How to choose your best ABM candidates.

Well done! You’ve successfully managed to bring sales and marketing together into a common cause: account-based marketing (ABM).

Everyone has agreed to go after one or a handful of clients, customers, or prospects, with a highly targeted and carefully planned approach. You’re now looking to tailor it exactly right for each organisation and the key individuals within them. But this might be where the approach you all agreed on, in theory, starts to fray a bit in practice.

How do you choose which accounts to select and proceed your ABM activity with? The answer isn’t always obvious.

Sales might steer you one way – towards a more immediate win.

But marketing might be looking at a longer-term prospect.

And your business leadership team might want an impressive client to put on the logo board.

Sure, these are all potentially valid options. But which path should you take? And how do you keep everyone happy with your decision?

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First thing’s first

Our clients often ask us how they should pick their ABM targets. Elsewhere, they’d probably get the answer ‘it really depends’. Not a great response, right? It neither helps narrow down the options, nor gets people to buy in. Which, you know, isn’t exactly a recipe for success.

In our experience, a gut feeling or the loudest voice in the room doesn’t usually result in great ABM. So, we took it upon ourselves to add some method to the marketing madness – by developing a tool that helps our clients shortlist and prioritise their potential ABM targets

Working it through

Our scoring framework helps you spot potential ABM targets across four key areas:

Organisational factors

This area focuses on how the ABM target feeds into your organisation’s long-term strategy and ambitions. Is it a new prospect or an existing client? Will it have long-term strategic and relationship benefits? Or, will it have an immediate, short-term impact? High scores here will count for a lot at board level.

Marketing factors

Understanding the role marketing can play in an ABM campaign is critical, including the scope for creating those all-important leads. If sales are paving the way ahead, it might mean they need a little less support (they’re pretty good at getting sh*t done). The framework also covers existing levels of awareness, intelligence and potentially relevant materials as a foundation to grow ABM from. Getting a high score in this area? Then marketing could be in a prime position to open up opportunities for sales to swoop in later.

Sales factors

Here, we look at where your target is in the sales journey, and how sales can support progress. This is all around your buyers’ behaviours. And includes the size, value and nature of the potential deal. A good score will tell you that the target is worth pursuing – conversations are already happening, and the candidate might just need a few nudges to sway them. Plus, you may already have insider knowledge that will help you seize the opportunity.

External factors

Finally, it’s time to look beyond your organisation to understand your candidate’s context, including the environment they operate in as well as competitors’ activities you might run into. This helps us pick our battles wisely – and tailor our rallying cry (okay, our proposition) on a target-by-target basis.

Making the right choice

By scoring any potential target against these factors, together we can objectively assess the how viable and effective your ABM campaign will be.

A quick note though – it’s not designed to give you a foregone conclusion. But it is a sound way to shortlist and select the accounts where your ABM project will have the most impact, as well as building an initial understanding of the challenges you might face before you begin to approach them.

Simply put, it’s our little way to help you stay on target.

Want to find out more about how to choose an ABM target? Get in touch and we’ll help you through it.

Author: Richard Stagg
Photography: Photo by Victoriano Izquierdo on Unsplash