Account-based marketing has seen a surge in popularity over recent years.

In fact, over 90% of B2B marketers say they recognize the value of ABM as a must-have strategy (source). There’s only one problem, however– 60% of marketers also say that the overall health of their data is unreliable (source). You might be thinking, what does data have to do with account-based marketing?

The simple answer? Everything. Every step you take to implement ABM is fueled by data. If the data you have access to is thin, unorganized, or inaccurate, you’ll never have the insights you need to make your ABM strategy a success.

Today’s blog post breaks down everything you need to know about account-based marketing: what it is, how to implement it, and why you need data every step of the way. Let’s jump into it.

What is Account-Based Marketing and why does it work?

Account-based marketing is a strategy in which marketers treat every account as a market of one.  This type of strategy targets companies rather than single leads or prospects.  Check out the benefits of an account-based marketing strategy:

Improved customer experience: Personalization is the biggest selling point of ABM. When you offer highly targeted information and content to each account, you speak to their specific needs – and nothing else. This personalization results in a unique, hassle-free buying experience where your customers will feel understood and appreciated.

More efficient campaigns: ABM is a hyper-targeted strategy – meaning you won’t waste time and resources on prospects that might not be ready to buy. By targeting specific accounts, you can be sure that only the best and most sales-ready buyers enter your pipeline. 

Stronger sales and marketing alignment: ABM is not just a marketing initiative. It’s a business-wide strategy where both sales and marketing work together to target specific accounts. ABM facilitates stronger alignment by forcing the departments to work together. You won’t have to worry about disagreements over the quality of inbound leads – because you’re proactively targeting agreed-upon accounts and ultimately working toward the same goals.

If you’re ready to reap the benefits of your own account-based marketing strategy, you must first understand the importance of data and the role it plays in your business efforts. This isn’t your standard guide to the account-based methodology—today we’re taking a different approach. Ready to get started?

Here’s what you need to know about data and account-based marketing:

1. Prospect and customer data allows you to tailor your account targeting strategy.

An account-based marketing strategy is dependent on how effectively you choose your target accounts. Account selection is a critical step in your strategy and it hinges solely on contact and customer data analysis.

To target your key accounts, you must first develop an Ideal Customer Profile—or ICP. An ICP is a profile detailing critical characteristics of your most valuable customers and accounts.  An ICP is created using a combination of firmographic and behavioral data points. Therefore, access to high-quality data is crucial to creating holistic ICPs.

Analyze your contact and customer database to identify commonalities between your best customers. This might include things like:

  • Industry
  • Company size
  • Revenue
  • Location
  • Budget
  • Average purchase size
  • What technologies they use

Ultimately, your ICP will serve as the blueprint for your account targeting process. If you get this step wrong, your entire strategy will derail.

2. Contact and account data ensures optimal account coverage.

Account coverage refers to your ability to identify and penetrate a large number of key accounts. This metric is critical to the success of your campaign. Here’s why: If you have a ton of target accounts but can’t reach any contacts within them, you won’t be able to convert those accounts to customers. On the flip side, if you have only a few target accounts and you manage to reach all of your contacts within each—you’ll still only have a few new customers at best.

There are two primary types of data you will need for optimal account coverage – business structure data and accurate contact data.

Business structure data: This refers to information regarding a company’s hierarchy and decision-making process. Create an organization chart that shows an account’s key stakeholders and where they fall in the general structure of the business.

Contact data: It goes without saying: you won’t reach key stakeholders if you don’t have their accurate contact information.  Direct dials are a particularly important asset to have access to—especially when targeting upper-level stakeholders. In fact, you’re 46% more likely to reach prospects at the director level, and 147% likelier to reach a prospect at the VP level if you use a direct dial (source).

If you don’t have access to information regarding business structure or contact details, your account-based marketing strategy will fail—quickly. Work with a B2B database or contact information provider to make sure you’re primed and ready to succeed.

3. Data facilitates sales and marketing alignment.

Account-based marketing isn’t limited to just sales or just marketing. It’s truly a collaborative effort where sales and marketing share equal responsibility. So although account-based marketing facilitates sales and marketing alignment, you need the help of data to ensure both teams are on the same page at all times.

Marketing and sales departments must share data in order for an account-based marketing strategy to run smoothly. The problem is, companies often use systems and technologies that don’t integrate– meaning sales and marketing data are kept in separate silos. That means marketers are looking at different metrics than the sales team, running different reports, and ultimately failing to share data at all.

Follow these tips to make sure your teams continue to share data and maintain sales and marketing alignment:

Implement tools that integrate: Avoid the aforementioned problem of keeping data in different silos. Use marketing and sales automation tools that integrate so that both teams have access to the exact same data.

Use shared reporting: If your sales and marketing departments are working with different metrics or dashboards, they’ll ultimately be working toward different goals. This can widen the rift between the two teams and ultimately cause your account-based marketing initiatives to fail.

Communicate openly: Have regular meetings, either in-person or through email correspondence, between your marketing and sales teams. Examine data together to make sure both teams have a shared understanding of your data and how it impacts your overall ABM strategy.

4. Data enables personalization.

Personalization is a top priority of any account-based marketing campaign. After all, isn’t that the point? But, how can you personalize your campaigns if you don’t know anything about the account or person you’re trying to reach?

Fortunately, access to the right data will help you tailor your messaging and content so that it resonates with the person you’re targeting. Remember, your account-based marketing strategy needs to appeal to the unique problems and interests of each account and of each important contact within each account.

Look deeper than basic demographic information and collect data concerning your buyer’s pain points, their stage of the buying cycle, and online behavior. This information will allow you to craft content that speaks directly to the matters that are most important to them.

Check out these personalization statistics to learn more about the importance of personalized marketing.

Final Thoughts About Data and Account-Based Marketing

Running an account-based marketing campaign without data is like going on a journey with no roadmap. You might have clear goals for what you want to achieve, but you’ll lack the insights and information you need to reach those goals.

Contact ZoomInfo today to learn more about how our B2B contact database and our data services can improve your account-based marketing efforts.

About the author

Ryan Hadfield

Ryan Hadfield is a content marketing director at ZoomInfo, the leading B2B contact data solution.

Subscribe to the ZoomInfo blog.

B2B marketing, growth, sales and more.

    Related Content