Unlike inbound sales, which starts with an interested lead being handed off from marketing to sales for qualification on fit, account-based marketing (ABM) starts with the sourcing and identification of high-fit leads where interest must be stimulated.
To see the best results from ABM, you want to ensure you’re selecting target accounts strategically. ABM can have a higher cost of acquisition (CAC) than traditional inbound efforts, so it’s important that the prospects you decide to target are aligned with a high earning potential for your company.
ZoomInfo is a B2B intelligence tool that can help you identify companies that are a good fit for your product or service and gain an understanding of the needs and challenges they have based on industry insights and intent data.
The ABM process for sales has four key steps:
- Identify and research
- Attract and convert
- Connect and engage
- Analyze and optimize
ZoomInfo helps the most with the first and third steps.
Identify and Research
The first part of an account-based strategy is selecting target accounts based on who your long-term best-fit ICPs (ideal customer profiles) are. In identifying that, you need a good understanding of what characteristics those accounts will have — before even trying to leverage technology to identify specific targets.
Typically you won’t want to just target one type of account with your ABM efforts. Instead, you’ll want to spread your efforts amongst a variety of accounts that match your ICPs. A small portion of target accounts should be super ideal fits, essentially those unicorn clients who are often difficult to nail down but have extremely high revenue potential. But, you also should focus a larger portion of your ABM efforts on bread and butter accounts that are similar to the bulk of your customer base with high levels of presence in your marketing and sales funnel and predictable amounts of revenue they can bring to your organization.
Once you have your ICPs built out and know what types of accounts you’re going after, ZoomInfo will help you locate companies that meet the criteria you’re looking for.
The first place you should look for target accounts is within your existing database. Even stale leads in your CRM are warmer than an outbound-sourced prospect. ZoomInfo can enrich the contacts and companies in your database to help you identify and go after the high-fit leads you already have.
If you can’t locate good-fit accounts from within your own CRM, ZoomInfo allows you to search outside of your CRM for good-fit prospects too.
ZoomInfo enables you to filter companies using criteria like:
- Company description keyword
- Employee count
- Employee growth rate
- Technology they use
Then you can import the companies that match your ICPs into your CRM so you can move forward with them in the ABM process.
Once you’ve identified target accounts, learn more about them in order to tailor your outreach. ZoomInfo has features that can help you research companies as well.
Alerts are a stream of information on target companies you’ve identified. It’s a tool that will help you proactively monitor target accounts.
Scoops will pull together any new information that is publicly available about a company. For example, if there was a change in their executive leadership team or they got a new round of funding, the information would populate here.
Connect and Engage
Because ABM strategies are typically going after outbound-sourced leads, the target accounts identified as a good fit for your offering aren’t necessarily interested (Or know about your company at all). Because they haven’t displayed interest yet to you directly, it can be more difficult to bring them into your funnel.
They may not know who you are or what you do, and you don’t know for sure if the timing is right.
ZoomInfo can clarify some of those unknowns for you. With its intent data, ZoomInfo can provide insights into timing, topics and challenges.
In ZoomInfo, you can pre-select topics to monitor intent data around. You should pick things that correlate with trigger events or your solution. Then you can see what companies are searching for that topic within a given time frame.
In addition to the topic being searched for, ZoomInfo also gives you three other metrics to better understand the intent data: audience strength, signal count and signal score.
- Audience strength is how many individuals at a company are searching for that topic.
- Signal count is the number of intent spikes that have occurred in that time frame. A spike is defined as any time the signal score is greater than 60.
- Signal score is the overall average intensity of searches for that topic.
This data gives you the opportunity to determine if your target accounts have been displaying interest in topics related to your solution. While this interest isn’t as specific as what you’d see from an inbound lead — the prospect still may not be aware of your company or that you solve for the things they’re searching for — it can still help you prioritize your outreach by determining if solutions like yours are top of mind for the prospect.
Account-based marketing can result in bigger deals and better win rates by focusing only on high-fit leads and taking a tailored approach to converting them into customers.
The traditional downside of ABM is that you have no sense of interest at the start of the process because you’re typically targeting outbound-sourced leads and because there can often be a much higher CAC involved in an ABM. With ZoomInfo, you can eliminate the risk of having no interest data and still get all the benefits of starting with fit.
Beth is an Inbound Advisor at New Breed with a particular strength in email marketing, optimization, and webpage creation and strategy.