This is one of my busiest and most rewarding times of the year as it’s when I spend most of my time traveling and meeting with business owners all over the world. It’s always eye-opening to learn how many organizations struggle with the same problems, specifically around understanding who their best customers are and how to get more customers that fit the same highly-profitable mold.
Start with the Basics
In this blog, I dive in to the topic of account mapping, but don’t forget to cover the basics.
- Step one is to outline your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). This is critical to understanding who your best customers are and how to acquire them. It will allow you to understand the challenges your best customers face and how to get through to them.
- Step two is to create a Targeted Accounts List. This allows you to spend the majority of your marketing resources focusing on the accounts that matter most, while still nurturing a broader base of potential customers interested in your products or services.
Once you’ve completed these initial steps, it’s time to map out the contacts within your targeted accounts to build your ABM campaign(s).
Account Mapping for Customer Insight
Mapping your accounts’ contacts includes defining customers, partners, and products, as well as how they fit in to the overall customer lifecycle. In an ABM campaign, you can’t create relevant and impactful content without thoroughly understanding as much about your targeted accounts as possible. Although this can be a heavy undertaking; with the help of technology and these three steps, you’ll be able to generate a comprehensive account mapping strategy of your own and increase your return on marketing investment (ROMI).
First, find your ideal contacts
According to a study Microsoft conducted with IDC this past year, customers can be as much as 65 percent through a purchase process before they engage with a salesperson. Mapping and investigating your accounts, and the relevant contacts, is essentially meeting your customers half way. It’s up to us, as marketers and sales professionals, to provide the essential content buyers need when making their initial judgements about purchases and partnerships. Creating content which can be targeted towards specific roles within individual accounts will make your offers that much harder to ignore.
It’s important, when marketing for B2B, to remember that multiple decision makers are often involved in any purchasing decision, so customizing your content to the target roles and individual interests of your key stakeholders can be instrumental to the success of your ABM campaign. This list can be created in a number of ways:
- By researching on a company’s website
- By finding key players on LinkedIn
- By automating the process with CRM software
Best practices from marketing influencers like Marketo, Engagio, and Heinz Marketing insinuate that true success comes from harmony between sales and marketing. Use marketing tech tools to help create your contact lists, but don’t leave sales teams out of the equation, as they may already have valuable contacts from your targeted accounts on-hand.
Then, investigate your contacts
Personalization is key to successful ABM campaigns. This is why having an extensive understanding of your targeted accounts, and roles within, is a crucial step in building your campaigns. Engagio’s write up on ABM recommends building 3-5 detailed personas representing your account’s buying team before getting started with mapping your contacts. After you have an understanding of the personas you’re looking for, you can start to dig in with these tips:
- Turn to your sales reps for valuable contact information as they have daily conversations with prospects and can give you information that you won’t be able to find online.
- Use social platforms like Yelp, Twitter, and LinkedIn to find the most current information about your contact’s personal and professional lives.
- Looking into social channels will also give you insight into your prospects’ competition and any common connections you may have. Don’t take for granted the access you already have to this highly-useful information.
“Social data is invaluable to the account based marketing model.”
– TOPO, 11 Tactics to give your ABM Process
Next, automate your contact data
There are two types of data which are important: curated data and your own data. As Lattice Engines mentions in their Targeting the Committee blog, “In the right hands, each data source can cultivate existing data into actionable knowledge.” Automating the sorting of your customer data will help you analyze your position in an account as well as indicate how you should move forward. Analyzing data from past sales will also give you great insight into some patterns you can likely expect from similar accounts.
“The very objective of having an ABM stack is to reduce time-consuming tasks so you can focus on engaging your targeted segment.”
– Kissmetrics, Best Resources for Account Based Marketing
Kissmetrics also mentions that a good ABM stack should automatically update contact information as well as map new contacts to appropriate accounts. I personally recommend Marketo or Hubspot for this reason.
As you gather contact information, and map contacts to your account, keep in mind that these contacts will be the basis of your information for personalizing content. Keep track of all the little signals along the way, and sources that will help you investigate further once your contacts and relevant personas have been identified. Much of what you find in this process will become extremely useful, helping you to create differentiated and target messaging that cuts through the noise, resonates with your best customers, and increases your profitability by reducing wasted marketing spend.
Have you mapped out contacts for your business? What were some of your learnings in this process? Share your experience in the comments below.