A checklist for building ABM Prospect Profiles
Account insights are the missing link in Account-based Marketing
Everyone knows you need data and compelling intelligence to position your ABM program for success when targeting a key account. ABM requires a highly tailored 1:1 approach, so it’s critical you know your prospect inside and out. The challenge is figuring out which points are most salient and how to use them to drive engagement. Here is a checklist of the actionable insights PipelineIQ includes in our custom account profiles, why we think it’s essential to ABM, and examples of how your team may use that information to grow opportunities.
In Account-based Marketing, knowledge is power. The more you know about your enterprise prospect the better prepared you are to align your unique solutions with their business challenges. Here is a breakdown of each topic and how your ABM team can use these items to accelerate your sales goals:
- Personalized Prospect Overview – This is our view of your prospect through the lens of your company and the solutions you offer. What investments or improvements has your prospect made recently or plans to make in the future? IT landscape and hiring strategies? Has their been an acceleration of digital transformation programs related to COVID-19? What management moves have they made? What’ are their strategic and tactical goals for FY2021? The idea here is to provide your sales team with specific business initiatives and deep insight into the current state of your prospect; how they got there, why they approached it that way, and where they hope it takes them in the future. This is a pivotal step in helping account managers personalize their outreach and align their product with a prospect’s overarching mission.
- Conversation Starters – Now that you’ve established the view of your prospect relevant to areas you help, you need to find touchpoints to map your solutions. Say your prospect is migrating critical applications to the cloud, or adopting a zero-trust security posture, or replacing their HRIS platform? This is your chance to demonstrate how exactly you can help, that you know their goals, and get their attention with a targeted message. When you can name and solve a pain point, it demonstrates you’re invested in your prospect’s success. That’s a key step toward building trust and relevance.
- Key Stakeholders – Knowing who’s in charge, what drives them, and how to reach them is critical. We’re also big fans of knowing where leadership is located, especially if it involves global corporations. This way you can customize your outreach relevant to that region and language. This level of hyper-personalization makes it easier to use the prospecting themes and conversation starters we outlined above.
- Business and Tech Strategies – This is our catch-all category for everything from initiatives, transformations, realignments, goals, acquisitions, new partnerships, and other strategic moves. The information in this section is particularly fluid and involves in-depth research culled from a variety of industry-specific sources. This is not substance one can find from a quick internet search, press releases or outdated annual report. The goal here is to determine what is really going on at your prospect that you need to be aware of – before reaching out uninformed.
- Financials & Company Performance – Numbers. Numbers. Numbers. Any custom account profile must provide hard data and analytics that show a company’s performance over time. But simply reporting numbers here doesn’t give your ABM program all the insight it needs to be effective. We feel strongly that finances should be segmented so you can clearly see a company’s biggest revenue drivers or expenses. For instance, if you’re researching FedEx, you can learn know how much the delivery service giant spends on fleet vehicles (including air cargo planes) and the amount of money FedEx has sunk into enterprise IT with partners like AWS & Azure. Seeing growth or loss, both as a whole or as financial segments, enhances an account manager’s ability to link their solutions to segments that may be going strong, underperforming, or trending upward. Attach your solutions to impacting top line and bottom line revenue.
- Industry Insights – Sales teams should be aware of what is happening in the industry your prospect competes in, so your messaging is relevant to terminology and issues in that sector. For example, if selling into Oil & Gas you should be aware of Upstream vs. Downstream. If you are trying to sell an Artificial Intelligence solution into Starbucks, it’s important to know what Dunkin’ Brands and other coffee chains are doing with that same technology. Show them you understand the challenges they face, and the competitors they battle against. Insights can also include regulatory issues, supply and demand kinks, new market disruptors, and understanding how global factors like COVID-19 are impacting their business.
Why Actionable Insights Work
Somewhere along the way reading this checklist, you might have said to yourself, “Wait, can’t I find all this stuff on my own?” Maybe. But it would take you hours upon hours of research. And in most cases, the details included on ABM account profiles are more specific than anything you’d be able to find on Google or from an “off-the-shelf’ data service.
Additionally, having the information in hand is only part of the strategy behind a successful ABM program. Your ABM team needs to know how to convert that information into action to align cross-functional goals and objectives, effectively drive pipeline generation, and close deals.