June 19, 2024

Driving a Successful ABM Strategy: Ideal Customer Profile Alignment

Part One: Aligning Teams Around Your ICP

I don’t know about you, but the pace of change is faster than ever before, and the type of change is more disruptive than ever as well.

The average number of buyers in a buying committee? According to 6Sense, that number is now 10, which is FOUR TIMES more buyers than five years.

What's more, for each additional member of that buying committee, 21 days are added to the sales cycle. For companies that look at KPIs month-over-month, the trickle-down effect on this can be downright scary.

The monumental shift in buyer influence is forcing marketers to get a better understanding of their customers than ever before. While it can be intimidating for many organizations, in my opinion, this is a good thing. We should always be close to our customers.

This is leading many organizations to heavily invest in account based marketing, which hinges on three things: 

In this blog, I want to give you some tips around the first part of ABM success, which is brutal alignment on your ICP with your Sales, Marketing and, ideally, Success, teams. 

At New Breed, we see ABM as a type of go-to-market strategy that combines people, process, data, and technology to surround humans at the accounts that are specifically in the market for your solution. That you know you can help with the most timely, relevant, and personalized content that enables those people to make the best purchasing decision, which, hopefully, is you. 

Learn more about New Breed's approach to ABM strategy

One of the biggest pieces within ABM strategy that’s the difference between success and failure is ICP Alignment across your teams. While you may already have created your organization’s ICP, before you kick off an ABM campaign, you’ll want to revisit it to make sure nothing’s changed so that your marketing team can create the most relevant, personalized content specific to your overall ICP. Remember, your ICP should include: 

  • The average size of the company
  • The average company revenue
  • The ideal industry (or industries)
  • The ideal location for the company (if applicable) 

While these are just some of the firmographics you’ll want to include, the best ICP profiles are created from your own sales data — what type of company brings in the largest deals? What companies have the fastest deal cycle? What companies are the least likely to churn? Do they only buy specific product sets from you? From here, you can start to build out your ICP and understand who you want to engage within your ABM strategy. 

Building a cross-functional ICP

Your teams might have different ideas of who your ICP is, but this is where that ‘brutal’ part comes into play. To consider a campaign a success, you want to have this alignment across all your customer-facing teams.

That’s why it can be especially helpful to leverage data to identify segments and attributes that lead to high-converting accounts. Talk to your sales, marketing, and client success counterparts to really dig in. 

And, importantly, don’t define your ICP through your MQLs. In our 2023 State of HubSpot, a whopping 60% of revenue leaders say that MQLs aren’t useful. It’s critical to go down-funnel, to look at your closed opportunities and your current client base to understand where you’re winning. 

Download Now: State of HubSpot 2023 Report

Once you’ve got your ICP defined, you need to make sure that your teams are enabled to use that ICP to facilitate your account based efforts. Ask yourself: 

  • Have you documented your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)?
  • Do you use intent data or predictive analytics to fuel your target account selection?
  • Can you describe the common buying committees?
  • Do you have strong persona documents across each buying committee member?
  • Do you understand where your buyers go to learn and what content they prefer?

You can see that I’ve blended some of the buyer persona needs with ICP, and that’s OK, because realistically, one should help you define the other. Every step you take to getting closer to your customers is one step closer to ABM success.

A couple of last tips: 

    • Look beyond your sales and marketing teams! Include your client success team and, to be truly world-class, your product team, too.
If everyone is speaking the same language on who you’re working hard to attract, then every decision will be aligned with that ICP, leading to better outcomes in every step of the buyer journey. 
  • Include your front-line folks. Sensing a theme? While it’s important for leadership to well, lead, don’t forget to listen to calls, and sit down with your front-line employees. They likely have golden nuggets that are even outside of your typical data pulls that can help really refine your ICP. 

  • Don’t make this a ‘one and done’ exercise. We know that the market is changing faster than ever, and your ICP should keep pace. What do your buyers care about now? Is it the same thing they’ll care about next year? Pay attention to how your ICP and buyer personas can be continually optimized, and put at least a couple people on your team in charge of asking these tough questions to maintain brutal alignment. 

The power of an aligned ICP for ABM strategy

One of our clients, a global fraud prevention leader, strategically aligned their marketing and sales stakeholders to expand into a new market. Working with New Breed, the organization targeted 10 enterprise-scale accounts and redefined their ICP. We helped them develop a marketing and sales playbook, identified campaign KPIs, workstream, and clean reporting

After implementing paid advertising to highly targeted and defined accounts and a multi-touch nurture and sales outreach, the campaign brought in over $300k in pipeline at a 50% lower-than-target CPA. 

In my next blog, I’ll look at the next leg of a successful ABM strategy, which is looking at your integrated tech stack and CRM. 

Remember, if you’re looking to jumpstart your ABM strategy, or need to erase a former false start, we’re here to help. My team at New Breed has put together our ABM Blueprint to help you identify how to reach your goals and assess your current ICP environment, tech stack, and more. 

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Jonathan Burg

Jonathan Burg is the SVP of Revenue at New Breed. After two private equity runs, he now proudly dedicates himself to supporting fellow revenue leaders achieve their growth goals. His passion is designing high-performance RevOps and creating category-leading brands to increase enterprise value, engage employees, and...


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