Use These 8 Sources to Learn About Your Target Accounts

Magnum P.I., played by Tom Selleck in the 80s had an awesome life.

He lives in a beachfront estate in Hawaii, works as a private investigator only when he wants to, has access to some seriously cool cars like the Ferrari 308 GTS, sports a Rolex daily, and of course is surrounded by countless beautiful women (not to mention the endless supply of Aloha shirts!)

(Fun fact: did you know Selleck’s contract commitment with Magnum, P.I. cost him the role of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark? Now you’re ready for Tuesday night trivia.)

Through surf-ski competitions and missing jewelry, Magnum investigates an array of crimes. Every episode, he leaves no stone unturned, using a variety of sources to build up a complete set of intelligence, and ultimately, with dramatic flair, solves the case.

Yes, Magnum P.I. can be your inspiration for Account Based Everything.

Your choice of Aloha shirt is up to you, but as an ABE practitioner, you need to use a wide variety of sources, like Magnum, to build up a complete picture of your target market, account, and persona.

You’re looking for as much information as you can about things like the target account’s market (news, trends, growth drivers), your account’s strategy, strength, weaknesses, the agenda of each person on the buying team, relationships inside the account, and more.

To uncover this insight, and solve the case, here are 8 sources of insight we recommend using:

  1. Direct conversations

    Your front-line sales development reps are excellent sources of insight for this information. Tap into their knowledge, as well as that of your salespeople. Going to a trade show? Event staff get critical face-time with customers. Learn as much as you can.

  2. Existing connections

    For every given account, someone in your organization, or your extended network of partners, suppliers, or customers, may have deep experience with the account, or those within it. Tap into your internal resources for existing sources of connection and insight.

  3. Social media

    Social information is pure gold. What people share on sites like Twitter and LinkedIn is timely, relevant, and personal. Monitor social networks and participation in online forums, something social monitoring tools could help with. 76% of CEOs feel it’s important to be active on social media – don’t miss out on their insight.

  4. Official company information

    It’s surprising how little salespeople consult publicly available sources of company insight, such as annual and quarterly accounts, letters to shareholders, investor calls, and other information found on company websites. These are chock full of solid insight that can be used to strategize the right messaging approach for target accounts.

  5. Blog posts

    As more and more senior executives are blogging, either on the company site or across other forums, more and more juicy information is created for use in Account-Based Everything strategies. Always read their posts, and capture this insight.

  6. Market data

    Messages are nothing without context. It’s critical to understand what’s happening in the world of your buyers, and that means for each of your target accounts. Read articles and consume analyst data on the market your target accounts compete in, and learn about their competitors.

  7. Content they consume

    Seeing what blog posts, articles, and eBooks a prospect reads can tell you what they’re currently interested in. You can track this information on your own properties using marketing automation, or purchase ‘intent data’ from vendors.

  8. Surveys

    When in doubt – ask. Even when you think you know – validate. Surveys are a powerful tool to fill gaps in your knowledge, and to sanity check what you think you do, to add credibility and weight to your messages.

When it comes to gathering insight for your target accounts in Account Based Everything, there may be shortcuts, but there is no substitute for hard work.

Just ask Magnum P.I.


Where are you finding the best insight for accounts?