One of the biggest changes in sales is the shift to B2B markets.

There is a new way of selling and marketing that we call Account-Based Everything (ABE). It’s called different things by different people, but it all comes down to the same idea.

It is important to have a plan for account selection, and that starts with good data.

We’re going to take a look at what data you need and where to get it.

  • Account-based sales programs are built on the foundation of strong relationships between sellers and buyers.
  • There are three types of data that account-based salespeople need in order to succeed: prospect information, business intelligence and product knowledge.
  • What to look for when choosing a data vendor.

Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀

The Foundation of an Account Targeting Strategy Program

ABE is more than just a marketing ploy or sales technique it’s an attitude.

This strategy is a go-to market approach that combines personal marketing, sales and success efforts to drive engagement at named accounts.

Account-based models focus on a small number of accounts, so you need to make sure that your time is well spent.

A lot of account-based programs are built on the idea that you can’t just go after any random customer.

“We’re giving people the chance to ask questions and get feedback from others.”

The goal of the account selection process is to optimize your sales and marketing resources time, headcount, and budget by focusing on the accounts most likely to drive big revenue.

In the past, many managers gave their sales representatives free reign in prospecting anyone they wanted. The smarter ones would write down a list of target accounts that made sense based on their gut instinct or data collected from customer relationship management programs.

Technology enables us to be laser-focused. You can’t have a successful Account Based program without selecting the right accounts.

The Three Required Targeting Strategy types Required

You need the right data to find and select good clients.

You need to think about three types of data when you’re building your target audience:

  • Firmographic data
  • Technographic data
  • Behavior data.

These three types of data help you understand your target accounts and predict success with them.

Firmographics (Company Profile Data)

Firmographics are characteristics of organizations. They can be defined as demographics, but for firms.

Firms with certain demographic characteristics have a higher close rate.

Some of the data on company profiles includes:

  • Organization size
  • Industry, market, and vertical
  • Projected financials
  • Growth trends
  • Number of locations
  • The company’s position in the industry. Article: The world of work is changing at a rapid pace.

There are plenty of resources on the internet that can help you find information about a company, such as LinkedIn and CrunchBase.

If you want to know more about the people in your company, there are a few companies that can help. These include Mattermark, DiscoverOrg, Dun & Bradstreet and Reachforce.

Technographics (Technology Stack Data)

Technographic data includes the type of technology that an organization interacts with.

If you know how an organization functions, and what technologies they use, it can give insight into their needs for the future.

Technographic data includes:

  • The target company regularly uses a few technologies.
  • They also use a lot of the same software that their competitors do.
  • There are a lot of technologies that complement products and services.
  • When startups are looking for a new system, they usually choose one that can signal their status (e.g., Netsuite).

Datanyze, HG Data, and BuiltWith are all good sources for technographic information. You can also look at job descriptions or LinkedIn to get a better idea of the skills needed.

Buyer Behavior (Behavioral Data)

It can be challenging to find the right data for buyers, but it’s worth the effort.

Behavioral data is a lot more difficult to measure. It can include intent and engagement, or events that trigger changes in behavior.

Intent and engagement data are the most important aspect of account-based marketing. They allow you to prioritize which accounts should be targeted first.

Craig Elias, author of the book SHiFT (Trigger Events in Sales) found that changing account managers is one common cause for a change to vendors. This happened 28% of the time.

Behavioral data can help you understand their challenges and find a solution for them.

Behavioral data also includes:

  • I use activity metrics to see how many people download my content and interact with it.
  • Job postings
  • Company updates about the company as a whole, such as any recent funding rounds or new executives.

You can find information about the target company by looking at their website, social media accounts, forums discussions boards and job listings.

If youre not interested in manual research, there are AI-assisted tools like Outreach to help track engagement data across different platforms.

How to Choose the Right Data Vendors for ABSD

Gathering the data points listed above is time-consuming, but there are companies that deliver this information. The bad news is its hard to tell good vendors from bad until it’s too late.

Its important to do some research before selecting a vendor for your company.

Once you know who the target accounts are, make sure to get contact information on them. It’s important that your company can find out what they need and how best to reach their needs.

1. Determine the basic data you need

Ask the data provider for as much information as possible. They might be able to provide names, company size and other details.

You can’t do anything with a vendor that doesn’t meet the minimum requirements. It’s time to move on.

Data points that are most common include:

  • First and Last Name
  • Company
  • Title
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Physical Address
  • Revenue
  • Number of Employees
  • Company Site

2. Investigate the provider’s reputation

If you can’t find more than one person who has good things to say about a product or service, it’s likely not worth your time.

Make sure you do your research when it comes to products. There are plenty of sites out there dedicated to reviewing them.

You can go to the companys social media accounts, or even ask for referrals from current customers and clients. Article: It’s pretty common for customers, both happy and otherwise, to leave a comment on a social media.

You probably want to avoid offshore services that use the most basic web scraping tools. The low price per lead is tempting, but there are other costs.

3. Examine accuracy and integrity of data

It’s a tough market for employers because people are constantly changing jobs. They stay in their positions less and less, according to the Department of Labor.

This is why we need to get current data.

Data providers all have a reputation to uphold, so they always make sure their data is up-to-date.

The best vendors will work with you to find a match for your criteria and they’ll replace any inaccurate data. Many of them offer refunds or replacements when the leads are bad.

Ive seen some companies boast a 95% accuracy rate, but most of the time they can’t deliver on that promise.

When you are first getting to know a potential data source, ask for sample information. Aiming higher is unrealistic – 80% accuracy will suffice.

Dont rely on just one provider, but cross-reference with other providers to enrich your data.

4. Get on the phone with a sales rep

Now that you have all the information, its time to start narrowing your list. You want to call up providers and ask questions.

? How reliable is the information you have? (Take this with a grain of salt.)

? How often do you check your database to make sure it’s current and accurate?

? I use a variety of techniques to avoid spam, honeypots and blacklisted domains.

What is your quality assurance program like?

It’s important to dig a little deeper with every question, and make sure you’re getting the full picture.

When you talk to a rep, make sure they are responsive and willing to work with you. Even if their data is accurate, it won’t do any good unless they’re easy for you to work with.

5. Get a sample set of data

Vendors provide a sample set of data that meets some basic requirements. You need to verify the list before you start sending it out.

It’s a good idea to run the data through an existing service like Brightverify or Kickbox.io.

Vendors will test your data and make recommendations for its upkeep.

6. Choose your vendors

Always have more than one sales intelligence and data provider. Never rely on just one source for information.

I was told that the most dangerous number in business is one. You should never rely on a single source for leads or anything else in your sales process.

In Summary

Data can be overwhelming, but its important to have a team that will sit down and make sense of the data.

If you dont have good data on your account-based strategy, it wont go anywhere.


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀
Editors Note:

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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
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