Account Based Marketing: Building Your Segmentation and Metrics That Matter

Macro President & Founder Dan Radu and Security Compass’ ABM Manager Heidi Vandermeer introduced and explored key aspects of Account Based Marketing in a recent webinar. The event was initiated and attended by two communities, MarTech Toronto and ABM Toronto. Over the course of 40 minutes, Radu and Vandermeer covered ABM basics, account targeting, data building and three top tips for presenting data internally.

ABM has risen in popularity in recent years as a marketing practice driven by data and technology to rethink and evolve dated marketing approaches. Its two defining features are its focus on target accounts, and its emphasis on marketers’ need to know their addressable market..

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Account Based Marketing

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Reframe the Process: An Account Based Marketing Overview

Instead of targeting a person with content, ads, or outreach, ABM focuses on companies themselves. These are the accounts, and they could be a large organization, a department within it, or anything in between.

Instead of casting a wide net, Vandermeer likens the approach to “Fishing with a spear,” a term first carved out by Jon Miller, founder of Engagio. “With something like demand generation, you bring in a bunch of people and you filter out who you’re looking for afterward,” she said. “With account based marketing you start with the people you’re looking for.” 

Web content, paid media, targeted messages, and other marketing tactics are designed with these accounts’ needs in mind. The creation of ABM lists is mission critical, as are the targeting criteria that determine the breadth and depth of your ABM efforts. To create the right list, the sales team must be an equal partner from the outset.

Dan stressed the importance of defining an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) instead of individual buying personas. As with all things ABM, ICP is company-focused while buying personas revolve around individual behaviours.

Building Your ABM List, a Data-Driven Approach 

“New business is expensive to acquire,” said Radu. “So you must focus time and energy very carefully in order to be successful.” 

When starting off with a pilot project, it’s key to have both sales and marketing leadership alignment. Co-creating the targeted list of accounts is a waste of time if marketing hands over Marketing Qualified Accounts (MQA) that sales does not view as likely targets.

The process to developing your target account lists has several inputs—and the options for building one fittingly include approaches from both marketing and sales frameworks. Radu and Vandermeer dive into many of these, including:

  • The Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). ABM’s tool for determining which accounts (not individuals) have the highest likelihood of being the best match.
  • Total Available Market (TAM). Refining your target starts with defining the broadest set of opportunities.
  • SiriusDecisions’ Demand Unit Waterfall stages. Characterizing the nature of demand based on your targets’ behaviours, such as Active Demand, Engaged Demand and Prioritized Demand.
  • KARE Segmentation. Categorizing target accounts into Keep, Attain, Recapture and Expand.
  • Previous Successes: The sale teams’ pattern of closed-won opportunities can inform the list
  • Firmographics: includes sector, industry maturity, geography. 

Successful ABM relies on several processes. The webinar explores some of these such as:

  • Lead to account matching. Using in-house, third party, or both to assign leads to the right accounts.
  • Data enrichment. The more you know about the account, the better you can target it. Capturing deep information starts with scouring internal marketing and sales databases, and then using outside data vendors.

Top 3 Tips for Presenting ABM Data

#1: Focus on the ABM Metrics That Matter

ABM is data heavy—it can create a lot of metrics. Getting an ABM pilot off the ground might be a challenge if decision makers are flooded with information. Vandermeer strongly recommends presenting sales related metrics, and only the key ones, such as:

  • Account Score
  • Target Demand vs Active Demand
  • TAM Value
  • Pipeline of Accounts Value

ABM Reporting or Account Hubs are dashboard driven command centres that use visualizations of the metrics above. Their chief purpose is to give C-level decision makers a full understanding of their target addressable market and the value provided by ABM.

#2: Avoid Vanity Metrics

By the same token, it may be tempting for many marketers to try and sneak classical marketing metrics into a high level report, such as traffic, impressions or clicks. Heidi argues that even the more robust MQL figures may be too loose for an audience who is laser focused to maximize pipeline health. 

#3: Evangelize Your Success

ABM may represent a big shift in how things are done in an organization. If siloes are challenged, it could be that much more difficult to change the status quo. One of the best things for a pilot program is a steady stream of good news—internally advertise all wins, such as positive client feedback or a positive boost in key metrics.

Watch the Full ABM Webinar

For all the insights, deeper discussion, a rich Q&A and more, watch the whole event online in less than 45 minutes.

Get to Know Your Presenters

Dan Radu is the founder and President of Macro, a global Martech operations agency with deep expertise in helping enterprise companies get their ABM programs off the ground.

For those curious about developing a pilot program, Dan is happy to have a conversation.

Heidi Vandermeer helps run and organize ABM Toronto, a thriving group of individuals who having varying levels of experience and interest in ABM, from top experts to new practitioners.

There are many virtual events planned in the near future—all interested are welcome!

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