Resources Go-to-market

Building prioritised target account lists

Written by
Rudy Lai
Last Updated
May 05, 2023
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This is our 7 part guide with everything you need to understand the basics of go-to-market (GTM) and increase revenue globally. You’ll also find links to useful content from our blog throughout, so you can forge your own path to GTM mastery. Here are the chapters:

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Creating a prioritized target account list means selecting the companies you want to focus on for sales and marketing.

This list helps you save time and resources by targeting businesses that are most likely to become customers.

The key to making this list is using your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), which tells you the traits of your best customers.

Identifying Key Criteria for Target Accounts

To build a prioritized target account list, you need to establish the essential criteria that align with your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). These criteria help you filter and rank potential accounts based on their likelihood to become valuable customers. Key criteria to consider include:

Industry and Company Size

Identify the industries where your products or services are most relevant, and consider focusing on specific niches within those industries. Additionally, determine the company size that best aligns with your ICP. Different-sized companies may have varying needs, budgets, and decision-making processes, making it essential to focus on those that match your offering.

Geographic Location

Geographic location is another critical factor for target account selection. Consider whether your products or services are most suitable for specific regions or countries. This can help you target accounts that are more likely to engage with your business and have a higher conversion potential.

Key things to decide:

  • Are you going to take LinkedIn as a source of truth for headquarters, or the company website? There are frequent cases on LinkedIn where a company is headquartered in California, but most employees are actually in a different country in Europe/Asia.

  • How will you decide when there are subsidiaries or legal entities within a large company?

Technographic Data

Technographic data refers to the technology stack used by a company. Analyze the target accounts' technology adoption, compatibility with your solutions, and willingness to invest in new technologies. This information can help you identify accounts that are more likely to benefit from your offering.

Firmographic Data

Firmographic data includes details like the company's revenue, growth rate, and number of employees. These data points can help you assess the financial stability, growth potential, and overall attractiveness of a target account.

Behavioral Data

Behavioral data provides insights into how target accounts interact with your marketing efforts, website, and content. Identify patterns and trends that suggest higher engagement levels, such as frequent website visits, content downloads, or event participation.

Organizational Pain Points and Needs

Understanding the target accounts' pain points and needs is crucial for developing tailored messaging and offerings. Research industry challenges and trends, as well as specific account issues to identify opportunities where your solutions can create value.

Data Sources and Tools for Building a Target Account List

To build a comprehensive target account list, you'll need to gather data from various sources and use tools that can help you identify, analyze, and prioritize potential target accounts. Here are some data sources and tools to consider:

CRM System and Marketing Automation Platforms

Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and marketing automation platforms are valuable sources of data on existing customers, prospects, and leads. Analyze this data to identify common traits among your best customers and inform your ICP. These platforms can also help you track and manage your target account list as you refine and optimize it over time.

Social Media and Professional Networks

Social media platforms and professional networks, such as LinkedIn, can provide insights into potential target accounts, their industries, company size, and key decision-makers. By following industry influencers, participating in relevant groups, and monitoring discussions, you can gain valuable insights into the challenges and needs of potential target accounts.

Third-Party Data Providers

Third-party data providers can offer a wealth of information about potential target accounts, including firmographic, technographic, and behavioral data. These data providers can help you fill in the gaps in your existing data and enable you to make more informed decisions when selecting target accounts.

Sales and Marketing Intelligence Tools

Sales and marketing intelligence tools are designed to help you gather and analyze data on potential target accounts. These tools can provide insights into a company's revenue, growth rate, technology stack, and more. By using these tools, you can streamline the process of identifying and prioritizing target accounts, saving time and resources.

Collaboration with Sales and Marketing Teams

Your sales and marketing teams can provide valuable insights into potential target accounts based on their experiences and interactions with customers and prospects. Collaborate with these teams to gather feedback on which accounts show the most potential and align best with your ICP. Regular meetings and discussions can help ensure that your target account list remains accurate and up-to-date.

Manual Research

Not all criteria can be collected automatically. For example, if your solution depends on a company undergoing a digital transformation initiative, you'll need your sales and marketing team to manually research this, or outsource the task to freelancers on platforms like Upwork or Fiverr.

Remember that the process of building a target account list is iterative and should be refined over time. As your company grows and your ICP evolves, so should your target account list. By staying adaptable and responsive to changes in your industry and customer base, you can ensure that your target account list remains an effective tool for driving sales and marketing success.

Combining multiple data sources

The more criteria you have, the more accurate your account list becomes. You may need to evaluate multiple data vendors to gather all the necessary information. For example, you might use one vendor for industry and headcount data and another for technographics.

After that, you will need to merge the data from multiple sources and remove duplicates or outdated information. This process ensures that your target account list remains accurate and relevant.

Data analysts can help clean, process, and analyze data, ensuring accuracy in your target account list.

Marketing analysts can assist by identifying trends and patterns within the data, while sales operations analysts can collaborate with data and marketing analysts to create a refined and actionable target account list that aligns with your sales strategy.

We have also seen working students or even dedicated lead generation researchers being hired within our customers.

Spreadsheet tools like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets offer powerful features for organizing, filtering, and analyzing data. Data cleaning and transformation tools like OpenRefine and Trifacta, as well as data integration tools like Talend and Alteryx, can aid in cleaning, standardizing, and merging data from multiple sources.

Scoring and Prioritizing Target Accounts

Once you have gathered relevant data and identified potential target accounts, you need to score and prioritize them to focus your resources on those with the highest potential. This process involves developing a scoring system, segmenting target accounts into tiers, and continuously evaluating and adjusting your scoring system.

Developing a Scoring System

Assigning Weights to Key Criteria

Determine the relative importance of each key criterion, such as industry, company size, geographic location, technographic data, firmographic data, behavioral data, and organizational pain points. Assign a weight to each criterion based on its significance in aligning with your ICP. This ensures that the most relevant factors have a more significant impact on the overall score of a target account.

Consider negative weights

Incorporating negative weights into your scoring system can help you account for factors that may indicate a poor fit between a potential target account and your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).

To effectively integrate negative weights into your scoring system, consider factors that may indicate a poor fit, such as incompatible technology stacks, conflicting company values, or a history of unresponsiveness to your marketing efforts.

Assign negative weights to these factors based on their potential impact on the success of a business relationship. When calculating the overall score for each target account, subtract the weighted negative factors from the positive factors to obtain a more accurate representation of the account's alignment with your ICP.

Scoring Target Accounts Based on ICP Criteria

Score each potential target account using the weighted criteria. For example, if a company's industry is highly relevant to your ICP, it should receive a high score for that criterion. Calculate the overall score for each account by combining the scores for all criteria. This process will provide you with a quantitative measure of each account's fit with your ICP.

Segmenting Target Accounts into Tiers

After scoring target accounts, segment them into tiers based on their overall scores. Tiers can help you allocate resources and develop tailored marketing strategies for each group of target accounts. For example:

  • Tier 1: High-priority target accounts that closely align with your ICP and have the highest potential for conversion.

  • Tier 2: Target accounts that meet most of your ICP criteria but may require additional nurturing or engagement.

  • Tier 3: Accounts with lower alignment with your ICP but may still offer opportunities for growth and expansion.

Continuous Evaluation and Adjustment of the Scoring System

It is essential to regularly review and adjust your scoring system to account for changes in your ICP, market conditions, or your company's goals. Monitor the performance of your target accounts to identify trends or patterns that suggest the need for adjustments in your scoring system. This continuous evaluation ensures that your target account list remains accurate and relevant to your sales and marketing efforts.

By scoring and prioritizing target accounts based on your ICP, you can direct your resources towards the most promising opportunities. This targeted approach allows your sales and marketing teams to focus on high-priority accounts, resulting in more efficient and effective campaigns. As your ICP evolves and your business grows, regularly revisiting and updating your scoring system will help you maintain a prioritized target account list that drives continued success.

Engaging and Nurturing Target Accounts

Effectively engaging and nurturing your target accounts is crucial for fostering strong relationships and driving conversions. Here are some strategies to consider when engaging with your prioritized target accounts:

Personalized Content and Messaging

Develop tailored content and messaging that address the specific needs, pain points, and interests of each target account. Personalization demonstrates that you understand their unique challenges and are equipped to provide valuable solutions.

Multi-Channel Communication Strategies

Implement multi-channel communication strategies to reach your target accounts through various touchpoints. This can include email marketing, social media, webinars, and events. Diversifying your channels increases the likelihood of engagement and reinforces your brand presence.

Sales and Marketing Alignment

Ensure alignment between your sales and marketing teams to create a cohesive approach to target account engagement. Share insights, collaborate on messaging, and coordinate efforts to maintain consistent communication and follow-up with target accounts.

Account Engagement Metrics and Tracking

Monitor account engagement metrics, such as email opens, website visits, and content downloads, to assess the effectiveness of your engagement efforts. Use this data to refine your strategies, improve personalization, and make data-driven decisions to optimize engagement and nurture target accounts successfully.

Measuring the Success of Your Target Account List

To ensure the effectiveness of your prioritized target account list and engagement strategies, it's essential to measure success and adjust your approach as needed. Here are some steps to help you evaluate the performance of your account-based efforts and make data-driven decisions to optimize your results:

Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Determine the KPIs that best align with your account-based marketing goals, such as conversion rates, deal size, sales cycle length, and customer lifetime value. These KPIs will help you measure the success of your target account strategy and identify areas for improvement.

Monitor Performance Metrics

Track the performance metrics for each target account, such as engagement rates, response rates, and meeting bookings. Analyze these metrics to understand the effectiveness of your engagement strategies and identify patterns that can inform your future efforts.

Conduct Regular Reviews

Conduct regular reviews of your target account list, engagement strategies, and performance metrics. Evaluate the success of each target account and adjust your prioritization or engagement strategies accordingly. Identify any new trends, emerging industries, or shifts in the market that may warrant updates to your ICP and target account list.

Refine Your ICP and Target Account List

Continuously refine your ICP based on the insights gained from your performance metrics, KPIs, and industry trends. Update your target account list to ensure it remains aligned with your evolving ICP and business goals. This process of continuous improvement helps you maintain a relevant and effective target account list.

Key takeaways

To build an accurate target account list based on your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), follow these steps:

  • Review ICP criteria, such as industry, headcount, and technology used.

  • Collect relevant data for each criterion from various sources.

  • Combine data from multiple vendors to create a comprehensive account list.

  • Conduct manual research for specific criteria, such as digital transformation initiatives.

  • Consolidate and refine data to remove duplicates and outdated information.

  • Prioritize accounts based on ICP fit and focus efforts on high-value targets.

  • Segment target accounts based on shared characteristics for tailored campaigns.

  • Collaborate with sales and marketing teams to ensure ICP understanding and alignment.

  • Monitor and optimize target account lists and strategies based on segment performance.

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