including the company’s size, industry, revenue, growth potential, and location. Technographic data, on the other hand, entails the current technology a company is using to run their organization.

Some of the most effective sources for acquiring these data points would be annual reports, the website of the company, industry media, PR, analyst reports, financial press, and investor relations, to name a few.

After evaluating the data, consider your best customers who have been the most profitable for your business so far. Upon determining the criteria, follow the same exercise and check for any similar patterns in your prospective clients. Identifying your ICP can also help you reverse-engineer your existing accounts and evaluate the factors that hold the most potential to achieve success.

Once you have determined your ICP and the key factors that help in identifying the most profitable prospects in the long run, focus on prioritizing the accounts through the ABM scoring system.

Scoring system in ABM

Account scoring is a comprehensive method that considers the demands of all stakeholders engaged in the client's purchasing decision. It aids in the exploitation of new possibilities within the client's account that standard lead scoring overlooks. The following are the steps involved in account scoring:

Choosing the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) - The ABM approach should be utilized to target organizations that fulfill the ICP. This might be in terms of industry, profit, location, and so forth. Make sure to also evaluate the possibilities if the prospective customers share the same characteristics as existing clients.

Establishing the scoring scheme A scoring system in ABM entails reaching certain parameters that can involve response to specific emails, event participation, website clicks, or certain advertising.

In an ABM scoring methodology, businesses can assign and upgrade the score per lead account based on their response to certain marketing approaches. For instance, in an email marketing campaign, if the prospective client opens an email and clicks on the links shared within it, this indicates their likelihood of engaging in the business. This instantly increases their ABM score, which in other words, makes them more prioritized as prospective buyers.

Tiering the accounts 

The final step of identifying the most profitable accounts for your ABM strategy is evaluating their engagement with your business and segmenting them accordingly. Tiering accounts further accelerates the entire journey of the ABM strategy towards success. Account tiering includes segmenting the prospective accounts into segmentations such as tier 1, 2, and 3 and delivering customised content according to each segment.

Tier 1: Accounts that fall under Tier 1 are ideal for your ICPs that demand highly customized content and individualized attention that addresses their specific challenges and preferences. Usually, a number of 5-50 accounts should be considered eligible for 1:1 campaigns and a highly targeted approach.

Tier 2: Tier 2 accounts might fulfill some of the criteria that your ICP holds, but have a low lifetime value. The level of customization is comparatively lower than that of tier 1 accounts.

Tier 3: In Tier 3, which is also known as the one-to-many approach, companies focus on less targeted accounts in order to increase engagement and gradually move them up to tier 2.

Irrespective of the tiering system, an effective ABM strategy requires running the campaigns on multiple channels. However, it is advisable to consider the different account values that each tier possesses before customizing content accordingly.

Conclusion 

Researching and identifying your ICP and customizing the ABM strategy according to that will leave you with more fine-tuned and high-targeted prospects. In an ABM approach, the executives get directly involved in the targeting process, hence elevating the overall significance of the marketing approach.