How to Get Started with ABM: Step 1 - Building Your ICP

Alex Olley
Alex Olley
Co-Founder, Head of Revenue and Marketing
June 17, 2020

Spray and Pray, your time has truly come. You’ve probably heard that spray and pray has been dead for a while but somehow it has managed to cling on, lurking in the background. Well no more. Like it or not, today we’re looking to the future and living in a new reality. With a ‘new normal’ in place and modern working disrupted, marketers today must set new expectations, new goals and develop new playbooks to succeed.

In other words, we must update our strategy to fit the changing market.

Why ABM Now?

The global disruptions have hit marketing and sales teams hard. With every penny being spent now under the spotlight, it’s little wonder that Account Based Marketing (ABM) has become the buzzword across the industry.

The more, and better, marketing you do the more chance you have to survive and thrive once any crisis or downturn ends. As a highly targeted, measurable approach, ABM programs have been shown to result in significant improvements in pipeline growth.

The most important thing of all is that ABM programs are driven by data and insight rather than a finger in the air approach to what works.

How do I get started?

So far so good, you’re probably thinking “I’ll draw up a targeted list and get running with our ABM campaign!” But wait; the first thing you want to do is refine your ICP- your Ideal Customer Profile. It may be tempting to run straight into the Fortune 500, or the latest insert-industry-here-tech.

Your ICP should be something that everyone from your C-Suite to your BDRs knows, it should be the north star of the organisation, it’ll stop you chasing after the wrong accounts and ultimately prevent you from wasting precious resources.

What are the steps I need to take?

Now that we’re all aligned, here are the 5 steps to finding your ideal ICP!

1. Look inwards

Your sales and customer success teams are a goldmine of knowledge as to which industries and company profiles fit best with your offering. Use that data back into finding who you should target. Ask your customers questions like:

2. Which accounts are most profitable/spend the most with us?

      -   Which accounts have the highest satisfaction rates?

      -   Which accounts are easiest to sell to?

      -   Which accounts have we worked with for the longest?

3. Look outwards

Very few companies can truly sell to everyone. Quickly identify those company profiles and those brands that would fall outside your ICP. Make sure that information is shared so that your time and efforts aren’t wasted.

4. Find your Goldilocks Zone

Profile the size of the companies you work best with by assessing the number of employees they have, what turnover your ideal customer would have to get the best results and, of course, understand what your geographical reach truly is and match it to your TAM. Look into the job titles that exist within those target accounts and match that against the personas you sell to.

5. Get under the hood

Will they be able to support your offering? Understand what tools the company uses and how your solution fits. Also, is your solution the first of its kind they will be using? If you have integrations with tools like Salesforce, Marketo, HubSpot, SalesLoft, Outreach etc then look into companies that use those tools so you can complement their tech stack.

6. Use Intent 

It’s not rocket science but there’s a lot of science to it. There’s a wealth of information sat at your disposal on whether a company should be in your ICP. Are they on your website often? Tools like Leadfeedeer can deanonymize who is on your site that don’t convert. Tools like 6Sense and Cyance can give you the intent signals you need to determine who is in buying mode so that you can fish in the right ponds rather than cast a net into the open sea.

The best ABM programs will always have the ICP at its heart and if you’ve taken these steps then having that profile should come. Then make sure you share it with your teams. Post it on the walls, speak about it in training sessions and onboarding, print it onto a t-shirt and have the founders wearing them around… ok maybe not that far but once you’re all on the same page you’ll find that you’re well on your way to being ABM superstars! More importantly, keep it updated and refresh it regularly.

Step 2 looks at how you then build your Target Account List. Read more here.

For our full "How to Get Started with ABM" series:

Step 2 Building Your Target Account List

Step 3 Building Out Your DMU

Step 4 Focusing in on Your Strategy & Goals

Step 5 Let’s Talk Tactics

Step 6 Choosing Your Tier 1 + Tier 2 Tactics

Step 7 Building Your Team

Step 8 Measuring ROI


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