How to Get Started with ABM: Step 2 - Building Your Target Account List

Alex Olley
Alex Olley
Co-Founder, Head of Revenue and Marketing
June 29, 2020

Last time we looked at how to build your ICP- your “Ideal Customer Profile” that will shape the very nature of your business. Next, it’s important to create your target account list.

First step- Formalize your ICP

Take all the data points you used to create your ICP and label them. Use this labelling in your CRM to run accounts against. Start by having them on a spreadsheet or write the framework  on a whiteboard. This step is crucial and easily missed. Formalising your ICP will give you a structure to work from and will also take the guesswork out of trying to figure out if an account matches it and is therefore worth targeting.

Second step- Build the account list: The Longlist…

ABM is all about being very targeted so you can sell to the accounts that are most likely to buy from you. But trying to be too targeted too quickly can result in you chasing the unicorn. Start with a long list of as many accounts as you can, based on your ICP. Find your competitor’s accounts (yea, this is getting real) and, of course, look at your customer’s competitors. I mean, it’s fair to say if one company in a set industry needs you, the others will too. Whittling this down will be easier because we can run the long list against the formalised ICP and sift out those that aren’t quite the right fit yet.

Third step- Apply your ICP

Now comes the interesting bit. Filter this long-list against your ICP and as you do, you’ll realise which accounts are worth targeting and which one’s are either a never-fit or not-quite-yet-fit. This sorts the diamonds from the rocks. Speak to your sales teams and customer success managers so you can uncover the triggers behind why your most recent customers bought, which ones are renewing with you and which accounts have the highest lifetime value.

Fourth step- Tier Your Account List

After you filter your account list out you’ll be left with a strong list of accounts but it still isn’t as targeted as you need. Well, this is where tiering comes in. You’ll have 2 types: dynamic and static. Dynamic lists refresh regularly and usually require advanced database systems to make this work. Static lists are ones that are refreshed every 3-6 months so you keep on top of current trends and triggers. Your next stage of tiering is to look inwards. What campaigns will you be running? Where are you in your company's evolution? We all want to target the biggest, best accounts we can and if you’re set up to- then go for it!

What’s Next?

Get geared up to identify your DMU (Decision Making Unit)

For now, carry on being the amazing ABM led people you are and get that account list done and tiered!

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

Step 1 Building Your ICP

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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