A great account-based marketing strategy starts with a clear and current understanding of your best possible sales prospects. It’s not enough to mine data by digital tools and public org charts. You’ll also need to complement your ABM strategy with qualitative and quantitive information from insiders like an Emissary.

Here’s four steps on how to maximize your next ABM outreach campaign.

1. Define Your Ideal Client Profile

The first step in developing a successful ABM outreach strategy is understanding what your ideal client profile (ICP) looks like. Start by reviewing your current ten or so best clients, asking yourself how you measure their value to your organization. These questions can include:

  • What kind of clients are most likely to renew?
  • Which have the highest NPS scores?
  • Which are most likely to grow with you?
  • Who uses your product the way it was designed to be used?

Knowing these answers should help you define the size of the companies you work best with—whether that means multi-billion-dollar corporations or medium-sized businesses. You might also think about metrics like the number of people these companies employ, their revenue, their customers, and the industries they’re in. You can retrieve this data from a number of different resources at your disposal, such as the internal data your organization’s CRM has collected and public data available on LinkedIn Navigator.

Defining your ICP is a great exercise for identifying the characteristics that make a valuable client. It’ll also show you know what type of clients you should add to your roster.

2. Prioritize Your Account List

Now that you have a clear ICP, you should have an excellent idea of what kinds of clients you want to target. Tools and resources like Crunchbase, Everstring, and Datafox can all provide inspiration and insight in building out your account list. If you have your own scoring methodology that uses the data you’ve found to help zero in on your dream targets, so much the better.

From there, you’ll want to segment the accounts into different categories—particularly based on company size. That will help you understand the lengths of typical sales cycles so you can begin to plan and strategize. You’ll also want to use any activity-based metrics your marketing automation system can provide, which should help you figure out which prospects have the most potential to be engaged and recognize signals of buying intent.

If you’re doing this correctly, you should end up with a long, potent list of strategic targets who will provide a lot of value (and revenue) to your organization. Ideally, your list will include more than enough targets for your sales team to meet their goals, while also being exclusive enough to know which accounts are—and are not—likely to convert at the moment.

3. Create Buying Personas

Similar to the way an ICP helps organizations understand the kind of companies they work best with, buyer personas help you profile the individuals you should be selling to. A good buyer persona should clearly define whom you’ll be focusing your marketing, sales, and messaging efforts on, whether that’s CMOs, CROs, field marketing leaders—or anyone else.

Your personas should include:

  • Professional background
  • Goals and motivators
  • Biggest potential challenges you face when selling to them

By developing clear buyer personas for accounts within your ICP, you should be able to better match your sales pitches to clients’ needs and wants.

4. Leverage Inside Insights

Even if you’re utilizing all the best platforms and have an ambitious, crackerjack sales team, it’s still worth the effort to connect with a well-informed insider who can fill in gaps in your knowledge. Partners like your Emissary advisors allow you to develop a much more informed targeted account strategy, enabling you to shine a spotlight on key decision-makers and influencers within your target accounts.

What’s more, strategic discussions with your Emissaries can guide marketers and sellers to tailor their outreach materials and sales pitches to buyers’ personalities. Your Emissary will help you understand objectives and key pain points so you can come up with a clear-cut plan for approaching your account. Armed with this information, you’ll not only be better prepared for meetings but also develop a more nuanced understanding of internal buying processes—and that should help you can map out the buying journeys of your most valuable clients.

You can get to the meat of what’s most vital to your major accounts by asking your inside advisor pointed questions.

Sample Account Plan

What are the account's goals? Enter your account goals here.
What are its pain points?
What initiatives does it currently have underway?
What is the organization's culture like?
Who are the decision-makers?
Who are the influencers?
How do internal conflicts play out at the account?
How do its procurement and buying processes operate?

With a clear idea of the strategic direction and an informed understanding of the opportunity that’s in play (and hopefully backed by budget), you can now move forward with determining which messages to focus on to open the door for new business.

5. Create Your Outreach Plan

You’ve identified your perfect targets, you’ve created investigated the decision-making team, and you’ve learned as much as possible about the account. So, now what do you do with that information? Your are now ready to create an outreach plan.  This should include your plans for:

  • Content targeted to your personas and buying stages.
  • Targeted messaging based on your learnings.
  • Channels and tools needed to reach them.
  • Timelines to execute and roles/responsibilities of your team

benefits of abm

Executive Insights for an ABM strategy

Defining your ICP, building a list of target accounts, and creating strong buyer personas are just a few of the things organizations can do to execute successful ABM outreach strategies. At the same time, partnering with your Emissaries can give you a far clearer sense of the path forward. Empowered with these insider insights, you’ll gain a much more nuanced understanding of your targets—and that should help you align your sales pitches with your buyers’ needs.