Level with us… When’s the last time you filled out a form for a piece of gated content with accurate information?
When you’re in the early stages of researching a problem (not a product), all you want to do is get someone else’s point of view on the issue – not dodge the phone calls of an overeager or overworked SDR (who might not represent their brand appropriately on the first touch).
So you become James Bond. Or Laura Dern. Or any other fake name and phone number you can think of. You do it. I do it. Our future customers do it. And it dirties up everyone’s CRM and account history, making it hard to reach out when a contact is finally ready to be called.
If you want to be considered a true thought-leader in your space, gating content behind forms does little to inspire authority or build a positive brand experience. It also limits your audience’s access to important research and insights your marketing team spent time and resources putting together.
You wrote the content because you want your future customers to read it, right? But you added a form to it because that’s the primary way marketing automation lets you track a meaningful conversion.
With Terminus, you can track account engagement even without an explicit form fill, so you’re free to let visitors read your message without feeling like they’re being forced into a relationship with your SDR’s automated email.
Here are four strategies that Terminus uses to fix the gated content problem:
1) Place persistent chatbot alongside content
Try adding a sales chat to your content pages instead of gating them with a form. This will let visitors read the content and reach out when they’re ready – ideally when they’re steeped in your message and have a question or want to have a deeper conversation about your whitepaper or ebook.
This is a great option because it actually opens your sales team up to having deep conversations about your space while the prospect is in solution-finding mode for the problem you solve. Bonus: it also requires your sales team to be deeply familiar with your marketing content pieces, driving greater alignment between both teams.
2) Add forms deeper into your content
Another great option offered by content management hubs like Uberflip is to enable time-delayed or depth-delayed forms. That’s when you wait until a user is a certain number of pages in, or has spent a certain amount of time on your content experience, before requiring a form fill before they can go further.
This will reduce the total number of leads, but increase their quality, which means your SDRs will have time to create higher-quality touches for better qualified folks. And remember, since you can now track engagement at the account level, even if it’s anonymous, you can still trigger different SDR outreach or higher-touch marketing programs based on that anonymous, pre-form-fill engagement info.
3) Save forms for accounts that have Spiked or have some engagement
Terminus gives you Engagement Spikes, which tell you when an account is unusually active on your web properties. These Spikes get passed as a date and topic area into the Account object in your CRM.
This means you can then use them as a criterion for using form-gated pages via ads (within Terminus) and email (within your marketing automation tool of choice). By offering forms only after an account has spiked, you ensure that you’re asking for a higher-commitment action (giving your sales team some contact information) in response to a high-intent signal (a flurry of activity on your site, suggesting an active consideration cycle).
4) Shorten gated content forms to make them less intimidating
Ok, to be fair this is something we should all be doing regardless of whether we’re ‘account-based’ or ‘inbound.’ With the wealth of contact completion options out there – from ZoomInfo to Clearbit – every marketing team should prioritize minimizing their forms to make them as frictionless as possible.
Hey, if you have to get that conversion, get it – just promise us you’ll use engagement intelligence to help your SDR or BDR team prioritize who to reach out to first.
Want to know how to build an SDR sales commission structure an account-based marketing framework (and make your sales reps happier in the process)? Read our simple guide below to learn everything you need to know about SDR compensation and ABM.
We hear from many of our customers: “We know ABM is crucial to long-term revenue growth, but we don’t know how to alter our current sales commission structure to accommodate this change.”
Most sales compensation is built around activities which result in meetings set (often with arbitrary accounts). In an ABM framework, these meetings need to be with the right people at the right accounts in order to be valid. So – how do you make the switch?
The good news is you don’t have to reinvent the sales compensation wheel to start an ABM program. All you need to do is measure the metrics that matter in an account-based marketing model and apply them to the existing on-target earnings for your sales team.
A Few ABM Metrics That Matter:
Opportunities Created (from ICP or target accounts)
Annual Contract Value (ACV)
Buying Committee Penetration
Typical sales compensation plans offer commission tied to traditional metrics like lead consumption and close rates. While standardized and easy to execute, this traditional approach creates an assembly line mindset among salespeople that often yields mishandled leads, lost prospects, and a “one-size-fits-all” messaging strategy that won’t resonate with your target audience.
This is the kind of poor brand experience that will drive your potential customer right into the arms of a competitor. This approach also removes marketing from important pipeline involvement downstream and focuses all of their attention upstream, usually resulting in more leads but at a lower quality.
But what if you could use the same sales commission structure, but tied to the actual metrics and best practices that yield more revenue?
Reinforcing ABM behaviors with sales compensation
There’s no better way to incentivize marketing and sales alignment on revenue goals than by tying both team’s performance to new ABM KPIs which determine bonuses or commissions.
In an ABM sales comp structure, sales commission could be dictated by a few critical factors, the most important being account-based engagement rates and opportunities created with key decision makers within the organization. This will encourage the sales team to deliver more personalized messages and content, fostering a positive brand experience that will impact a renewal opportunity downstream. This is better for everyone – especially your customers.
This can also promote a constant feedback loop between sales (who needs marketing’s support to create bespoke content) and marketing (who needs sales’ help to identify the content which results in more meaningful conversations).
Every organization is going to be different based on location, TAM, where goals are at in their org, deal size and how quickly a deal closes – but the metrics that matter should remain the same across departments.
It’s also how to guarantee marketing involvement during the entire buying cycle of a target account. This level of alignment will result in more opportunities, faster pipeline, and happier customers.
As you consider how to reconfigure your compensation plans in an ABM framework, look at what your on-target earnings (OTE) is for your sales reps and back into what a reasonable goal would be for quality growth. This is a meeting that should take place between sales, marketing, and finance leaders.
How We Do It: Quality Over Quantity
At Terminus, we practice what we preach. Our acquisition strategy is based entirely on an account-based marketing model. If you’re here reading this because of an ad, email, social post, or some other marketing channel – it’s because we used an AI-driven data set to determine that you would be a successful customer with Terminus.
Our hyper-condensed list of dream accounts (like you) reduces the amount of accounts (not leads or contacts) that any salesperson would be able to work. To accommodate this reduction and to encourage sales to work these accounts in thoughtful, premeditated, and strategic ways, we also cut the opportunity target in half and increased the commission offered per account. Why? Because the account to opportunity conversion rate is higher.
For SDRs who work between 100-150 accounts per rep, we cut the demos set target in half from 16 to 8. Additionally, for opportunities that are created with a director level or above, we offer an additional cash kicker for every meeting with key decision maker, which incentivizes our reps to work accounts more thoroughly to make contact with the right people. The value of the kicker is percentage-based on the size of the account and revenue potential of the opportunity.
We also measure the progression of opportunities through the funnel so that a sales team is incentivized to make subsequent “smart touches” within their account to progress them forward. This is reflected as another component in their commission – once when the opportunity reaches our interest stage, and once when the deal closes. Our interest stage is predetermined by sales and marketing and exhibits certain behavioral signals that constitute a sales-accepted account.
In a binary comp structure, a sales rep is only encouraged to move an opportunity from open to closed and move on to the next low-hanging fruit. In ABM, sales teams are rewarded for building a meaningful relationship from start to finish. This often yields faster, easier upsell opportunities as well as higher renewal rates.
And You Can, Too
6 Quick Ways To Reinforce ABM with Commission
As you build out your ABM program, it’s important to consider the behaviors that you’re trying to incentivize and how they fit into your overall strategy. A sales compensation plan is promulgated by the belief that money motivates action. If a salesperson is not motivated, they will not take the desired actions.
Here is a list of common issues our customers have experienced as they continue to transition to an ABM framework, and ways you might alter your commission structure to alleviate them.
Note that these are just suggestions, not guidelines.
1) How do I get SDRs engaged with ABM?
If you’re struggling to get started or motivate your team to commit to an ABM mindset, consider running a small SPIFF or monthly incentive to drive immediate sales participation.
For every meeting set with one of your target accounts within the first week, offer a small cash incentive or prize provided immediately. This can boost interest and adoption of your ABM program across the sales org.
2) How can I get my team to focus on pipeline acceleration?
Your first step is to calculate your average deal cycle and elevate that number throughout the organization. Once the number is understood by your marketing and sales team, you can include an additional 1% kicker on the commission payout for any sale completed under the average deal cycle (or some percentage faster than average).
This will motivate your sales team to stay engaged throughout the pivotal touch points within the buying cycle right until the very end. Be sure to update and publish this number regularly to ensure your average deal cycle is always understood by every team member, so everyone is aligned on the opportunity journey stages.
3) How do I motivate my sales team to personalize more?
ABM represents an opportunity for your sales and marketing teams to align on a personalized outreach experience with your product or brand. This requires your SDR team to participate in the research and personalization phase.
We recommend having your sales leadership work with each SDR or AE to complete a worksheet in which they identify all members of the buying committee and include some relevant personal or professional information about them. What is their background? What products are they familiar with using? What industries have they sold to? What do they like to do for fun?
After all, an SDR can’t personalize their outreach if they haven’t done any research – so make research part of their compensation package. How does this motivate your team? Make it a requirement that a commission can only be paid out after this discovery worksheet has been completed and submitted it to their manager.
4) How do I get my team to engage the entire buying committee and reduce future churn?
We’ve all been there – your champion leaves the company and there’s no one left to advocate for your offering. The best way to avoid that is by building lasting relationships with the entire buying committee upstream.
Enter “The Pokemon Bonus.”
This can be an additional cash incentive or free PTO day which is only rewarded for sales made in which the entire buying committee is engaged. Engaging the entire buying center raises the likelihood of renewal, expansion, and doesn’t leave just one-person champions if there’s turnover at your target account.
Using a basic worksheet similar to the one from step 3 can help your team strategize their outreach. Once they’ve “caught them all,” they qualify for the “Pokemon Bonus.”
5) How do I keep my SDRs from wasting time on meetings with the wrong contacts?
It would be too simple to tell you to offer a cash incentive only for meetings set with key decision makers (that’s what we do). You can also take things a step further by removing commission targets from meetings set with anyone less than a director level. If you don’t want to be so extreme, you can use what we call “The Double or Nothing Bonus.”
With the “Double or Nothing Bonus,” you offer double commission to an SDR who can go back to accounts which have had meetings with a low-level coordinator or non-influencer and leverage that meeting into a second with another stakeholder. If an SDR can prove that they can go higher in the account from a bottom-up start – they qualify for the “Double or Nothing Bonus.”
6) How do I keep my SDRs from working the wrong accounts because of ~gut feelings~?
A common issue most every organization encounters is misalignment between sales and marketing teams. Marketing will often hand sales a bunch of accounts and sales looks and them and thinks, “no thank you.” Then they are off to the races working accounts they’ve found on their own that ~feel~ like a good fit.
This is an issue that needs to be confronted both on the compensation end and the culture end. A sales reps biggest motivator is closing more sales, but they also need to feel included in the end-to-end process. Have the sales, marketing, CSM, and finance teams work on your target account lists together, based on ACV, renewal stage, engagement, intent, and any other criteria that fits your ideal customer profile.
Once you have your perfect list, have sales agree that they only get paid 100% commission on these accounts and only 50% commission on accounts outside of this list (or whatever your team deems appropriate). Also reinforce the idea that marketing will guarantee support only for the accounts on this target account list, so sales understands that when they go after non-targeted accounts – they are on their own and will make less.
These are just a few ways you can use sales compensation to drive greater ABM adoption and to influence better behaviors among your sales team. Have more ideas? Email us at email@example.com and let us know what you think about sales compensation in an ABM world. Want to read more about traditional sales compensation? Read this guide from Hubspot.
Are you trying to figure out how your leads or Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) fit into an account-based strategy? You’re not alone – it’s one of the questions I hear most often.
Many marketers believe that making the switch to ABM means they have to sacrifice all of the traditional marketing metrics they’ve become accustomed to: form fills, leads, etc.
But ABM doesn’t have to be a “this or that” strategy – you can still incorporate leads into your account-based approach by simply adjusting a few things.
How Do Leads Fit Into Account Based Marketing?
It is a common misconception that leads are bad in an account-based strategy. Yes, bad leads are bad. But if you were to ask any salesperson if they want a good lead, the answer is probably yes. What you have to ask yourself is, “What is a good lead in modern B2B marketing?”
Is your definition of a lead simply a form fill? That might be too restrictive in today’s B2B space as there are many ways that people can engage with your brand – your new definition of a lead should reflect that. Did someone engage with you through chat, watch a video on your site, or read an ungated ebook?
If someone did any of the items above and they’re from a good-fit account, you should think of them as the equivalent of a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL).
Incorporating Leads Metrics Into Your ABM Program
Once your organization makes the switch to account-based marketing, you’re faced with the challenge of figuring out what to do with one of the most important metrics in traditional inbound marketing: leads.
For years, traditional businesses have been able to create very predictable pipelines based on lead metric targets; for example, by doing a historical analysis, a business could benchmark an average 5% conversion on leads becoming an MQL, and from there they could benchmark an average 50% conversion to SQL, and so on. This historical conversion data would allow them to build predictive pipeline reports.
While you’d always expect for there to be fluctuations based on seasonality, competitive pressure, or other outside forces, this kind of predictive modeling made it a bit easier for marketers to measure themselves based on their ability to make incremental gains in any of those lead-based metrics along the path to revenue (or a newly acquired customer).
It also gave sales the ability to easily scale hiring needs based on lead consumption rates and pipeline velocity.
But the problem with lead-based marketing is that, while the end result is predictable, you can also predict one other important thing: you’ll probably have to deal with a lot of unqualified or bad-fit leads.
Switching to account-based marketing filters out those bad-fit leads because you’ve narrowed your focus to your total addressable market and/or your ideal customer profile. This requires a mindset shift because you’re essentially asking your marketing team to either ignore or deprioritize the gross acquisition of leads, or severely discount their impact and learn to focus on entirely new metrics (like revenue). Scaling your sales team based on consuming bad-fit leads also makes the sales org more expensive without the same return on investment.
Tools like a marketing automation system can filter out incoming leads that don’t match your ICP, and because you’ve already done the legwork in advance to identify your ideal customer, when contacts from target accounts lean in and self-identify (via a web form, etc.), you can immediately move them into your marketing qualified lead bucket.
The benefit of ABM is that, in theory, you can “skip” the lead stage and move contacts into an MQL or SQL status. Because bad-fit leads shouldn’t be entering the pipe at all.
So where do traditional inbound metrics fit into account-based marketing? Essentially, you’re going to stop paying attention to the very top of the funnel – you just cut it out of the reporting. Instead, you’ll focus on marketing accepted leads or sales accepted leads, because that’s what ABM will help you drive more of.
Turning Anonymous Account Engagement into MQLs
Engagement is currently a big word in ABM and B2B marketing. Unfortunately, people sometimes have a hard time figuring out how to make it tangible, especially if they are still measured by leads or MQLs. Overall, we feel that measuring marketing’s success based off of engagement is far more valuable than MQLs, but we don’t want you to throw the baby out with the bathwater or suggest that someone transform their marketing measurement model before they are ready.
Just because marketing’s performance is measured by leads, doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of engagement. When you see that a good-fit account is engaging with your brand, you can add that account to a marketing program or campaign. You could create retargeting audiences based on good-fit account visits to your site. You could start proactively advertising to a whole department in an account that has visited your site. You could send a direct mail, invite them to an event, or create a personalized landing page. All these tactics will help you attract more high-quality leads.
It’s not only untrue that leads don’t fit into an account-based strategy, but it’s also pretentious and dangerous to continue evangelizing this notion. Not everyone is ready to completely transform their go-to-market teams from lead-based to account-based, and most organizations should never completely make that transition.
What is important is to evaluate how to transition your organization to start focusing on target account leads. Start slowly by showing the success of account-based strategies and proving the value of your ABM campaigns with small pilot programs. Then, if and when you’re prepared to make a larger transformation, you’ll be ready.
Launching an account-based marketing strategy in an established sales organization is a daunting proposal. It requires a slight, but fundamental, shift in reporting to the higher-ups and moves the marketing discussion from leads, leads, leads to target account pipeline.
Shifting from flat metrics like daily form fills to dynamic metrics like pipeline and revenue eliminates the discord between sales and marketing and has the ability to rally both teams under a common flag — the enterprise flag. After all, isn’t the enterprise flag the only thing that gets leadership excited anyway?
SalesLoft, an Atlanta-based platform that enables sales teams to better engage with their customers, relished the opportunity to leverage the Terminus ABM platform to measure account engagement by channel and accelerate their enterprise pipeline. We spoke with Eric Martin, the Senior Director of Demand Generation, on SalesLoft’s approach to enterprise acquisition.
Leaving the lead-based safety blanket
One of SalesLoft’s earliest goals was growing their share of the market beyond the companies that simply filled out a form on their website. After doing a full audit of their demand generation programs, their team, their processes, and tools — Eric came to the conclusion that they needed a complete overhaul to the way they were doing business.
The typical inbound leads were lower quality and the deals that they produced were too small. Simply attracting leads to fill out a form for a piece of content and throwing them over to sales was not going to attract or close the big fish with larger deal sizes. They needed to find a way to target and penetrate new markets, new industries, and larger customers. And that’s when SalesLoft found Terminus.
“This different way of doing business, this different way of growing was tailor made for a large company strategy.” – Eric Martin, says of ABM.
Starting off on the right foot with TAM
Before SalesLoft could commit to an ABM strategy, they had to commit to isolating their Total Addressable Market (TAM) and Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). This included analyzing the size of their market and then using the results to contextualize and source the accounts that they were going to use for their two key segments, commercial and enterprise.
The TAM for SalesLoft is incredibly vast — essentially any B2B org with a sales department. This meant they had to use firmographic and technographic data to surface their best-fit accounts — those of a certain size with a CRM and with a marketing automation platform. Once the accounts were identified, they could figure out the marketing menu and the programs that they would use to be able to engage with these accounts.
3 Metrics That Matter to SalesLoft (and their Board)
When asked what metrics they presented to the board, SalesLoft provided these three KPIs:
1. Target Account Pipeline
Target account pipeline is the number one metric that SalesLoft tracks to ensure ABM success. This is pipeline specific to the key accounts that SalesLoft has identified as important to sustainable growth. This metric is shared between sales and marketing and the basis for their ABM measurement.
By focusing on only target accounts, they were able to refine their messaging to a select few personas, rather than chasing an endless “Russian Doll” persona hole with an impossible number of roles and needs to develop content for.
While the universal message of “get more meetings” was pulling in the volume of leads needed to support early stage growth, ultimately that strategy began to drown out the more valuable contacts made with their best-fit accounts.
2. Marketing-Influenced Pipeline
The second metric that SalesLoft uses to determine ABM success is the percentage of target account pipeline that marketing influenced. This simple percentage lets their leadership know how effective their marketing programs are at covering the entire target account pipeline and how much of the target account list they are engaging with.
This is a holistic number that goes beyond digital and includes field marketing, events, email outreach, and any other marketing campaigns that are running in tandem with sales’ outreach.
SalesLoft determined that 70-80% of the target account pipeline at minimum should be influenced by marketing programs based on industry analyst benchmarks — and if that number is not being hit then either the marketing has to change or the target account list needs to change.
3) Target Account Contacts Engaged
3) The third metric that SalesLoft tracks as part of their ABM success is target account contacts engaged — or as SalesLoft calls them — the new MQL. This is a contact made within one of your best-fit accounts.
Unlike many organizations, SalesLoft has attempted to move away from the traditional MQL/SQL taxonomy to fully commit to an account-centric model.
RESULTS: SalesLoft closes a $100k enterprise account
The enterprise opportunity was opened in November of 2016 and closed in January of 2019. This was a multiyear deal that involved multiple personas that were engaged throughout the cycle. Pictured above is demo data from a similar enterprise account.
On this graph, the blue dots are the contacts at the account that they have engaged with. The orange dots are engagements with actual contacts on the opportunity — the decision makers. This graph demonstrates the amount of work that goes into closing an entire account — not just working a single lead that filled out a form.
Now, every time an enterprise deal comes through, SalesLoft leadership jumps into Terminus Account Hub and looks at the Opportunity Journey Report to see what learnings they can derive about when, how, and why an enterprise deal closes. From there, their team can apply those learnings about buying committee behavior to their other enterprise accounts.
Another report they pull from Account Hub is the marketing report, which shows all of the marketing touch points that influenced the deal, letting his content team know what is being consumed, when it’s reaching their target audience, and what is influencing pipeline. This is demo data from a similar enterprise account.
From this view, marketing can easily see which pieces of content yielded the most engagement from the opportunity contacts which would allow them to iterate for future deals.
Going beyond digital with ABM
One specific ABM tactic that SalesLoft implements is a robust field marketing strategy. While each event represents a large (and potentially risky) investment, they have yielded a lot of positive results with ABM. At the enterprise level, the sales process is very relationship-based and requires building those relationships from scratch. Having a strong field marketing program enables the SalesLoft team to build those relationships in person, rather than typical, and often transactional, email or phone channels.
To learn how Terminus can help with your ABM strategy, contact us today.
Intent signals are signals that are triggered by a prospective buyer’s web behavior that indicates they might be in the market for a specific product or service. Capturing buyer intent data is an invaluable asset in your marketing arsenal; knowing your target accounts are in-market for your product/service can bolster your marketing efforts and strengthen your sales outreach, ultimately leading to more opportunities (and closed deals).
But as we’ve emphasized before, just having the data at your disposal doesn’t mean your marketing and sales outreach will automatically improve.
In fact, one common problem our customers face is trying to navigate the wealth of intent data at their disposal – and, once they’re interpreted it, they then have to figure out how to take action on it.
Another common challenge? Divvying up those accounts amongst the sales team. Obviously, your sales team members will want dibs on the accounts showing intent – but you need a process that evenly (and fairly) distributes accounts across the team while also making sure you’re taking action on the data at your disposal.
The solution? Rules of engagement.
By defining the rules of engagement for your marketing and sales teams, you can ensure you avoid this particular minefield.
Rules of engagement are triggers that set off specific actions and define the boundaries of account relationships. These triggers are similar to “if this, then that” logic.
From a sales perspective, defining the rules of engagement sets clear eligibility criteria, which allows a rep to answer the following question: “Am I, Rep A, allowed to reach out to a contact at this account?”
From a marketing perspective, defining rules of engagement can also help to tailor your marketing outreach.
Here’s how to define and activate engagement triggers for your marketing and sales teams.
How To Set Up Your Triggers
If you have an account-based platform like Terminus with an account-based rules engine, it can automatically manage, execute, and measure the success of your rules of engagement. If you are just starting out and don’t have an account-based platform, you’ll want to create sublists to manage the next steps and measure success.
Define the inputs to your trigger. These should be based on a combination of fit, intent, relationship, and engagement account attributes. It could be for a combination signaling an account is highly valuable and likely in a buying cycle, it could be the complete opposite, or somewhere in the middle. You’ll want to respond to different combinations of account signals in different ways. The rules of engagement are the key to scaling your account-based program.
Define your actions. This could be moving an account to a new list, program, campaign, or sending an alert to sales. Here are some examples:
Add an account to an account-based display advertising campaign.
Send sales an alert that a target account is engaging with your pricing page.
Add an account to a LinkedIn advertising campaign.
Send a direct-mail piece to an account.
Request for an executive to send a handwritten letter.
Invite contacts from an account to an event.
Get contacts for an account from a contact provider.
Add the account to a sub list.
Define your process. Plan what steps need to happen and who needs to be involved from the time the trigger is set off to when the action is complete. For example, if you are triggering an executive to write a handwritten letter you might plan the following steps:
Sydney Bristow, Marketing Ops Manager, will add the account to the executive email list.
Sydney Bristow, Marketing Ops Manager, will send an alert via email to the sales owner of an account that has qualified for an executive email.
The email will ask the sales owner to provide the executive contact from the account that they would like the letter to go to, address, and personal details that should be included in the letter.
Michael Vaughn, Demand Gen Manager, will send a request via email to the appropriate executive at her company, Credit Dauphine, with the information provided by the sales owner.
Michael Vaughn, Demand Gen Manager, will get the letter from the executive and mail it via USPS.
Sydney Bristow, Marketing Ops Manager, will add the contact to the executive email Salesforce campaign.
Note that if you use an account-based platform like Terminus in combination with a direct mail tool like Sendoso, you can automatically trigger many of these steps.
By clearly defining the rules of engagement for your sales team, you can avoid confusion, better tailor your marketing outreach, and have clearly defined boundaries for account relationships – which can make it easier to monitor progress through the account lifecycle.
Ready to measure the impact of those marketing efforts? Check out this blog to learn how to report ABM success to your stakeholders.
If you’re just starting out with account-based marketing, you may not yet be using any sophisticated methods for segmenting and targeting your ideal customers. Maybe you’ve built out your TAM and ICP and you’ve identified the “big fish” you want to pursue.
But as you run your first few ABM pilot programs, you’ll want to start looking to scale your program from two perspectives: one that looks at how many accounts you want to target, and one that looks at the types of account data you are (or will be) using.
To do this you‘ll need to gather new types of account intelligence – but that’s just half the battle. Having the data at your disposal doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you, you’ve got to take the steps necessary to start crafting account-based marketing efforts around the data you do have on your target accounts (and if you don’t have a certain data set that would be useful, it’s probably time to get your hands on it.)
It’s also critical to have a process outlined for ingesting the data and making it actionable. We’ll show you how to do that, but first, let’s look at the different types of account intelligence you can use.
What Types of Account Data Are Available?
Fit data, which includes firmographics such as industry and company size, are the basics of an account-based strategy. While having this may give you an edge over many of your competitors, some of your competition is probably using more advanced fit data – so you should, too, if you want to gain the upper hand.
Incorporating advanced data attributes into your account-based targeting, including some of the characteristics outlined below, enables you to get hyper-targeted with your marketing and sales campaigns. Common advanced data attributes include:
Number of employees in a specific department
How would you discover if your accounts are interested in what your company is selling? It starts with monitoring third-party websites — not your own websites — for signals that accounts are searching for services or products similar to yours, or are researching topics relevant to your company.
Here’s an example: imagine you sell a SaaS product for physical therapists. Based on your ICP and the research history of your current customers, you know your prospective customers are likely searching for content about cloud-based electronic medical records, streamlining documentation, and billing and outcomes tracking among other concerns a clinic director might face. Intent data would let you know when people from a target account are going to third-party sites about cloud-based electronic medical records, streamlining documentation, and billing and outcomes tracking.
Intent data arms your team with early intelligence that an account is interested in a solution or topic relevant to your company. With this intelligence, you can trigger campaigns targeting these accounts with more personalized messaging before your competition even has them on their radar.
By analyzing the email and calendar patterns of all your employees, relationship insights identify and quantify the entire network of relationships that exist between your team and decision influencers in target accounts.
Relationship data gives marketers true insight into the quality of relationships and engagement within target accounts while also allowing you to segment these relationships by location or other customizable segments.
Let’s say you’re planning a direct mail campaign for opportunity acceleration. You could use relationship data to segment out a list of opportunities that have the most two-way communication with your team and filter out the opportunities with weak or nonexistent communication.
While intent is all about identifying interest and catching it early to help inform your sales and marketing teams’ strategies, engagement insights demonstrate the ways in which accounts are currently interacting with your brand, online and off.
With engagement insights, you’ll know which accounts are engaging the most with your website, events, emails, and content — all signaling a high level of interest. And, you will know it before anyone from the account has filled out a form.
How Do You Get Advanced Account Data?
It’s time for a moment of truth: to get access to advanced account data, you’re probably going to have to buy most of it. While it is possible to gather fit, relationship, and engagement data yourself, it would be a very manual process, you would end up with a lot of gaps and errors in your intelligence, and it would not be scalable.
Below is a chart of account- based data providers.
How Should You Manage Account Data?
As we said earlier, getting that data is just half the battle. Your process for ingesting the data and making it actionable is the hard part.
To do this, you need to build a centralized account intelligence center, or more simply, an account hub. Your account hub is a place where you can see all the F.I.R.E data in a single view, prioritize accounts, and build your lists.
Account Data Management Options
Ideally, you want an account-based platform such as Terminus to manage your account data, but if you are earlier in your account-based journey, you may have to rely on spreadsheets as traditional lead-based CRM and marketing automation tools are designed to manage contacts, not accounts.
First, you will want to identify the firmographic, intent, relationship, and engagement data you want to track at an account level. For example:
Medical Record Management
**Last Engagement Spike
* Sigstr provides a score from their relationship algorithm. ** An engagement spike is a meaningful increase in the number of visitors
You’ll then want to build an account hub spreadsheet. Based on the criteria above, your spreadsheet would look like this:
Now that you have an account hub spreadsheet, you need to fill it out. To do this you need to first export a CSV file from each of your account data tools. So, if you are using Datafox for advanced firmographics and Bombora for intent, you will need to go into both, select your accounts, and download a CSV file.
Clean up and consolidate the data. To do this, you’ll typically use a VLookup to match the account domain when consolidating data across multiple sources. But, different tools have different ways of writing the domain. Some include a forward slash at the end and some don’t. Some tools use HTTP, while others use www. You will need to go through the list and make sure all the URLs are uniform.
This is what our Marketing Ops team used to refer to as “Spreadsheet Island.”
Finally, you will be ready to consolidate all the data into the account hub spreadsheet.
Once your data is centralized into your hub, you can begin to create account segments and lists for specific campaigns based on fit, intent, relationship, and engagement. For example, you may want to run digital ads for a group of accounts showing intent and send direct mail to a group of accounts showing engagement.
Get the Terminus Account-Based Platform’s Account Hub, so you never have to do that much manual reporting again (kidding!).
All jokes aside, as you prove the value of your ABM program and begin scaling it, you will have to find opportunities to streamline your workflow, reduce manual effort, and manage more accounts. At some point, it will become critical to be able to automatically see your account intelligence signals in real-time.
The Terminus Account Hub provides a single view of all your fit, intent, relationship, and engagement data. The data is automatically updated in real-time and you can prioritize and build lists with a click of a button. This streamlined approach to account intelligence allows you to focus more time and energy on identifying ways to engage and convert those accounts into opportunities.
But, if you aren’t ready to implement a comprehensive ABM platform, following the above steps will help you to centralize your data, which will enable you to ingest and take action on it that much quicker.
When you become the established leader of your industry, the name of the revenue game can often change from acquisition and demand to renewals and expansions. And, if your deal sizes are in the millions, focusing on retaining and expanding within your key accounts matters more than winning potentially poor fit net new businesses that will likely churn in the next deal cycle.
Enter account-based marketing.
The account-based marketing philosophy is built around understanding your total addressable market (TAM) and then starting meaningful conversations with those accounts who match your ideal customer profile (ICP). Everyone who doesn’t fit that profile is put on hold in carbonite – to be reawakened when and if they someday match your ICP. Once the target accounts are identified within your CRM as either existing customers or prospect accounts, you can select the tools required to align and scale your sales, CSM, and marketing efforts in an efficient manner.
Thomson Reuters Legal Professionals, the world’s leading source of legal management solutions, turned to Terminus for an account-based marketing partner who could help execute an ABM program at scale quickly and efficiently to drive retention, expansion, and pipeline velocity with their key accounts.
We spoke with Jillian Gartner, Director of Account Based Marketing, on Thomson Reuters’s approach to ABM and the 9 account-based marketing tactics they used.
Tiering Accounts to Scale Growth
When Thomson Reuters first launched their ABM program, they began by tiering their accounts into different buckets, based on deal size and renewal stage. Of their TAM, they determined that 500 accounts fit their ICP and divided them into three tiers which would have different account-based marketing tactics to support them.
TIER 3: High-Fit, Further Out Renewals, Longer Sales Cycle
Of the 500 accounts which Thomson Reuters targets as part of their ABM program, 200 have been classified as Tier 3 accounts. This means that they match their ICP, but have contract renewal dates which are further out or are net new accounts which will likely have a longer deal cycle. This tier also forms the baseline of activities for Tiers 1 and 2.
For these accounts, Thomson Reuters employs three different account-based marketing tactics to keep their interactions with these accounts highly meaningful and top of mind.
Tier 3 Account-Based Marketing Tactics
ABM Tactic 1: “Always On” Digital Marketing
The first tactic they employ is an “always on” digital approach which includes heavily personalized programmatic ads so that, when their accounts are surfing the web, the Thomson Reuters product line best-suited for the account is always displayed. They use Terminus to run these programmatic ads to target each account and measure the results.
ABM Tactic 2: Strategic Field Marketing
These Tier 3 accounts are invited to any number of the 700 in-market events which the Thomson Reuters field marketing team strategically plans throughout the country based on various product roadmap sessions and thought leadership sessions based on the industry as a whole.
ABM Tactic 3: Content or Event Opportunities
The third ABM tactic they deploy for these Tier 3 accounts is offering thought leadership opportunities – which include being quoted in content pieces or being offered speaking opportunities at one of their in-market events.
TIER 2: High-Fit, Active Renewals, Larger Acquisitions in need of air cover
The second tier includes accounts which are in active renewal discussions or which represent a large new acquisition that is not actively engaging with sales. These 200 accounts need higher-touch marketing support to help the sales and CSM teams stay in front of these larger firms and companies at the right time.
The Thomson Reuters team actively deploys the ABM tactics from Tier 3, in addition to the following set.
Tier 2 Account-Based Marketing Tactics
ABM Tactic 4: Door Opener Kits
Door opener kits are a very effective ABM tactic for Thomson Reuters Tier 2 accounts. If there are any firms stuck in the sales cycle or become unresponsive, a dimensional mailer (like a Yeti tumbler, Google Home, or a high-end snack item such as gourmet popcorn) will often result in a fast response.
ABM Tactic 5: Trial Incentives
Depending on the product line that the account is best-suited for, they may receive an invitation to utilize the product for free for a limited period of time to get the account engaged in the product.
ABM Tactic 6: High-Profile Events
Fortunately for Thomson Reuters, they are also part of the news network Reuters News which gives them access to high profile events like the White House Correspondents dinner. This, along with strategic purchases of exclusive suite sat the U.S. Open tennis match and other similar events, allows the Thomson Reuters team to invite Tier 2 decision makers to a high-profile networking events at the right time – because they have opportunities throughout the year.
TIER ONE: High Risk Renewals, Largest Acquisitions with Active Sales Cycle
Tier 1 accounts represent Thomson Reuter’s most strategic targets which include high risk renewals and the largest acquisitions which are 18 months from closing.
While receiving the benefits of both the Tier 2 and 3 programming, these 100 accounts also receive custom 1-1 marketing campaigns managed by two individual marketing managers.
Tier 1 Account-Based Marketing Tactics
ABM Tactic 7: Dedicated Personnel
Tier 1 accounts receive programmatic ads completely bespoke to the company’s name, firmographics, and stage in the buying cycle which are developed and managed by a dedicated marketing team member who works in lockstep with sales. These 1-1 campaigns are deeply researched and personalized so that every sales and marketing touch is meaningful.
ABM Tactic 8: Onsite Product Events
To drive interest for the product line best-suited for the target account, Thomson Reuters hosts onsite product demo events in the offices of the customer or the prospect. These have included bringing in baristas, planning Ben & Jerry’s ice cream socials, offering catered lunches, and more – all to drive attendance so they can reach the people who help influence the buying decisions on their home turf.
ABM Tactic 9: Executive-Level Thought Leadership Opportunities
Thomson Reuters has a thought leadership arm, Legal Executive Institute, that is an industry leader in hosting exclusive events and publishing content to the legal industry. Their ABM team works in close partnership with the thought leadership group to ensure executives from their top law customers have opportunities to speak at industry events and be published in blogs, white papers, articles and more. Having this exposure not only makes their customers happy, but it allows their sales team to follow up and congratulate industry executives on being featured as an industry thought leader.
The Proof Is in the Popcorn
From bags of gourmet popcorn to invitations to the White House Correspondents dinner, the account-based marketing tactics employed by the Thomson Reuters team were the perfect blend of standardized and customizable.
By strategically tiering the target accounts by fit, deal size, and buying cycle stage and pairing them with proven account-based marketing tactics, the Thomson Reuters team was able to build a scalable program which resulted in a 95% win rate, 80% of which was from renewal or expansion opportunities.
If you’re curious how you can scale an effective ABM program for your business, contact Terminus today.
How do you decide which accounts you should pursue right now, and which can rest for a couple of quarters? What’s the most efficient way to structure your ABM programs so you can maximize results without leaving money on the table?
Whether you run your ABM programs on a quarterly basis or you run dynamic programs that move accounts in and out of your programs daily, you’re more than likely already following some sort of tiering system. And if you’ve got a large TAM and ICP, that tiering system is critical to running efficient programs.
The process for building out account segments and tiers relies largely on the same attributes you use to define your TAM and ICP – firmographic, environmental, and behavioral attributes.
When building your ICP, you’re looking for all the attributes that your best customers have in common.
But when you’re segmenting account lists, you’re focusing on individual attributes (or groups of attributes) that suggest an account may respond better to particular messaging, products, or features. You can also form a segment based on behavioral signals that suggest a group of accounts has a higher propensity to engage right now. So, account segmenting focuses a bit more on timeliness and relevance, while your ICP is broader in nature – making it more difficult to personalize and scale.
The example below shows how an ICP can include multiple geographic territories, company sizes, and industries, whereas the sample account segment has been refined to target just a single territory, company size, and industry.
Ideal Customer Profile
Geography: North America, Europe, & APAC
Size: SMB, Mid-Market, & Enterprise
Industry: Software, Financial Services, and Healthcare
What Is An Account Tier?
Account tiering refers to using technology, data points, and good old-fashioned research to prioritize your dream accounts. Most B2B companies find that a 3-tiered system works best. In this system:
Tier 1 accounts are perfect ICP fits, similar to your highest value customers. Tier 1 also includes logos with strategic value.
Tier 2 accounts are strong ICP fits but have a lower lifetime value.
Tier 3 accounts fit most, but not all, ICP criteria. They’re worth pursuing but typically not worth investing significant resources to win their business.
Not all accounts are created equal. You should allocate more resources to accounts that have the potential to drive the most revenue and/or strategic value for your business.
Unlike segmentation, tiering is not as concerned with slimming down the list of firmographic attributes as it is with identifying accounts based on value.
There are many ways to do this:
Some companies tier their current customers based on revenue received.
Others may tier based on the Fortune 500 companies that are a good fit for their solution.
Others might tier based on a combination of firmographics and behavioral attributes that suggest a company is most likely to be a more valuable customer and behavioral signals suggest a group of accounts have a higher propensity to engage right now.
There’s no perfect recipe for segmentation – it depends on where you feel you’ll see the best results. But keep reading for some tips on how to get started!
How To Segment Your First Account List
According to where you are on your account-based mission, you probably want to target anywhere from 100 – 1,000 accounts. The number of accounts depends on how many salespeople will be involved, your opportunity and revenue goals, and standard conversion rates.
Your goal should be to achieve greater conversion rates, but you can start with your current baseline.
In general, the earlier you are in your account-based journey, the fewer sales reps you want to have involved in the program. If you’re running a pilot program, it’s critical to lead with a small group of your best sales reps. A small group allows you to stay close to what is happening and enables optimal feedback and communication.
As you expand past your pilot you should bring on a larger test group to see how the program scales with a larger number of salespeople and target accounts. Once you’ve tweaked the program to perform well at scale you can expand across an even larger team. This is the “crawl, walk, run” approach to ABM many of our successful customers leverage when scaling their ABM programs.
Choosing Your Accounts
If you’re conducting a pilot ABM program, you may not have advanced targeting data and tools, and that’s okay.
For now, you can use the firmographic data already at your disposal to trim your list down based on the accounts that you believe have the highest chance of success and will respond to similar messaging.
Lists You Will Need:
(Note: these instructions are based on the assumption that you’ve already built out your TAM and ICP. If you haven’t, you can learn how to here.)
Your ICP should likely include a large list of firmographic attributes. If you can cross-reference those data points with the attributes of the accounts that progressed the quickest through your sales cycle, you can further narrow your list to a “sweet spot” of accounts that share qualities with your best, highest-velocity customers.
You will want to be sure that the list you come up with fits within your ICP. Otherwise, you run the risk of targeting a group of accounts that are likely to close quickly but churn early.
As a rule of thumb, you could start by filtering out all the accounts that don’t fit your ICP.
Opportunities that closed in the past twelve months
The accounts with the fastest sales cycle were the SMB software companies. This is a good start for where to point your laser, but you probably need to further refine the list. Let’s say you have specific messaging and content for cybersecurity software companies. You could then pick the top 100 SMB cybersecurity software companies in your TAM to enroll in your ABM pilot program.
Getting Buy-In from Sales
Marketing-sales alignment is crucial when building and segmenting your account lists. While you may have done the research to build what you think is a foolproof list, your sales team might have a different perspective based on their experience in the trenches working on these accounts.
So, once you’ve got your list ready, set up a meeting with your sales team (or at the very least, the sales leadership team) to:
Explain the logic behind the list
How you created the list
Ask for feedback
Turn Your Target Accounts into Customers
As you run your first few pilot programs, you’ll want to start looking to scale your program from two perspectives: one that looks at how many accounts you want to target, and one that looks at the types of account data you are (or will be) using.
You’ll also want to start looking into leveraging data enrichment services/platforms to gain more insight into your target accounts.
But for now, you’ve identified and tiered your target accounts. You’ve gotten the A-Okay from your sales team. Now it’s time to engage them with target account marketing!
Sales teams can frequently be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data marketing can generate for any given contact or account. Often, that data lives in separate platforms making it hard to access, easy to ignore, or too convoluted to be useful.
From time-sensitive engagement data to customized marketing campaigns – a holistic account experience can feel impossible to visualize. So – how can marketing enable sales with the data they need in a format that’s actually usable?
Enter Account Insights from Terminus: the solution to the problem.
Rather than inundating your sales team with minute-by-minute automated emails about a single user’s activity, Account Insights delivers trends across an entire account so your SDRs and AEs can visualize the entire account experience from a single screen – no scrolling required.
Sales enablement, where and when they need it
What is Account Insights? Account Insights combines all relevant data sources into a snackable view in SFDC, eliminating the barriers to access and usability. This allows sales to see the full demand trajectory, including all the campaigns marketing has been running, heretofore, in the background.
Account Insights helps bring marketing’s job to the forefront and helps align your sales counterparts to your shared mission – acquiring key accounts ripe for acquisition and expansion.
By demonstrating clear trend lines on contacts influenced by marketing’s efforts, they know when an account is heating up and can prioritize their outreach efforts accordingly. By breaking out contacts by engagement and activity, sales can also see which channel and messaging strategy is the most effective and know where they might need more support from marketing.
Focus your outreach to increase response rates
Your sales reps don’t need to waste time logging into another system with convoluted data streams – they need a quick, digestible breakdown of the activity that matters so they can take swift, intelligent action.
Account Insights gives details on which contact on the account is engaging most and when – so they know how and who they should be reaching out to and what campaigns they are reacting to.
It also shows how many more contacts have been added to the account within the past 90 days, showing sales how far they’ve potentially penetrated the buying committee. Account Insights also surfaces that sweet, sweet intent data (from our friends at Bombora) directly adjacent to your engagement models so you can clearly see the topics they are searching for and the products that most closely align with their needs.
By leveraging this dynamic data duo, your sales and marketing teams can create customized campaign creative coupled with personalized sales outreach that’s impossible for your account to ignore. In less than a minute, your SDRs and AEs can see what marketing messages are resonating and identify a few key phrases to grab their attention before they reach a competitor.
By visualizing the entire account journey – including both sales and marketing’s efforts, you can give cleaner, faster updates on pipeline progression as it relates to key accounts and reward team’s that progress faster through tighter alignment.
Account Insights for all
The best part of Account Insights is that this feature is open to every account in your CRM, meaning that both your sales and success teams can benefit from the available data.
Imagine a scenario in which a customer success manager notices an engagement spike from a key-account on a new product line they aren’t currently utilizing and intent data indicating they are researching a similar product from a competing service. Now, your CSM and marketing teams are prepared to build a retention campaign based on historical data from the account and the new behavioral data displayed on the same screen.
This one screen gives your teams everything they need to stay aligned on your highest-priority accounts and the visibility into your outreach efforts that you’ve always craved.
Account Insights is available for all Terminus plans with Account Hub. Contact your CSM if you’d like more information about Account Insights.
Whether you know it or not, you are in an account intelligence arms race. Tomorrow’s winning B2B companies will be the ones that are able to centralize intelligence from multiple sources at an account level and be able to take action quickly across their sales and marketing channels.
Right now, your competition is finding more advanced ways to collect and synthesize account data, identify key target accounts, and connect with relevance in a timely fashion (creating a blockade for your sales teams).
Success in B2B marketing and sales is now a game of inches, not feet. And it starts with effective, data-driven, and dynamic targeting built on new types of account data that you can take action on immediately –– not tomorrow or next week.
But before you can target and engage your ideal accounts, you’ve got to find out what your account-based landscape looks like (simply put: how many accounts could you be targeting?).
You do this by defining your total addressable market (TAM) and ideal customer profile (ICP). Before we show you how to do this, let’s clearly define what these two terms mean (and explain how they’re different).
What Does Total Addressable Market (TAM) Mean?
Your TAM is made up of all the accounts you could possibly ever sell to. This is the entire revenue potential of your current set of products and services. In a B2B account-based strategy we translate this to the number of companies, or rather, accounts, we could sell to.
What Does Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) Mean?
An ICP is often confused with a buyer persona – but they’re referring to two separate things. Unlike traditional inbound marketing, ABM doesn’t necessarily require in-depth, character-driven personas (think “Megan the Marketer”). Instead, an Ideal Customer Profile is a description of the company that’s the best fit for your product or service (and when you’re talking about the people on the buying committee at that company, it’s a buyer persona).
Let’s say you’re a legal SaaS company focusing on marketing to large law firms. Your TAM might encompass every law firm that could benefit from the use of your software, however, your ICP will probably look quite different. To put it in perspective, while you might be able to sell your software to solo and small firm attorneys focusing on civil litigation, these firms don’t offer the same revenue opportunity as larger, sometimes enterprise-level firms – and they probably won’t benefit as much from your solution. Your ICP, therefore, might look something like this: “Law firms – in any practice area – with 100 or more associates, multiple locations, and $50M+ in annual revenue.”
P.S. To check out an example of a real-life legal SaaS company seeing success with ABM, click here.
Your ICP should focus on relevant characteristics of your target accounts, such as:
Employee headcount — companywide
Technology they use and within key departments
Size of their customer base
Level of organizational or technological maturity
How Are TAM And ICP Different?
As described above, your TAM is the total number of accounts that could buy your product or service (to refer back to the example, it could be any attorney, anywhere). But, just because a company could buy your product doesn’t mean you should invest valuable time and resources in marketing to them.
Your resources are scarce. Even if you sell a SaaS tool, there is a cost in people and resources for every customer you bring on. Someone has to help manage your customers, create new features to keep them happy, and you need a support staff to manage those people.
So even if your product could potentially serve an infinite number of people, that doesn’t mean you have the resources at your disposal to handle that volume of output.
The point is that you should view your product as a scarce resource, no matter how much availability there actually is.
This is where your ICP comes into play. Whereas a TAM is more of a fuzzy, idealistic number of accounts, ICP is the realistic number of accounts that you should focus on. These are the accounts that are easiest to convert into opportunities, have the shortest sales cycles, and become the happiest customers.
Keep in mind that you probably won’t target every company that fits your ICP at the same time. It would be great if you could, but most companies don’t have the resources to target the entirety of their ICP all at once. And if you define your ICP and find that you do actually have the budget and bandwidth to target the entire list of accounts, you were probably too restrictive in defining it!
Example: How Would Salesforce Define Their TAM And ICP?
If we go all the way back to 1999, Mr. Benioff probably had a very different TAM and ICP than he has today. Back in 1999, Salesforce’s TAM would have been any company that could possibly ever buy a CRM. Their ICP, however, was most likely something such as, “B2B companies in the tech industry, with 100 or more customers, and ten or more salespeople.”
Today, Salesforce’s TAM is estimated at $140 billion. They have a large list of products that can serve a much larger number of industries and people, but for the sake of simplicity, let’s just look at the current TAM and ICP of their CRM tool.
Although Salesforce’s TAM has grown tremendously, their CRM TAM is about the same as it was in 1999. While there has, of course, been some growth in the market, the overall number of companies that could ever possibly purchase a CRM has stayed relatively the same. Their ICP, however, has changed dramatically.
Today, their ICP would be something such as, “Companies — B2B and B2C — in the technology, financial services, utility, healthcare, agriculture, education, and manufacturing industries, with fifty or more customers, and five or more salespeople.”
How To Define Your ICP
To define your ICP you need to identify the firmographic, environmental, and behavioral attributes of your best customers. You will do this by building lists of your best customers, filling out their firmographic, environmental, and behavioral attributes, and uncovering patterns and similarities.
For example, if you sell a Saas product to real estate brokerages, your best customers may only be located in hot markets, have 50+ employees, who list a high volume of properties annually. It probably won’t include a broker in a less competitive location who only lists one property a month.
Lists You Will Need:
It’s hard to provide explicit instructions for qualifying your best customers because every organization’s “best customer” is unique. However, our recommendation is to look for customers with the highest feature adoption rates, product usage, or likelihood to renew.
Don’t have this info on hand? No problem – just take a look at all the accounts who have been customers for two or more years.
If you’re a newer company or an established company moving into a new market, you might not have enough customers to form a baseline. In this case, your ICP will be largely based on assumptions and require you to do market research to fill in the criteria.
Accounts that have been customers for over two years
Customers with a churn score over 7 (on a scale of 1 – 10 with 10 being best)
Customers with 80% feature adoption
The majority of accounts on this best customer list are U.S.-based SMB companies that have been venture funded, have ERP, are in the software industry, and have over five million in annual revenue. Companies that fit this profile make up your ICP.
Ideal Customer Profile:
Annual Revenue: Over five million
How To Identify Companies That Fit Your ICP
Your ICP is a set of characteristics that identify the accounts that will have the most success with your product (and be the most profitable for your company.)
In many cases, those attributes are a mix of:
Things that can be easily identified prior to beginning your marketing and sales efforts
Characteristics that you need to discover through research
Start with accounts that you have in your CRM and narrow the list down to those that have the firmographic fit for your ICP.
For the attributes that you don’t have in your CRM, you’ll need to consult outside data sources that can reasonably identify other characteristics that fit your ICP. A good example would be: if your solution is most valuable to companies that are growing their software development efforts, you could find a data source that looks for companies that are actively hiring software engineers.
There’s a three-step process for identifying companies that fit your ICP.
Step 1: Evaluate Your CRM
Questions to Ask:
1. Do you have a complete list of accounts that fit your ICP?
2. Do you have data on the firmographic, environmental, and behavioral attributes of accounts that fit your ICP?
3. Are the accounts and data accurate?
Step 2: Identify Data Gaps
1. Do you need to find more accounts in a given industry or geographic territory?
2. Do you need data on a given account attribute?
Step 3: Enhance Account Data
Once you’ve identified the gaps in your CRM, you can leverage outside data sources to start filling those gaps. Companies such as Datafox, DiscoverOrg, and Datanyze are good places to start.
Next Steps: Tiering Your Account Lists
Once you’ve calculated your Total Addressable Market and defined your Ideal Customer Profile, you might be tempted to start running campaigns to that entire audience. But there’s another step you need to take – you’ve got to figure out which accounts you’d like to pursue right now, and which you’d like to target later on in the month/quarter/year.
By segmenting your account lists based on priority (i.e. how likely they are to engage, how well they fit your ICP, etc.) you can better organize and prioritize your marketing and sales outreach. Then, you can develop a marketing cadence (we recommend quarterly), during which time you’ll pursue a different segment of target accounts. This helps to focus your marketing and sales efforts on a mutually agreed upon account list and also avoids wearing out your entire TAM/ICP (the dreaded ad fatigue is real!).