Pexels / Pixabay

Teams just starting out with account-based marketing (ABM) often make one significant mistake—they take all the data they have and dive head first into the strategy. It’s great to put your strategy to work and learn from the experience. But following a “do what you can, with what you have, where you are” approach might not be best for ABM.

Account-based marketing can’t succeed with just any data. Even if you’ve spent years collecting data from prospects and customers, it’s possible that you’re not set up for ABM success. That’s why you can’t dive head first into ABM with your existing database.

Instead of trying to make ABM work with what you have on hand, take the time to properly prepare your data.

The Current State of B2B Data

You might take a look at your database and think that it will work perfectly well for your ABM efforts. But if that were the case, there wouldn’t be such rampant problems with bad data in B2B marketing.

The reality is that if you trust your entire ABM strategy to existing first-party data, you might struggle to succeed because:

Each of these statistics point to long-standing issues with the data B2B marketers collect through online forms, sales calls, and email outreach programs.

When your first-party data proves unreliable, your first instinct might be to invest in third-party data. That can certainly help but there’s a deeper problem plaguing ABM strategies. Once you have a combination of first-party and third-party data filling out your CRM and other systems, you have to take steps to prepare the data to drive ABM success.

Preparing Data for Account-Based Marketing

Once you shift from lead-centric to account-centric marketing, you no longer have the luxury of trusting high volume balancing out low conversion rates. Each account is critically important to the success of your overall strategy. Taking steps to prepare your data ahead of time will make it easier to drive results at each stage of the sales funnel.

Preparing your data for account-based marketing requires you to:

  • Establish the Right Target Accounts: All the data in the world won’t help your ABM strategy if you’re targeting the wrong accounts. Sifting through your database to weed out data that is irrelevant or poorly correlated to target accounts will help set your ABM strategy on the right path.
  • Continuously Evaluate Contact Records: Buying teams are constantly evolving. Just because you have the right records today doesn’t mean a new decision maker won’t enter the picture tomorrow. Using third-party data to identify buying teams in real time, fill in gaps in your contact records, and cut back on duplicate entries will give sales and marketing the support necessary to close more deals.
  • Score Accounts Based on Intent: Understanding the total addressable market, identifying buying teams, and scrubbing records are all great for data preparation. But once your data is all clean and complete, you need a formal approach to scoring target accounts based on intent. Having a framework for scoring new behavior gives you a way to evaluate the best times to make contact with target accounts.

Data preparation isn’t something that will work with a “set it and forget it” mindset. You need to regularly track the accuracy and quality of the records within your database. And while third-party data won’t completely eliminate the need for data preparation, it will certainly alleviate pressure as you try to put an ABM strategy to work.

The right intent data provider will help you create a foundation of quality data for your ABM strategy—one that will continually evolve alongside the behavior of your target accounts.

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.