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4 Ways ABM Can F.I.R.E. Up Your Revenue-Generation Efforts

Demandbase offers B2B marketers a best-in-class account-based platform that helps them find in-market accounts, engage them, and convert them into customers. As Chief Marketing Officer at Demandbase, Jon Miller leads the marketing company’s marketing efforts.

Prior to Demandbase, Miller was the co-founder of marketing automation platform Marketo. He was recently a guest on our Selling in the Cloud podcast, where he shared some actionable insights about driving revenues via an effective ABM strategy.

Building ABM on a firm foundation: Account Selection

Success with ABM begins with a clear strategy and a predefined account profile to help you select the right accounts to target. A poor job on ABM account selection, where you include some “ill-fitted” accounts in your pipeline, means you’re doomed to failure from the beginning. 

“With any kind of [account] scoring system, any ranking qualification system,” Miller says, “you have the risk of false positives and false negatives.” A false positive would mean including an account that’s cold and just not ready to produce revenues, wasting your ABM resources. A false negative, on the other hand, means missing out on a hot account that would have generated revenue if targeted. 

Getting account evaluation right, as an essential foundation for any ABM success, requires quality data and careful, data-powered analysis, something both Intricately and Demandbase enable. 

Apply F.I.R.E. to Evaluate Accounts for ABM

Miller describes a four-step process that he and his team at Demandbase use to evaluate accounts, offering it to B2B marketers as a tool they too can leverage when evaluating their accounts for ABM. Miller uses the acronym F.I,R.E. to explain the 4-step process.

  • F is “fit.” This initial step requires B2B marketers to assess how closely a particular account comes to “fitting” their ideal account profile. As Miller explains, you’ll need to look at “both the positive signals . . . as well as the negative signals.” It takes high-quality data (technographic, firmographic, and more) and strong data analysis to properly assess an account’s fit. “The technographics and other kinds of data that you provide [at Intricately] is a really key part of that "F" part” of account evaluation, explains Miller.
  • I is “intent.” Since most purchasing research happens on B2B websites, says Miller, “we want to track which accounts and which people [within the account] are showing potential interest.” Intent data offers you the ability to know what content people are consuming. Those signals of intent are highly actionable, he says: “when you see trends and spikes in content consumption for your category, that's a pretty good sign that you should be reaching out.”
  • R is “relationship.” Is this an account you already interact with and have an existing relationship with? During the account selection process, says Miller, you should be “asking whether you just had a closed lost opportunity with this account last week. If so, today is probably not a good time to call them up again.” Conversely, if the sales rep has a meeting scheduled with the account for next week, that’s a relevant context to consider.
  • E is “engagement.” You need to know whether the account is already coming to your website, downloading your content, or attending your firm’s events. These engagements are “things that you can track with your first party data,” says Miller.  

Taken together, these 4 "F.I.R.E." considerations, Miller says, “give you your qualification, your ability to focus on the ‘hot’ accounts that will drive revenue” for your ABM strategy.

F.I.R.E. in Practice at Demandbase

Demandbase divides its accounts up according to where they are in the buying journey. “Take an account in what we call the qualified stage, which is a ‘fit’ for us,” says Miller. “We’d like to sell to them, but they're not really showing much intent yet.” Demandbase might have other accounts in the awareness stage, he says: they’re a good fit, showing intent, and researching (F-I-R), “but they're not really engaging much with us yet.” For Demandbase, the “engaged stage” means “they're coming to our site and doing stuff, but haven’t yet reached the magic stage, we call marketing qualified accounts [or MQAs], the ABM equivalent of an MQL.”

That MQA stage, says Miller, “is where we're combining all four of those F.I.R.E attributes to say we think this account is in-market, and we should be focusing our time and energy on it.” The key to success, then, is knowing where the account is in the journey and then aligning your go-to-market for each stage of the journey.

For even more actionable insights to help you work smarter as a cloud sales and marketing professional, tune in to our Selling in the Cloud podcast.

Intricately helps sales and marketing teams at cloud companies identify new target accounts, based on usage and spend data.

Schedule a demo with us to align your sales and marketing team with the right target accounts for your next go-to-market launch.

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