Three Secrets to Better Understanding Target Accounts and Buying Committees
Congratulations! You just finished building a list of target accounts. That’s a great thing because you’ve taken an important step toward helping your revenue team align around the customers your company most wants to win or grow.
So what should you do next to reach that alignment and win those deals? There are some secret weapons when it comes to bringing an account list to life. Here are three actions that help you get to know accounts and the people in them and maximize the impact of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) and Sales efforts.
Secret #1: Create Account Personas to Categorize Target Accounts
Most Marketing teams define buyer personas to help them understand more about the roles they sell to, but not many start with a step that can make them more useful – build account personas, too. What is an account persona? It’s simply a way to characterize the types of companies you sell to, using firmographic or other data that tells you about what those companies are likely to want to buy and how they make buying decisions at the account level. Account personas give valuable context to buyer personas that makes them more actionable and accurate.
To build account personas, start by categorizing target accounts by industry (or vertical market). Industry is a quick way for most businesses to group like accounts because it is easy data to get, and it tells the revenue team a lot about the needs of those businesses. It can also make it easy to identify trends or changes they’re likely to care about now.
Next, group accounts by size, either revenue or employee count, depending on which is more relevant to your offerings and go-to-market model. Size can tell you how much that company can buy from you and who will be part of the buying committee.
For example, if you sell to Financial Services companies, breaking those into sub-verticals of Banking and Insurance, then by revenue size, you’ll know a lot about what regulations those businesses need to meet and how many people are likely to be involved in making the purchase decision. Other factors such as geography, technographics, and recent organizational changes or investments can be included in account personas, but be careful only to use criteria that involves data that is accessible and trustworthy so you can continue to refresh your account data.
Secret #2: Build a Wallet Share View of Each Account
Once you have account personas that tell you about the types and sizes of companies you want to engage, it’s a small step to enhance those with a view of wallet share, or what and how much a company can buy from you, by buying center. To build a wallet share view, take your account personas and for each one, build a map of the buying centers that are possible for your company to sell into today.
Next, for each of those target buying centers, estimate which of your offerings can be sold to the buying center and in what amount (currency or units). This gives you a worksheet for each account persona that quantifies the theoretical addressable wallet share for a company of that size and type.
With this wallet share worksheet, a useful next step is mapping out actual current wallet share for each of your target accounts. This is essential if you have existing customers on your target account list. If your target accounts are all net-new, however, this worksheet can be used to prioritize which of the possible buying centers make the most sense to engage first based on which of your solutions is best to lead with, and what’s best to follow in that type of company. This lead-with offering can be a smart addition to account personas as well. Wallet share worksheets also help you estimate customer lifetime value and the likely time frame for companies to acquire a full suite of your offerings.
When wallet share is used to give specifics to Account plans, Marketing and Sales can be on the same page regarding which goals are most important to pursue in a given timeframe, and how best to apply resources to win those deals. Remember to keep a view into the likely members of the buying committee in each buying center you want to reach so you can identify which contacts you have in your database today.
Secret #3: Build a Relationship View of Each Account
The final secret is to enhance your account insights with a view of the overall account relationship and relationships by buying the center. A relationship view can be applied both for new accounts and current customers. For current customers, data like Net Promoter Score (NPS) or other loyalty or satisfaction scores, product feedback and usage, and sales’ view of account health can help to show where business will be harder to win based on strained relationships, or where a happy client may be ready to expand. This is especially valuable when looking to expand to new buying centers. If you have happy client contacts in existing buying centers, they can become invaluable introductions or references for those new buying committee members.
For new customers, take a look at intent data and current Sales and Marketing engagement. These signals show which accounts and buying centers are more ready to buy and which accounts will require effort to build awareness and engagement. Keep in mind that presence of intent but no engagement with your Sales and Marketing outreach may suggest a competitor is active in the account, and this can be factored into Account Based-Marketing and Sales plans until more direct insights are available.
All three of these secrets help you build a layered, increasingly detailed view of your accounts. With these three views in place, it is much easier to group and prioritize accounts to determine the best ways to engage them.