In 2018, sales and marketing professionals have access to data we would have never thought possible just a few years ago. Today, teams can get a picture of which companies out of their total addressable market (TAM) are the best fit for their business. It’s also possible to discover their intent to purchase what’s on offer. So, why do sales and marketing teams waste so much time knocking on doors that mostly go unanswered?
The challenge is lining up the data to work the way it should.
Typically, most companies rolling out an account-based strategy spend a lot of time trying to identify accounts to target. This process can last weeks or months, and in some cases never happens. The AB program never sees the light of day.
It makes sense for teams to spend time identifying accounts that are a fit for their business. It’s also smart to see who’s starting to research your space — that likely shows intent. But whether or not the fit is right, and whether or not the research was just an empty exercise also matters. Even though a company looks like it could be a good fit for your business doesn’t mean it is; and research alone is not a predictor of a sale. It’s when you use intent data as a filter or qualifier that things really start to get interesting. Intent data gives your ABM strategy the added benefit of the dimension of time.
Fit and intent data play very nicely with the data most modern sales and marketing professionals are already leveraging — engagement data from your marketing automation system. Leveraging these three data sources will inform the team about who their target accounts should be and when these accounts are preparing to make a purchase. Now factor in data about recency, and you’re effectively using F.I.R.E. data.
Theresult is increases in pipeline, shortened sales cycles, larger deal sizes and stronger alignment between sales and marketing.
Where And How To Begin With F.I.R.E.
All companies thinking about rolling out F.I.R.E. should begin with a methodology for assessing and scoring fit. Everything begins with fit. Think about it this way, if an account has high intent but is not a good fit for your sales team, they don’t really matter. Similarly, if an account is a bad fit, their engagement with your brand is irrelevant. Next, select a vendor that can provide you with intent data (we recommend Bombora). Then build a workflow in Salesforce to timestamp when a company is exhibiting intent, so you can determine the recency of the intent. Lastly, marry these three data types with engagement from your marketing automation system. Bonus points for using a platform like Engagio that tracks engagement across an entire account.
Now it’s time to prioritize your accounts using this data. Accounts that meet all four criteria of F.I.R.E. are your Tier 1 or top accounts. Accounts exhibiting fit and intent with recency are your Tier 2 accounts. Accounts that are high fit but have not shown intent or engagement are your Tier 3 accounts. By prioritizing sales and marketing teams’ time, effort and budget with F.I.R.E. data, teams work on the accounts that have the best chance of closing.
Now armed with a list of accounts that look just like your customers, and are a great fit for your product or service, knowing which ones are in-market helps you devote where you want to spend the most time, energy, resources and dollars to acquire them as customers. You now have an understanding of whom you should be targeting, why you should be targeting them and when you should be targeting them. You’re using fit, intent, recency and engagement to home in on your targets. And the entire strategy is backed by data.