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To be blunt, any customer subject to an account-based marketing process must be worth the time and resources expended. Deciding which customers to include in an ABM target account list is key.

We cover what to consider when identifying key accounts and how that list can be refined to maximise potential ROI. We conclude with some issues to consider before diving into the process.

Identifying Target Accounts

Assuming key account managers look after the needs of existing key accounts then ABM should focus only on prospects. The question is which accounts to include in the Account-Based Marketing process and which to exclude.

The target accounts must fit with the long term business strategy. There is little point in targeting a customer in one area if the business is moving in an entirely different direction.

ABM is resource-intensive. It is important to ensure time and energy is not wasted on those customers who cannot deliver an appropriate return on investment.

It is essential sales and marketing work together to define the target customer list. Areas to consider include:

  • Key projects.
  • Competitor key accounts.
  • Growing existing customers with potential.
  • Prospects in geographic areas not accessed to date.

Trim and Finalise The Target Account List

It is likely the initial ABM target account list will require further trimming. Resources are usually limited, and it is important to focus. Using the 4A’s of marketing can be a useful tool to help finalise the customer list.

Awareness – How aware of the business is the target customer at present. Does the business have some initial foothold? Or is the customer totally unaware of the services the business can deliver? If awareness is low the resources (and time) to break into that account will be high.

Accessible – How accessible is the target account? Are there any legislative or geographic barriers? What is likely to block progress.

Acceptable – How is the customer likely to view the business? How strong is the competition? Have there been any past issues that could impact current decisions?

Affordability – How costly will it be to turn the target account from a prospect to a customer? Is the potential return worth the investment? Each of the above factors will feed into the affordability calculation.

ABM – Don’t Do It Unless….

Building a target account list for Account-Based Marketing requires close cooperation between sales and marketing. The research involved can be significant. Then there is the laborious process of deciding which prospects to include and those to exclude.

Those prospects selected for ABM must be worth the significant time and effort involved. It could take many months to generate a return on investment.

Before allocating valuable resources, it is important to ensure higher management is fully committed to an Account-Based Marketing process. Assess if that support can be consistent over the long term.

There is always a human element to consider. Forceful personalities within the business, particularly at a senior level, could wreck the Account-Based Marketing process at any point.

If it is not possible to convince higher management of the benefits of targeting specific customers with an ABM approach AND keep them onside over the long term then it may be best not to start.

More information on our view of Account-Based Marketing is available here:

Account Based Marketing – The Basics

ABM – Key challenges

The difference between Account Based Marketing and Inbound Marketing

We focus on ABM for medium-sized businesses (sometimes called ABM Lite) as discussed here.

B2B Marketing – The Evolution to ABM

To chat through if Account-Based Marketing could work for your business then please give us a call on 07747 042320. Or, if you would like help with building an ABM target account list then please get in touch.