This is the first in a series of Account Based Marketing (ABM) Myth Busters, where we dissect the assumptions of marketing/sales organizations who have yet to embrace the modern agile framework of Always-On marketing & sales.

Your Total Active Market

Do you have a ‘Here are the accounts we would love to do business with, and the first ten on the list are the CEO’s fantasy – so don’t even bother questioning those’ list?

Do you assume you are going to rock out with those companies because you have the world’s greatest (fill in the blank) product, and they just can’t wait for you to call in?

Do you still believe in Santa Clause?

If you are looking to maximize your marketing and sales resources and want everyone buying in and focused on what is important today, you need to focus on the Total Active Market.

The Total Active Market is based on a number of data points, derived from:

  • Intent-based behavioral data
  • Digital media engagement
  • Social listening at the account level
  • Your website traffic
  • Any third-party lead gen programs and data you may be getting on a regular basis

The combination of these will give you a much better idea of what accounts are currently in-market. If you work with an intent data supplier that can deliver prioritized lists of accounts based on consumption of content across the Web in categories that represent what you sell –at levels well above what is normal for that account – then you are looking at companies exhibiting potential Buyer Research Behavior.

Then, if you can tie that external behavior with your internal, site and campaign data – especially your site visit reporting – you can begin to determine what percentage of the active market actually know you exist.

Let me give you an example:

When an account comes to your site, it is a good news/bad news event. The good news: They got to your site. The bad news: They are probably 60 – 70% done with their buying research, and there are a hundred other accounts just like them that have no idea you are an option.

Now, take that combined inside/outside data and match it against the sacred Target Account List. Make sure you are taking into consideration your filtering to get you like for like: revenue bands, number of employees, industry type, country, region, etc. What you now have is a pretty good view of what percentage your Target Account List is of the Total Active Market.

Would it surprise you to find out that your Target Account List is probably no more than 10 – 15% of all accounts that are in-market and that align with the filters in your Targeted Account List in the first place? Now you’re starting to get it.

Stop trying to defy the data – let it show you what the target list actually looks like – the list of accounts that exhibit the kind of behavior you want to find – or, more importantly – you want to have find you.

I had a client say to me recently, “You have solved the issue of what my sales team should be doing in that 7/8ths of their day when they are just guessing and cold calling!”

And that, my friends, is the point: external behavioral buyer intent data, combined with your first-party data, will outperform a Target Account List any day of the week.


Do you know which specific companies are currently in-market to buy your product?

Wouldn’t it be easier to sell to them if you already knew who they were, what they thought of you, and what they thought of your competitors?

Good news – It is now possible to know this, with up to 91% accuracy. Check out Aberdeen’s comprehensive report Demystifying B2B Purchase Intent Data to learn more.