Understanding Account Lists, the Heart of Your ABM Strategy

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What Is an Account List?

An account list is a list of customers, partners, and potential customers. Accounts represent potential to move through the account funnel. As prospects, they may have potential to become customers. As customers they may have potential to renew your product or service, upsell or cross-sell to another product, or work with you to find mutually successful opportunities as a partner. We talk about "building" account lists, because account lists are not something you create and then you're done. Here are some of the levels you may go through, as you build your account lists:

  • Pilot program: Start a pilot program with one segment of your market. For example, if your goal is to increase revenue from your financial services vertical by 20 percent for the year, create your first "account list" with only this section of the market. 
  • Roll-out to entire organization: Later, when you have buy-in and roll out ABM to your entire organization, build your account list from accounts that both Marketing and Sales agree are valuable prospects, customers, or partners. Some companies choose to create their first list through team meetings with Marketing, Sales, and Marketing Operations, based on data in their CRM. 
  • Known look-alikes: Define the characteristics that made your initial accounts successful and find accounts that share the same characteristics.
  • Data-driven account selection with Demandbase: Gradually increase the sophistication of your account lists by getting help from Demandbase data-driven account-selection methodologies, such as Intent and Keyword Sets, Qualification Scores, Engagement Minutes, and Pipeline Predict Scores. Find data-driven look-alikes and fine-tune your lists. 
  • Metrics: Eventually, you'll get to know metrics like Percent of pipeline represented by target accounts, average deal size, funnel velocity, and cost per opportunity. You'll learn more about your ideal customer profile based on this knowledge and adjust your list. It's an iterative process. For starts, you'll learn some baseline metrics after you set up keywords and explore the results. Then you'll learn more about metrics, often combined into useful "scores," as you configure Demandbase One for your ABM goals.

However you choose to proceed, the bottom line is, for Demandbase to do account-based marketing at all, you must have an initial set of accounts in your target account list. Start somewhere and build. Shoot for a pilot of some dozens of accounts.

Identify target account list owner(s), ideally one from Sales and one from Marketing. (Target account list owner's perform a high-level team service, not to be confused with unique account owners or team account owners, such as an SDR. Target account list owners take a high-level view and make sure that account lists are kept up-to-date according to your company's business strategy.) The role could be a shared responsibility with one member from Sales and one from Marketing Operations. The owner(s) are responsible for knowing everything about the target list(s):

  • How it was created
  • Criteria used in selecting the list
  • Where it's located in your systems
  • When it gets updated

Their responsibilities include:

  • Maintaining the list
  • Communicating changes
  • Managing metrics around it

They will be your go-to resource for all questions and issues. They should have KPIs around it to ensure that the list is not neglected or inaccurate or communication is broken down.

Demandbase provides some pre-built account lists based on your CRM. See Demandbase Pre-Built Account Lists.

To build and manage your own account lists, see Create and Access Account Lists and Manage Account Lists.

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