Targeting the Right Accounts Is Only Half the Battle for Effective ABM

The first step in any account-based marketing strategy is, of course, picking the right accounts. If you’re following best practices, then the selected list of target accounts should fit your ideal customer profile, which consists of a list of attributes that are common amongst the types of prospects that buy from you. Beyond this, the list may also be geared toward a particular goal, such as a higher average selling price (ASP) or toward a particular vertical – perhaps you’re trying to diversify the types of customers on your roster. Once you’ve compiled your list of target accounts, it’s time to segment them into audiences and then activate your various campaigns with messaging tailored to the needs and wants of your prospects.

Many organizations do well at accomplishing both the processes above, especially those orgs that are augmenting their account selection and audience segmentation with AI. However, even though both steps are critical to the foundation of your ABM efforts, they really only represent half the battle when it comes to finding success with an account-based approach. Identifying and driving responses from the right contacts within your target accounts is equally important. These “right” contacts are the ones that belong to a demand unit, which SiriusDecisions defines as follows:

“…a buying group that has been organized to address a need the organization is challenged with. Demand units – not accounts – are usually the true targets that marketing (and product and sales) should have in mind when thinking about buyers. Buyer, needs and solution must match for a demand unit to exist.”

In crunching the data here at Mintigo we’ve found an average B2B buying team consists of six to seven people. And this is where many organizations miss the mark in their ABM programs, as it can be a challenging task to keep track of demand units without the proper data and alignment between marketing and sales. It’s not uncommon for one lead to come in from a target account, get routed to a territory sales rep, and then have subsequent leads from that same account ignored or deprioritized by other reps when they realize communication has already been established with another lead within the prospect account.

While it’s true that not all the leads you generate are equally important, it’s essential to seek out and keep track of these multi-person demand unit entities that exist within your target accounts. As buying happens via committee, it’s critical that all the members of the buying team are nurtured and guided through your funnel to ensure the highest likelihood of closing a deal. Remember, you likely have to get seven people across the finish line to make a sale. This means that regardless of territory, a process needs to be put in place to make sure all leads within a target account are routed to the right sales rep – the true account owner. Additionally, sales and marketing need to be in sync to make sure their messaging is aligned for all identified leads within a target account, regardless of how they enter your funnel (I.e., digital, outreach, events, webinars, etc.).

To reiterate, though, not all leads are created equal. While it’s important to create an optimal experience for everyone within a target account, you do want to prioritize your leads. Mintigo enables companies to create a predictive lead scoring model that helps identify those individuals who are more likely to be a part of the buying committee, based on things like job title and engagement data points. This way you ensure that the right VPs and leadership receive more outreach and attention while deprioritizing interns and less senior personnel.

We’ve seen unprecedented adoption of ABM by B2B businesses in the past couple of years, with a lot of smart marketing and sales leaders emphasizing that we should essentially become account-based businesses. However, a lot of organizations struggle with seeing the ROI they’ve been promised by these thought leaders. By revamping processes surrounding your ABM efforts to better pinpoint demand units and usher them through your funnel, you will start to see the true growth potential that account-based business strategies can offer.

Doug Ramsay


Doug is a marketing manager at Mintigo, where he works on digital advertising, website optimization, design, and content creation. In his free time he loves traveling and taking short weekend road trips in Northern California, seeking out beautiful vistas, tasty vinos, and opportunities to go stand-up paddle-boarding.