ABM: An Ultimate Guide To Choosing The Right Target accounts

  As an organization, you may be implementing different levels of Account Based Marketing, from solely focusing on tiers of high-value accounts to simply folding your ABM campaign into broad demand gen strategy depending upon the market conditions. Whether your objective is an acquisition or customer retention, a good going ABM process always starts with choosing the right customer accounts to target. Identifying your target accounts should only be done with all the ABM stakeholders at the table. Account selections vary according to organizational goals and strategies and for perfection, we can break down this list-building process into five phases.

5 Steps to Choosing the Target Accounts

Targeting Criteria

Before you even start to decide on which accounts to target, you need to understand what type of accounts you’ll be best off going after. Sometimes, it can be as simple as your CEO and Sales Directors determining which accounts to pursue, but in most of the cases, you may have several factors in defining the right accounts for ABM campaign. Here are a few factors you might consider when identifying the target accounts: Profitability: These are the accounts that are likely to bring you maximum revenue and have the highest lifetime value with minimum resources to support them. Strategic Importance: You might want to select those accounts that align with your business strategy. For example, if you are about to enter a new market, respective big logo account can be ideal for you. Product Fit: It is when the needs or the demands of the customer perfectly aligns with the solution your product offers, makes them more likely to purchase. Quick Wins: Choose those accounts which typically have a less complex buying cycle or shorter purchase decision process due to their size or structure. High Yield: You might want to identify and target big fish accounts and their characteristics who are likely to generate higher revenue and bigger deal size for your sales team. Competitors: Whether to hit the competitors where it hurts or to merely because it is easier to switch the educated customers, you can target customers using competitor’s product. Territories: Sales territory is regional, industry, or account type and sales teams often have target accounts within their territories. Managing and helping sales build the pipeline in their territory will drive higher ROI.   While considering such factors, doing some further research to identify the accounts will help you surface the accounts which are most likely to be targeted through ABM. These are some tips on how to start researching about right accounts: Talk to Sales: Your sales teams will have great insights into which accounts are most likely to buy, as they might have communicated with companies that fell through. And sales team are much more likely to provide their own list of target accounts, so by agreeing on account scoring metrics and looking for overlaps with your marketing list, you can score the remaining potential accounts. Review Existing Opportunities: Review the accounts that are the right fit to your target profile and have had an engagement in the past with your brand, as they are likely to be more receptive to your marketing and show quicker results. Review Customer Relationship Management history: Use your CRM data, to find customers who are likely to be in a quick win, high yield, and profitability categories, and create an ideal profile by looking at commonalities in accounts from each category.  

Leveraging Data to Make Targeting Decisions

While using the right data will fuel your ABM campaign, not using, or even worse, using the wrong data will cause the system failure. The data will help you make informed decisions when it comes to account selection and distribution. Before you start your ABM process, you would want your sales and marketing ops to help with these three things: CRM Data: What does your CRM data tell you about the accounts in your database? Can your sales and marketing ops identify the trends in your highest value customers? Are there data gaps you need to fulfill for getting a clear view on potential accounts? Predictive Analytics: If you don’t know which accounts to target, consider working with your marketing ops to build predictive models. Predictive analytics is the way of applying machine learning, taking data from all the available internal and external sources, to determine those accounts showing the high propensity to buy. Sales Territories: It is about dividing leads across different territories. It is difficult to get the sales buy-in if a large volume of target accounts falls under one or two territories.  

Account Selection

Once you have multiple lists of potential accounts, it is recommended you prioritize and narrow it down to choose the accounts which you exactly want to target. Give priority to those accounts which are more relevant to you, i.e., the accounts where you have a good understanding of potential buyer journey or to those you already have content to support. Having fewer lists while you are getting started will help you train your ABM muscles, as it makes it easy to iterate quickly and identify areas of improvements.  

Thinking in Tiers

As you develop the list of accounts to be targeted with your ABM campaigns, you notice that there are many accounts and your priority to each account varies. Thinking and talking about these differences between accounts in tiers will be of help in strategizing your account-based marketing. For instance, most important and most targeted accounts which would get more resources and time are tier 1, and your sales and marketing teams are much more dedicated to close them. Coming to tier 2 and others in the descending priority, you may have a larger target list and invest less into targeted programs.  

Marketing Operations

A lot of data goes into Account Based Marketing and certainly, your marketing ops team is heavily involved. In specific, lead management is the critical piece in sales and marketing alignment and without proper planning and execution, leads from your target accounts will not flow smoothly through your sales funnel. Being responsible for both strategic and tactical level, your marketing ops will need inputs from both sales and marketing teams.  


Your own goals, objectives, and business strategies are what will determine the reasons for selecting and pursuing specific companies or verticals. However, choosing the right accounts is a crucial and the beginning step of your ABM process, get this wrong and you are set up for failure. On the other hand, nailing it to perfection by implementing at least a few of the above-mentioned tactics in account selection, your business will see ABM results and experience growth like never before.            

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