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What Target Accounts and Dating Have in Common

Account-based marketing is about targeting my ideal customers - not every potential customer on the market. To quote an often-used metaphor: I use the harpoon and fish specifically for fish that fit my "prey pattern."

Account-based marketing has this approach in common with dating. Imagine the following situation: You're at a party and you meet a person who is exactly your type. So you start a flirt with her. During the flirtation you find out whether there are other similarities or whether only the appearance of your counterpart matches your taste and you are not compatible in terms of character. So you collect more information about your counterpart to find out what makes him or her tick

If you find out after flirting that you are on the same wavelength, you arrange a first date. If you find that you have nothing in common, you each go your own way. It's the same in ABM - not all clients deserve champagne. That's why you should focus on the target accounts

Target Accounts: Focus on the Most Important Customers

In account-based marketing, your most important customers are the focus of your attention. This is where ABM differs from inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is all about attracting as many leads (which correspond to buyer personas) as possible

In contrast, ABM focuses on one or a few desired customers or dream accounts first

It's like dating: first you try to conquer the heart of the person at the party who best matches your own ideas of a dream partner

In account-based marketing, the ideal customer is defined in an Ideal Account Profile (IAP). The purpose of this profile is to determine the right suitability criteria for a desired customer

  • Who is the ideal target customer for my product?

  • Which target group do I want to address in the first place?

The top priority in ABM is the account. Only in second place come the contacts within an account.

ABM in practice

Networking with a potential client or decision maker in a company can be done online these days, such as through a business network like LinkedIn. There, for example, a sales engineer at a healthcare company networks with a doctor who runs his own practice. Through their common professional interests, both are in a group that is all about advances in medical technology.

Thanks to networking, the doctor now sees the latest posts from the healthcare company regularly in his feed. The company introduces a new device that is of interest to the doctor. So one day the doctor clicks on the link in the post and downloads the details of the new device on the healthcare company's site. His click on the site is a lead conversion, signaling possible interest in buying.

The healthcare engineer now continues to monitor this target account. If he is "in the market", i.e. ready to buy, he will call up further information, studies or use cases. In this way, the sales engineer learns more about the needs of his ideal customer, can respond to his questions and establish a dialogue. If he now enters into a direct exchange with him by e-mail or telephone call, the engineer can respond specifically to the needs of his ideal customer

Five Ways to Identify Your Target Accounts

1. MarTech

Special software for account-based marketing, such as Pedalix, makes it easier to find suitable target accounts. Certain solutions can be used to filter out targeted target accounts that are "in the market" and likely to make a purchase in the near future. ABM tools are targeted and efficient. They save you a lot of time when selecting suitable target accounts.

2. Leverage Existing CRM Databases

You already have a CRM database and it's rich with untapped potential. Use the data you already have to find potential customers, opportunities or even existing customers who are interested in a product and have the potential to buy it.

3. Analysis of the Customers of the Competition

To analyze the customers of the competition, there are special tools. You can also get a good overview in LinkedIn groups, on review sites or in other online communities

4. Analysis of Your Customers' Competition

Your customers' competition also holds potential for you to find new target accounts. Go through the accounts of your best customers and search their contacts for profiles from their competition that need your solution for their problem. Then, you can contact these accounts and present them with the benefits of your product that they won't find in the competition.

5. Keeping an Eye on New Job Postings

Especially if you're selling products in an industry that's fairly new, keep an eye on what new companies are coming to market in that field. Subscribe to the job postings of big job boards by having them send you the new listings for your buyers' job titles and other relevant keywords. That way, you'll know right away when there's a new company on the market that has a need for your product.

How Many Desired Customers in Parallel?

With ABM, it depends on the size of the target group. Do you want to focus on a single target account or address an entire customer segment? If you want to address an entire customer segment, how large is it? If you are dealing with large customers, the 1:1 method is costly but promising

Classic account-based marketing focuses on a maximum of 100 target accounts per ABM representative.

If you get involved with too many target accounts, you run the risk of getting bogged down. It makes more sense to concentrate on a few promising customers. Here the 20-80 rule applies: With 20% of the accounts you usually achieve 80% of your sales

Conclusion: Take the Time to Get to Know Your Contacts and also Break up Sometimes

Account-based marketing is all about searching for target accounts that match your own ideal account profile as closely as possible. Using various tools and tricks, you can locate desired customers on the Internet, in social networks or even in your own databases. If a contact is "in the market", i.e. ready to buy, you offer them the support they need to decide in favour of your product.

In ABM, you define your desired customer precisely and set your focus on him. Here, class applies instead of mass. You concentrate on a few accounts that are as promising as possible, instead of trying to convince God and the world of your product.

Effective account-based marketing has a lot in common with dating. When you're dating, you don't date every potential candidate around you. You focus on a few "promising" people with whom things could work out.

To do this, you define your desired criteria for your counterpart in advance and find out in a first flirt whether you are both compatible. If the chemistry is right, it comes to a date. If the first date goes well, it comes to a second, and so on. However, if you notice from the beginning or at an early stage that there are irreconcilable differences between you, you will most likely stop dating.