Target Account Selling: Effective Sales Methodology
If you want to scale your sales and marketing effectiveness, you need focus. Without a clear focus and direction, you'll waste time and resources trying to engage with leads and accounts who simply aren't a good fit for your solution, or who aren't ready to purchase. That's one of the key reasons B2B marketers use ABM.
87% of marketers agree that ABM delivers a higher ROI than other marketing activities, and that's in part because it forces teams to focus on closing deals with pre-qualified accounts. If you want your ABM campaigns to succeed, you'll need to create a Target Account List (TAL). A Target Account List will give your team clear direction, and you'll be able to design and execute marketing campaigns that are truly tailored to your audience.
In this article, I'm going to show you exactly how to build a Target Account List that helps you get results.
- What is a Target Account List?
- Challenges Creating a Target Account List
- How to Identify and Build Your Target Account List
- Measuring The Success of Your Target Account List
By the end, you'll be ready to start building a TAL that's going to deliver results in your ABM campaigns. Let's jump in.
What is a Target Account List?
A Target Account List (TAL) is the list of accounts that you'll be targeting in your sales and marketing efforts. Your Target Account List will reflect everything you know about your ideal customer, and should be a great fit for the product or service you're selling. Having a detailed TAL will help with targeting your ad campaigns, designing new content marketing campaigns, and figuring out who your sales team should cold call or cold email.
Challenges Creating a Target Account List
Creating a Target Account List that's going to generate results is hard. Here are some of the main challenges you're likely to face (and that I'll show you how to overcome).
1. Time-Consuming to Create
Identifying target accounts is cited as a top 3 challenge for companies running ABM programs.
It takes time to identify target accounts that fit your criteria. You need to conduct thorough research, source contact details, and prepare relevant, personalised content to support your campaign. The slower you move, the more likely your competitors are to step in and make the sale. But you can't move too quickly, or you'll end up targeting leads who aren't a great fit for your business.
2. Don't React to Real-Time Events
Another problem that many marketing teams face is that they don't create a dynamic target account list. Once they have a list of leads, it's time to start marketing.
However, what happens if your target account goes through an acquisition or changes their company structure? Most teams don't react until it's too late because they don't have access to high-quality B2B data or don't market based on intent. If you launch your campaign and the target account is no longer in the market or no longer qualified for your solution, you're wasting resources, or worse, annoying your prospect and guaranteeing you never win their business.
3. Based on Historical Data
Another issue with building target account lists is that most TALs are based on historical data. Using historical data is inevitable, to an extent.
But when your whole campaign is resting on data that may be outdated, it's a risk. To avoid this, consider combining your data with buyer intent data to ensure you're targeting the right prospects at the right time. I'll talk more about how you can do this later.
How to Identify and Build Your Target Account List
1. Leverage Firmographic and Technographic Data
Your Target Account List should be as relevant as you can make it.
There's no such thing as a TAL that's too good.
To ensure your list contains the most relevant accounts, use firmographic and technographic data.
Access to a B2B data source will let you filter and identify leads by seeing details such as:
- Revenue and sales data
- Company size
- Their technology stack
- Whether they're using competitor products already
By leveraging B2B data, you can ensure your TAL mirrors your ideal customer profile.
The more qualified your list is, the higher your conversion rates will be, and the less time your sales team will waste.
2. Identify In-Market Buyers with Intent Data
The one problem with relying on existing company data to find leads is that it's not real-time. The data was collected at a point in time, and it may be out of date today.
That's why you need to combine it with intent data for the best results. Intent data lets you see which companies are in the market, or showing purchase-ready signals.
As soon as you see an account is showing purchase intent, you can add them to your TAL and start engaging with decision-makers in your accounts. Leveraging real-time intent data will give you an edge over competitors, as you'll be able to identify purchase-ready buyers before your competitors are can.
3. Existing Clients Who Can be Upsold
Another TAL building strategy is to use your CRM to identify existing customers showing purchase intent to be upsold.
Considering it's 4x cheaper to upsell an existing customer than to acquire a new one, it's a strategy that can deliver significant ROI.
Depending on your product or service, there may be big price differences, so customers aren't quick to change their plans.
However, if you know they're getting value from your solution and are in a growth phase, it's an ideal opportunity to upsell them.
You should connect with your account managers to see how your customers are using your product or service, and figure out the best way to engage with them.
Measuring The Success of Your Target Account List
Your campaign success relies on how good your Target Account List is. You need to be providing feedback to your team on how good your TAL is because it's going to affect the entire sales cycle and be a defining factor in how well you can close new business.
1. How Long is Your Sale Cycle?
Firstly, you should measure the sales cycle length for leads sourced from your TAL. Are leads converting more quickly than they did when you weren't defining a clear Target Account List? While it's not the only factor, if your pricing and sales strategies stayed static and the only major change was your list, your Target Account List was likely the reason for the change.
2. Any Changes to Average Contract Value?
An even better measure of your Target Account List would be your Average Contract Value (ACV) of sales generated.
Assuming your list is highly relevant, and you used firmographic and technographic data combined with intent data, your prospects should be sales qualified and a perfect fit for your solution. If your ACV is high, your TAL may be a key reason behind that.
3. How Engaged are Your Leads?
In all ABM campaigns, you need ongoing engagement from leads for your campaigns to be a success. If your Target Account List is relevant, your prospects should show high engagement levels. If not, there's a problem. Measure your engagement levels in the campaigns you're running and see how they compare to your results when you weren't using a TAL to drive your strategy.
How Internal Results Can Help You Create Your Perfect Target Account List
If you're struggling to scale your marketing and sales efforts, Internal Results can help. Our team of experienced in-house B2B marketers can help you create a highly qualified Target Account List.
We leverage our B2B contact database containing 41+ million decision-makers and combine it with intent data to find the prospects you should be targeting. You'll have a dynamic, relevant target account list, and we'll do all the work for you.