6 Steps To Optimize Your Contact Data For ABM

Brian hession 1croppedWhether you have embarked on an ABM program or are planning to do so, you’ll realize that contact data issues are amplified with an account-based approach. With the spotlight on your that data, there is nowhere to hide. Sales and marketing will blitz your contact data, so now you need to worry about a lot more than just email deliverability. 

Think about it—you have a lot riding on these high-profile accounts, and the last thing you need is inaccurate, incomplete, or missing contacts holding you back. To ensure your efforts yield positive results, follow this six-step process to ensure your contact data is ready. 

Step 1: Identify Your Target Accounts

There are a number of different approaches that sales and marketing take to establish target accounts. A common one is based on firmographic criteria (i.e. company size and industry) and often supplemented with additional attributes, such as technology installs or buyer intent data. More advanced approaches include predictive analytics, which utilizes data and pattern recognition to identify the accounts with the highest propensity to buy. 

Step 2: Take Inventory Of Your Contacts

With the accounts identified, it’s time to pull together and assess all the contacts you have associated with these companies. No matter the number of contacts you have, are you confident they’re accurate? How are you going to deal with fractional records, like ones missing job title, phone numbers or email addresses? To get a handle on the state of your contact data, start with a Data Health Check. Most data providers or agencies offer them at no charge.

Step 3: Cleanse Your Contact Records

With insight from the health check, you can now strategically clean-up your contact data. First, consider suppressing contacts that are misaligned to your audience definition. It makes no sense to invest resources and time on contacts that play no role in the buying process. Second, apply real-time hygiene to the eligible contacts to isolate bad and problematic data. Lastly, fill in missing fields and enrich with attributes that provide a more complete view of the contact. 

Step 4: Understand The Size Of The Addressable Market

Now that your data is clean and complete, you need to map the buying committee—including decision makers, influencers, and end-users—within each account. With a contact gap analysis, you’ll learn the extent to which your house contacts align to your audience definition, and you’ll gain insight into the ones that you’re currently missing.

Step 5: Design A Contact Acquisition Strategy

With an understanding of the gaps within your database, you can design a contact discovery strategy to close the most important gaps first. The objective is to identify and acquire the contacts that constitute the buying committee within each account.

Step 6: Implement A Continual Contact Data Strategy

To increase ABM success, it’s imperative that your contact data management strategy is ongoing. You need to maintain a standard of accuracy with your house contacts while simultaneously seeking greenfield contacts as they become available.   

Optimizing your contact data for account-based marketing is a process that requires continual attention. You can gain a competitive advantage if you can improve the accuracy and completeness of your contact data while simultaneously ensuring you have identified the right people at each account. It’s this idea of establishing the buying committee that provides you the foundation to orchestrate plays that will build brand equity and revenue. Check out this brief video to learn more: 

Brian Hession is the President & Founder of Oceanos, where he helps companies design data management strategies that deliver smarter data, better marketing automation performance and more revenue.  Brian is a member of MOCCA Operations Board—the leading professional association dedicated to operational excellence in marketing operations—serving as Data & Information advisor.

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Atmel’s Sander Arts, Extole’s Jen Gray Reveal ABM Journeys At C2C16

A 2015 study from SiriusDecisions found that 90% of marketers believe account-based marketing (ABM) is a must-have, but only 20% have implemented the strategy within their organization. Those who are using it are seeing significant success.

During a panel at the 2016 Content2Conversion and Demand Gen Summit conference, moderated by Chris Golec, CEO of Demandbase, Atmel’s Sander Arts and Extole’s Jen Gray discussed their journeys with ABM.

Golec kicked off the session by highlighting some key points on ways to begin to implement ABM.

“The most important thing about getting started with ABM is to get started,” he said.

The approach to ABM focuses on four key categories, including:

  • Aligning sales and marketing;
  • Identifying target accounts;
  • Developing a marketing plan around target accounts; and
  • Measuring results at the account level.

“In marketing, we’re so driven to measure clicks, leads and everything about volume,” Golec said. “ABM is about the success of each account; everything from generating awareness to engaging them on your site and measuring the results.”

Changing The Business Model

For Gray, the initiation of ABM at Extole began around changing the company’s entire business model from a social media marketing platform to pure referrals.

“We needed to push our message out as much as possible, but we didn’t know our most successful customers,” she said. “A couple of years back, we evaluated our customer base, and we found that retailers, financial services and entertainment companies …are most successful with referrals right off the bat.”

Gray decided to target global 500 companies to put together the targeted account list. Her team internally was excited about implementing ABM, but it wasn’t necessarily easy.

Obstacles Faced

“I always thought that I was aligned with sales, but this was aligning on a single list of targeted accounts and showing the team all of the things I could do with that list,” she said. “It’s gotten the sales team so excited. It was difficult to get everyone on the same page and align the targeted accounts at first, but the data [ultimately] got everyone behind it.”

Sander Arts has challenges as well. He said there were a handful of veteran sales people who weren’t exactly happy about Arts talking to their customers, and that relationship needed to be massaged.

Advice On Getting Started

Gray and Arts both offered advice for companies who are looking to implement ABM.

“Account-based marketing is nothing new,” Gray said. “It’s something we’ve been doing, but haven’t talked about or gotten excited about. Your targeted account list is your gold mine; it’s the best place to start. Getting it wherever you can and using it to target those companies and tell sales when those companies are visiting your site has been the best success for us.”

Arts concluded, “My advice would be just to get going, because you’ll immediately see what’s going to happen, you can intuitively see what will happen down the line.”

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