Your Guide to Setting a Powerful ABM Foundation – Part 2

Ensure You Don’t Miss the Mark

In my last article, I covered the first step to setting a powerful ABM foundation: review. A thorough examination of your prior ABM efforts can help you understand exactly who you have been targeting, how you’ve been reaching them, and if those attempts have been successful. But now it’s time for the fun part – building anew! 

In this article, I will cover steps 2 and 3 to driving ABM success: fit and intent. Determining which accounts fit within your strategy and understanding buyer intent are the cornerstones of a successful foundation. After all, nobody wants to waste marketing dollars touting irrelevant messages to potential buyers – or worse, touting irrelevant messages to the wrong audiences all together.  

Step 2: FIT 

Identify Your New Target Accounts & Set Objectives  
Define the “Who” 

Crafting your new ABM approach begins with a deep understanding of your target audience. Armed with the data from the prior year’s performance, you already have some insight into which audiences might resonate best with your new strategy. So instead of working from an existing list of accounts to set your targets, you can use that knowledge to help build out an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). An ICP is a set of criteria used to help define your best buyers and target accounts.1 A major benefit to this approach is that you are no longer confined to one specific list of accounts. An ICP empowers you to discover a world of potential new accounts to target - ones that you may not have otherwise considered.  

Determine the “What” 

Now that we know who you are targeting, next you should define your objectives for those accounts. Are you focused on driving net-new business? Keep in mind that ABM can more than just a means of securing new accounts, it can also help you expand your reach with current customers. Are there prime opportunities for cross-sell and upsell plays? Different objectives require different game plans, so now is the time to figure out your “what” and make sure your efforts ladder up to a well-defined goal.  

Step 3: INTENT 

Let Data Drive Your Channel & Engagement Strategy 
Build Out Your ABM Toolkit 

With your audience and objectives solidified, it’s time to evaluate your channel options and perfect your messages. How do you do this? With the right tools, of course! First, evaluate the data you have available. What information is missing to fully understand your potential buyers and market effectively? Depending on your organization, you may have access to a variety of sources, from analytic models, intent-based, technographic, or demographic data, and more. Find out what ABM resources are at your fingertips and explore whether additional sources of information can be made available to you so you can work with a well-rounded set of data. 

Get Inside Their Minds 

Once you have secured your resources, put them to use to help uncover what is important to your buyers. Ask yourself, what keeps your decision-makers up at night? What are the obstacles they face when it comes to doing their job effectively? What search terms do they often use? And finally, how can you help answer those questions and solve those problems? Posing these kinds of questions puts you in the buyer’s mindset to define your ABM messages. 


Pick Your Placements 

You can’t be everywhere at once, so determine the channels in which you plan to have a presence wisely. Spreading your ABM tactics too thin may result in a weak strategy and prospect fatigue. Inversely, narrowing your tactics and channels too much may mean missed opportunities for you to communicate with potential buyers. The trick is to pinpoint the best channels for you to make use of, and then really show up with relevant content and insights that appeal to your prospect’s frame of mind. 

Creating an ICP and conducting intent research are well worth the effort.  A well-informed, data-backed strategy can make the difference between satisfactory ABM and outstanding results. If you haven’t already, download our ABM Audit Checklist to evaluate how well your current efforts are performing and spot areas to improve your tactics. Stay tuned for part 3 of this series, where I will cover the final steps involved in solidifying the building blocks of your ABM foundation. 

Dun & Bradstreet. (2022). Win With ABM: A guide to building and scaling your ABM program.

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