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There’s lots of talk about ABM, but let’s break down what it’s all about: A stripped-down, acoustic show where you want to make sure that only your biggest fans are in attendance.
In B2B marketing terms, that means you’ll be creating and maintaining a database of your targeted accounts and contacts to run campaigns and plays against.
Before we dive in, maybe this is a good time to take a quick break and put an exclamation point on why ABM is so critical to marketing success right now. It’s also important to contrast an account-based approach against the old-school demand generation model.
Traditional demand gen lets any gate crasher in the show, which means that many people who shouldn’t be there, are, and they are creating a ruckus:
So how can you ensure that your ABM database is rocking with your biggest fans? Let’s break it down.
Preload that data baby!
From the previous exercises, combined with predictive marketing solutions (or even traditional data if you must), you’ll be able to assemble a targeted list of qualifying accounts that meet all of your criteria. We’re talking every company and individual involved in the ideal buying process.
This is a big asset. You guessed it, it’s time to preload that sucker and keep that list clean. Take a look down at your iPhone contacts list, is it clean and neat, or is it a nightmare? This is meant to be a list people you know and trust, just like this highly valuable CRM list. We can’t let this data get messy. In fact, maybe it’s time to clean up your phone.
Key data fields to consider
All of that painstaking work you did to identify the key indicators of your target account list via the TAM and ICP? Yep, it’s back, but this time from a governance perspective. We need to continue to collect this information, standardize it and keep it clean moving forward. Too many organizations miss the opportunity to establish best practices that will avoid big data problems down the road – don’t make that mistake. Some key areas to pay attention to are:
- PIcklist values
- Data ranges such as: number of employees or revenue fields
- Job roles vs job titles
You got it. But are you appending it?
Data appending is a critical element of ABM. Beyond changes, data simply needs to become more complete and there are two ways that can happen.
First, we can gather information from the massive digital trail that is the online footprint. We can use unconventional sites like Twitter, Facebook, Crunchbase and LinkedIn to learn even more about our buyers and their companies. We can fill in the holes. If you’re in B2B, LinkedIn data is often the most accurate CRM there is.
By progressively expanding the prospect data record and those of the relevant buying committee we achieve a deeper understanding of consumers’ characteristics by overlaying demographic information and “Mosaic USA” household lifestyle segmentations on to your file any time day or night. Here’s some tactics you can use:
- Define unique attributes of your best and most profitable customers
- Anticipate likely future behaviors and buying trends
- Identify prospects most like your best customers for new growth opportunities
All set? Let’s hit repeat
Who doesn’t love a good song on repeat? Evaluate your ICP and determine if certain accounts should be removed or added. The second way we can ensure our data is complete is to capture the front line data that is actually more valuable.
The best information often resides in the heads of our sales and MarCom teams – they are the ones out there talking to potential buyers every day. Think of them like the concert promoter that seems to know everyone. Their mental Rolodex is massive and we need that data if we’re going to pack the house. By ensuring that all of this information is added to CRM, and in a way that is standardized and easy to manage, we gather true intelligence. It’s also one of the most difficult things to do.
For just this reason we recommend our good friends over at Datanyze.
Behold: The outcome
You should have a majority (let’s shoot for 90) of accounts and contacts (ICP/IBPs) locked, loaded and ready to rock in your database. Here’s where marketing locks arms and acts like concert security. Not quite on the scale of the infamous Rolling Stones concert at Altamont in 1968 that featured Hells Angels as the muscle, but you get the idea. It’s marketing’s job to protect and ensure the integrity of the database and to act as a steward of data going forward.
Fact is, even with the best process CRM data degrades at an extremely rapid rate. In fact, in today’s culture of immediacy, data is out of data or incomplete the moment you record it in a static format like CRM.
Don’t think of CRM as a static repository. Instead, think of CRM like a place to standardize, but more importantly a place to standardize constant inflows and outflows. This is drastically different than the database strategies of old.
Concepts such as data warehouses help to solve data storage issues in terms of size and performance but restrict the health of the database to the point where the data suffocates and dies.
With ABM this simply can’t happen, we have to keep data clean in both an automated and human touch based process.