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A robust pipeline can ensure a steady influx of potential customers, revenue, and business expansion even in a downturn. Easier said than done. The key to a healthy pipeline in 2024? Account prioritization.

If your sales and marketing teams don’t already utilize ABM, you’re in the minority. According to Hubspot, over 67% of brands leverage account-based marketing.

In this article, we will delve into the crucial role of account prioritization within the ABM framework and explore how it can significantly impact pipeline growth.

What Is Account Prioritization?

Account prioritization, in the realm of ABM, refers to the strategic process of identifying and prioritizing high-value accounts that align with your business objectives. It involves evaluating various factors to determine which accounts have the highest potential for conversion and long-term value.

Not all accounts are equal, and by focusing on high-potential ones, you can streamline your marketing and sales activities, leading to more efficient pipeline growth.

Developing an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

Creating an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is the first step in the account prioritization process. An ICP outlines your most valuable customers’ characteristics, demographics, and behaviors, enabling you to target similar accounts effectively. Usually, sales will have an idea of what their ICP looks like. However, it’s also crucial to consider what your documented customer data doesn’t tell you, including the qualitative insights and market shifts that affect how your ideal customer acts.

Ensuring you have a good understanding of your ideal customer’s quantitative and qualitative characteristics will help you establish a path to alignment across the sales and marketing funnel.
Once you have an ICP, you can pull a list of target accounts using a third-party data provider like ZoomInfo and start prioritizing accounts. Using target ICPs along with account prioritization ensures that marketing efforts are directed towards accounts with the highest conversion potential. This synergy enhances the effectiveness of ABM strategies and contributes to streamlined pipeline growth.

Prioritizing Accounts

A defined ICP is a great place to start, but if it contains hundreds or thousands of accounts, how can you ensure that your sales efforts are targeting the right accounts at the right time?

In the old B2B marketing playbook, we used to look at lead scoring as the best way to prioritize sales efforts, but relying on lead-level first-party data can be misleading for a couple of reasons.

  1. Fewer and fewer buyers are actively filling out forms.
  2. A lead is not (always) indicative of the buying journey of an account.

Only 17% of a B2B buyer’s journey is spent actively engaged in first-party activities with potential suppliers. That other 83% of the buying journey is spent on various online and offline resources. These mostly anonymized activities are known as the dark web, and they hold a lot of insight into where an account is within its buying journey.

Read more about the dark web in B2B here.

Account prioritization acts as a way to capture as much information about an account as possible using a variety of first- and third-party data resources to estimate who is actively searching for a solution based on the entire buying committee – not just a single lead.

Tools like RollWorks and 6sense attempt to help the seller understand these different touchpoints in sales dashboards so they can prioritize their efforts against accounts that are most likely to buy from them at that moment in time.

This information is critical to go-to-market sales teams who have little resources but big pipelines to fill. But identifying the best accounts at any moment is only half the battle.

Personalization and Customization

Once high-potential accounts are identified, tailoring sales and marketing activities becomes imperative. Personalized and customized approaches resonate better with these accounts, fostering a deeper connection and increasing the likelihood of conversion.

Personalized communication goes beyond addressing a client by name. It involves understanding their pain points, needs, and preferences and tailoring communication accordingly. This custom-tailored approach is a cornerstone of successful ABM strategies. Research shows that stakeholders presented with personalized content were 40% more likely to purchase from a supplier than those served with generic content.

Here are some examples of effective customization in an ABM setting:

  1. Personalized Email Drip Campaigns – Personalized emails based on the prospect’s behavior and interactions with previous emails.
  2. Dynamic Content on Landing Pages – Customize website landing pages with dynamic content based on the visitor’s past interactions or industry.
  3. Personalized Direct Mail Campaigns – Personalized direct mail packages to high-value accounts.
  4. Account-Specific Webinars – Webinars tailored to key accounts’ specific needs and challenges.
  5. Social Media (LinkedIn) Personalization – Tailoring social media content and ads based on the interests and preferences of target accounts.
  6. Personalized Video Messages – Creating personalized video messages for key decision-makers within target accounts.
  7. Exclusive Promotions for Target Accounts (a.k.a. Alpha Tactics) – Offering exclusive promotions, discounts or gifts to key accounts.

Collaboration Between Sales and Marketing

In account-prioritized ABM, the collaboration between sales and marketing teams is indispensable. Both teams must work seamlessly towards common goals, ensuring that the prioritized accounts receive a unified and cohesive experience. Strategies such as regular communication, shared goals, and joint planning sessions foster effective collaboration between sales and marketing teams. This alignment is crucial for maximizing pipeline growth and ensuring a consistent customer journey.

A unified approach toward account prioritization involves establishing shared criteria, regular feedback loops, and a joint understanding of the ideal customer. This synergy enhances the overall effectiveness of ABM strategies.

Nurturing and Engagement Strategies

Nurturing prioritized accounts involves building long-term relationships rather than focusing solely on short-term gains. It requires ongoing communication–usually through email nurtures, understanding evolving needs, and adapting strategies accordingly. Effective engagement strategies include regular touchpoints, exclusive offers or insights, and personalized interactions (See above). These strategies contribute to sustained growth by maintaining a strong connection with prioritized accounts over time.

In Summary

Account prioritization is a cornerstone of successful pipeline growth within the ABM framework. Businesses can drive sustained growth by understanding its importance, aligning with organizational goals, and implementing effective engagement strategies.

As you navigate the competitive landscape, adopting ABM strategies with a strong focus on account prioritization is crucial for sustainable success. Companies can unlock unprecedented pipeline growth potential by prioritizing the correct accounts, aligning sales and marketing efforts, and fostering collaboration.

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