The premise of ABM is to pinpoint specific accounts that are ideal clients to specifically pursue, as opposed to the typical casting of a wide net in the hopes that a few ideal clients will get caught.
That all sounds great, but how do you know exactly what companies are the right fit, and how do you sort the data to identify the best audiences for optimum results?
Ready to go fishing?
1. Identify Your Ideal Client Profile
Hopefully, you already have a pretty good idea of who your ideal client profile (ICP) should be. To develop an ICP for an organization, think about the characteristics that your ideal customers might have. Similar to buyer personas, these are the accounts that are the perfect-fit customers who have challenges that your organization can solve.
In other words, you have the perfect hook for those fish!
Consider these accounts characteristics:
This one should be obvious, but it might not be. Sometimes you sell specifically into a niche industry, but other times you might be able to discover how you can expand your services into other areas.
Company size in revenue
Provide a range or minimum to make sure that this potential account can afford your products/services.
Number of employees
Determine the sweet spot of the number of employees that would be ideal for your products/services. If you sell a complicated HR platform, it may not make sense to go after a company with only 20 employees.
What type of technologies does this company already use, and do they integrate with your products or services? If not, can they adopt new systems or would it be too difficult to sell them on both?
Do you sell into specific regions, or is the sky the limit? This can be helpful to segment campaigns if your products are seasonal based upon region as well.
There may be a variety of other crucial characteristics that are specific to your industry, but the ones listed above are a great place to start.
2. Do Your Research
Once you have a good perspective of the ideal types of companies, it’s time to dig into the details. You should be able to get into the nitty-gritty of what these accounts are like, which will help you define your research even more.
You’re choosing the right type of bait.
Use your internal teams
Talk to marketing, sales, and other relevant teams about what an ideal client looks like, and compile common traits into a list.
Analyze current customers
Your best customers are (hopefully) already with you – so here’s your chance to find more just like them. Which customers have you retained the longest, or have the most recurring purchases? Which ones cost you more than they were worth? Define the good and bad, and use that information to refine your future prospecting.
Use your existing data
Is the existing data in your CRM clean? If not, it’s time to clean out those data closets. If it is, use that data to your benefit and analyze customer trends. You can also analyze competitors’ customers and/or customers’ competitors!
Choose tools to minimize manual processes
As you know, you should always be working smarter, not harder. Leverage your current tech stack to implement as much automation as possible, and stay on top of the latest and greatest martech tools. For ICP research, tools like Seamless.AI or ZoomInfo enable you to find ideal accounts based upon your ICP traits. Many of these tools can also integrate with your HubSpot CRM.
Now, gather your research, and start defining the accounts that you want to target. Then, determine which scale of ABM is best for your company, and you’re ready to throw out the line.
3. Define Your Key Stakeholders
Now that you have your target ICPs listed, it’s time to map out the key stakeholders, or decision-makers, within your target accounts.
Typically, ABM accounts have four types: executive team (C-suite), marketing, sales, and IT. Depending on what your organization offers, you could have a wide range of roles to target, or a very specific list. Always keep in mind that B2B buying typically happens by committee, not individually – so you have to make sure you’re not missing an important piece of your prospecting.
Here’s another way to think about defining roles within your campaigns:
Each of these likely has a specific job title associated with their role in the buying committee, so your Champion might be the IT Manager who sees the value of your service, whereas your Blocker might also be the Budget Holder, a Business Manager who doesn’t yet understand the potential ROI of this purchase.
You can also use LinkedIn Sales Navigator or other social media strategies to build out your account and contact lists.
What are you waiting for? There are plenty of fish in the sea, and now you have the tools to identify the accounts that are ideal for your B2B ABM campaigns.
Looking for actionable ways to run effective B2B campaigns? Check out: Our Guide to B2B Marketing Strategy: A Framework You Can Implement