Whether your account-based marketing (ABM) program succeeds or fails largely depends on whether you are targeting the right accounts. If you are creating content, sales strategies and outreach for the wrong accounts, even your best efforts will fall flat.
Traditionally, choosing the right target accounts for ABM involves building a buyer persona and matching this to potential accounts. And this isn’t a bad strategy in and of itself – however, the elements that go into the buyer persona need to be carefully chosen in order for this to be effective.
For instance, too many businesses rely on relatively static metrics to build their personas. Things like company size, industry and revenue are all popular factors included in most personas. However, they don’t go far enough in truly defining whether that account is a good fit for your business or not.
Static metrics fail to take into consideration how the buyer journey has changed over the years. Of course, the size of the account still matters, and you want to be sure your target accounts are in the right industry. But what behaviors are most prevalent among key members of that account? Considering the fact that most B2B buyers (over 90 percent, according to Accenture) have already done the majority of their research before meeting with a salesperson, shouldn’t you know how they conducted that research? Or whether they have already expressed an interest in a product similar to yours?
Businesses need to start incorporating more dynamic metrics into their buyer personas. There are a number of cutting-edge metrics, such as technographics and buying signals, that can provide a three-dimensional picture of an account.
Technographics, for instance, tell you which technologies your target account relies on most. This is extremely valuable, as you can sell your product based on the technology choices they use. You can learn when they try a demo from a competitor, or when they drop a long-term vendor. This knowledge can help you prioritize which accounts to focus on, and develop messaging that will resonate with their technological needs.
And buyer signals are an extremely powerful addition to the modern buyer persona. If your accounts are interacting with competitor or industry content, you can be alerted and take action, knowing that they are publicly expressing an interest in a product or market similar to yours. A number of our clients have used buyer signals to increase their conversions of cold leads to prospects, double the number of meetings they booked, or create significantly large sales opportunities.
A buyer persona should reflect, as closely as possible, the actual day-to-day experiences of your target account. And while static metrics help build a general understanding, dynamic metrics like technographics and buyer signals should not be overlooked if you want to target the right accounts.