Conversational ABM | Account Identification for ABM

Visit Qualified to learn how to identify accounts for ABM and how to focus your conversational ABM strategy. Our blog has a variety of conversational ABM resources available.

Megan Guy
Megan Guy
October 28, 2020
min read
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This is the second post in our Conversational ABM series. In our first post, we discussed how Conversational Marketing accelerates your Account-Based Marketing program by capturing leads from target accounts faster than ever before and gives you a scaled way to deliver VIP experiences.

Next, let’s dive into the first step toward getting your Conversational ABM program off the ground: account identification for ABM.

Qualified's Conversational Marketing ABM Playbook unlocks the tools you need to take your account-based marketing strategy to the next level!

Align your ABM stakeholders

As you prepare for your target account list build process, it’s critical that you’re in lockstep with all key stakeholders across sales, marketing, operations, and customer success. Assemble your ABM stakeholders early and outline a crystal-clear definition of your target accounts so everyone understands and agrees on the criteria you’ll be using to determine your target account list.

Moving forward, these stakeholders will be crucial to the implementation and execution of your ABM program. You’ll want to meet frequently to discuss progress and iterate on your strategy as you refine what works and what doesn’t. At Qualified, we meet weekly to review progress on our strategy.

Develop a list of target accounts

Every company will have different criteria for which accounts they target as part of an ABM strategy. If you already have an ideal customer profile (ICP) created for your business, this is a great time to leverage that. If not, we're here to help! Start by taking a look at the characteristics of your best customers today (the ones who have the highest annual contract value (ACV) and renew at the highest rate) to surface common ICP characteristics.

Characteristics that make up your ideal customer profile are typically composed of some element of firmographic data:

  • Revenue
  • Industry
  • Company size
  • Geographic location

Plus some element of intent or product fit:

  • Product interest
  • Buying stage
  • Intent score
  • Recent search terms
Build your ABM target account list by looking at which companies have the same characteristics as your ideal customer profile (ICP)

Keep in mind that you don’t need to focus on net-new customers exclusively! In fact, it’s often easier and more cost effective to sell into existing customer accounts. If you have sales motions for cross-selling or up-selling, it could be smart to include customers in your target account list.

Target account list sizes can range from hundreds of accounts to thousands. The size of your target account list ultimately depends on the size of your total addressable market (TAM), the length of your sales cycle, the size of your sales team, and your average close rates. If you’re unsure about how many accounts to target, our advice is to start on the conservative side. You can always add more accounts into the mix, but you don’t want to spread your targeting and personalization efforts too thin right out of the gates.

Tag your target accounts in Salesforce

Salesforce is the source of truth for all of your prospect, customer, and account data, so it’s imperative that it houses all of your target account data, too. Once you’ve identified your list of target accounts, you’ll want to make sure they’re tagged in Salesforce so that you can act on them. 

We recommend you set up a new Salesforce field on the account object to unlock quick visibility and reporting functionality for the target accounts included in your ABM program. This could be as simple as an “ABM Account” checkbox field, or you could name it “ABM Account Status” and have value options such as “Current” or “Former” to track historical ABM accounts. 

Once you’ve set up and tagged your target account tracking in Salesforce, it’s a best practice to tier the accounts according to priority. Choose 1-3 criteria that are the strongest indicators of the potential value of the account—like revenue, employee count, or industry—and use those to dictate your tiering strategy.

For example, you may have 1,000 target accounts and then segment those by revenue band to determine your tiers. You could label them by number (Tier 1, 2, and 3), or have some fun with it and label them something like Diamond, Gold, and Silver. 

At Qualified, we created a field called “ABM Tier” that auto-populates the tier value in Salesforce based on the number of employees at the account. Regardless of your approach, the goal is to use the tier types to make it easy for sales and marketing to prioritize ABM efforts and account assignments.

What’s next?

Once you’ve completed your account identification for ABM and made it actionable by loading it into Salesforce, you’re ready for the fun part: launching targeted marketing campaigns! In the next post in our Conversational ABM series, we’ll give you all the details you need to begin marketing to your target audience.

In the meantime, check out our Conversational ABM Playbook to access a collection of strategies for using Conversational ABM to engage and convert your target accounts.

Qualified's Conversational Marketing ABM Playbook unlocks the tools you need to take your account-based marketing strategy to the next level!

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